MadCap Flare Part I

by Jean Fischer

Posted by on May 8, 2016 in Technical Writing | No Comments

Flexibility of Formats
While technical writing documents, and content can be written using many different tools which produce many different formats, MadCap Flare permits the flexibility of being able to publish content in a large variety of formats including HTML5, WebHelp, PDF, Word, XHTML, EPUB, DITA and more.It also permits importation of legacy files in those formats. It is possible to import content from other applications directly into Flare.

The program includes enhanced FrameMaker® import support that permits Master Pages to automatically be converted to Page Layouts, import of FrameMaker® images with call-outs, and upon import, proprietary FrameMaker® Equations automatically convert to MathML. The company website includes information on switching from RoboHelp® and FrameMaker®, and instructions on downloading the Author-it® Converter Utility.

Viewable in Different Sizes and Types of Media
It utilizes Responsive Design technology which allows the technical writer to produce website content that will be viewable on any size of screen, web, tablet, or mobile. This does not require any coding knowledge.

Facilitates Ease of Content Reuse
Reuse of XML content files is easily implemented using the built-in topic-based authoring for modular content creation. This supports content management, and makes the dynamic assembly of personalized information possible. Customized content reuse or variations of the same document without having to create a new document come in useful for:

  • Beginner and Advanced User Guides
  • Employee Handbooks for each employee type
  • Policy and Procedures Manuals
  • Administrator Guides
  • Programmer Guides
  • Most Technical
  • Different Audiences
  • Different Outputs

Reuse of content by copying it in the desired format increases accuracy and consistency. It also reduces time spent in recreating the format, allowing the author to focus on creating the document content.

Web and Print Layout Modes
XML allows Web Layout and Print Layout modes with toggling between the two to see how the content will look in each medium.

Frameless Website Creation with Ease of Google Searchability
MadCap Flare supports HTML5 output without frames, which can be used to build a frameless Website that can be indexed in Google, making all of your online content searchable. Structure Bar technology displays the content without showing the underlying markup code.

Project Templates
There are 20 project templates available for download without a need for additional graphics. These include:

  • Knowledge Base
  • Online (Basic / Advanced)
  • Print & Online (Basic / Advanced)
  • Brochures (3fold, 4fold)
  • Book & eBook (Basic / Advanced)
  • Policies & Procedures (Basic / Advanced)
  • Product Foldout (3fold, 4fold, 5fold, 6fold, 12fold)
  • User Guide (Basic / Advanced)
  • Slideshow

Content Management and Source Control
According to MadCap: “Flare uses open architecture, permitting support for every source control tool. All content and project files are stored as independent XML files. Git, Perforce, Apache Subversion, Microsoft® Team Foundation® and Visual SourceSafe® are directly integrated and accessed from Flare without needing third-party plug-ins. MadCap Flare can be mapped local, network, or SharePoint™ resource. If source control is not being used, the External Resources feature allows mapping and sharing of files and folders among any number of users.”

Language Translations
One really impressive feature about MadCap Flare is that it supports multi-language translation and publishing. It supports Unicode language characters, double-byte Asian languages, bi-directional languages including Hebrew, Arabic and Persian, and Eastern European languages.

The MadPak Professional Suite includes:

  • MadCap Flare
  • MadCap Contributor – SME contribution and Review
  • MadCap Mimic – Interactive Demos, Videos, Tutorials and Software Simulations
  • MadCap Analyzer – Project Analysis and Reporting
  • MadCap Capture – Screen Capture and Image Editing
  • MadCap Lingo – translator, and MadCap Pulse – Analytics, reporting and social collaboration seem to remain separate units.

Next Step the 30 Day Free Trial
The advantages of using MadCap Flare have now been covered. The next thing to do is to determine ease of use, which requires actually working with the software. MadCap offers a free 30-day trial of the software. The downloads available include the main product Flare, as well as the other modules. The next blog will document the 30-day trial. See you there!


About the Author

Jean Fischer is a Senior Technical Writer with Meta-Systems Documentation, Inc. (MSD).  She is a communications consultant specializing in technical writing for emerging technologies, information technology, marketing, and intelligence. You can connect with Jean by email at jeanf@MSD-corp.com

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