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Subject:Experiences with Flare and WebWorks From:Marc Bryant <twmarcb -at- yahoo -dot- com> To:Frank Ellifsen <frank -dot- ellifsen -at- gmail -dot- com>, techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com Date:Thu, 10 Aug 2006 22:59:06 +0200 (CEST)
I also advised a client to purchase Madcap Flare, over other products, after looking into all the main contenders and demo'ing their products. For what needed to be included in the help, and the way the documentation was going to be setup (and the fact that the history of RoboHelp is a bit sketchy), Flare was the clear choice.
I developed two separate, medium-sized help systems using Help. I included lots of screenshots, tables, rollovers, etc. I did run into a few minor issues, Flare crashed a couple times (particularly when working with tables), but it really never phased me. I was able to create both projects, enter all the required content and template (specific RGB color set banners, left-right movement through the system, etc). All turned out well.
Now I'm working on some other doc projects at a different company. I'm using WebWorks EPublisher Pro for Word. It is the perfect product for what we are doing, and as I learn to use more of the advanced elements of the product, I really like it. We "single-source" a guide into help, and WebWorks is able to weed out some of the styles and generate a very robust help system. I have also run into very minor problems, a few crashes here and there and the like, but it works like a pro in the end.
I've worked with other products, and all have their pros and cons.
----- Original Message ----
From: Frank Ellifsen <frank -dot- ellifsen -at- gmail -dot- com>
To: techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
Sent: Thursday, August 10, 2006 3:35:30 PM
Subject: Re: MadCap Nightmare
I'm feeling a bit sheepish here, and caught in the middle. On one side, I
feel the need to defend my friend, and on the other, I see the just
criticisms many have levied against his message. It maybe wasn't
particularly wise to participate in the posting of the anonymous post,
however, it is done.
I have not been in contact with the anonymous poster, and thus, don't have
his reaction to the message. But maybe I can give you some context to the
message that might help.
My anonymous friend, with whom I attended college, is the lone writer for a
company that produces some hardware and software. You'll have to take my
word for it that he has never been a software developer of any sort, and has
never worked for any company that creates help software. Maybe you don't
think my word counts for much, but I can guarantee you that he's not an
anti-competitive troll out to do harm for MadCap. He investigated MadCap's
software, at my suggestion, and decided to go with Flare for his production
In my new position at work, I'm responsible for selecting the tools my
department will use for documentation. I've used a particular tool set my
entire career, but don't have much experience outside that tool set. I asked
my friend what he thought about his tool set which includes Flare and
InDesign --- two programs I've never used. He responded with his criticisms
of Flare, in an effort to warn me about its problems before I tried to
implement it in a production environment. I had also mentioned that I was
eagerly awaiting some of the other programs that MadCap intends to release
in Beta next year, hoping that I could get the whole suite of software.
Based on his experience with Flare, he would be very unlikely to try a new
MadCap version 1 product in a production environment with no back-up plan
I suggested that he write up his criticisms and post them to this list. This
list has been notably quiet with relation to Flare. I thought he might find
others on the list who could relate to, and maybe help him deal with the
concerns he addressed. He was reticent to post the message to the list, for
reasons that now seem somewhat wise, and I offered to post the message for
I read his message and suggested some changes to the message. He asked that
I post it as-is.
You should be aware that in my discussions with him, he has indicated to me
that he has worked with Flare customer support and has posted many of his
concerns to their user forums. I can't verify this. I can only relate to you
that he did tell me previously that he has done so. I don't know what those
resolutions were or weren't.
As for my part in this whole charade, I apologize to MadCap and to the
Techwr-L community. No offense was intended, and I'm truly sorry that it
seems some was taken. I shouldn't have become involved, and from this, I've
learned my lesson.
If you would like me to forward a message to the anonymous poster, you can
respond to this e-mail address.
If he wishes to respond to the criticisms levied in this thread, I'll ask
him to do so in another manner, as I wish to remove myself from the
situation as much as possible at this point. (Too late, I know.) But as
seems prudent, and as per Lisa's request, I've learned not to post messages
Best wishes to MadCap software and to the Techwr-L list. Sorry for causing
such a controversy.
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