Re: Customizable documentation

Subject: Re: Customizable documentation
From: "Julie Stickler" <jstickler -at- gmail -dot- com>
To: "Melissa Nelson" <melmis36 -at- hotmail -dot- com>, techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
Date: Tue, 25 Sep 2007 12:38:20 -0400

And I an **not** a madcap employee, but I *am* using Flare as Sharon suggested.

I used FrameMaker at my last job and loved it. There is a bit of a
learning curve, but once you get the hang of things, Frame is very
stable. I worked with it for probably five years before I ever
crashed the program (and then I only crashed it because I started
working with some of my co-workers' files, which contained all sorts
of legacy problems that I had to go in and clean out).

At my current gig we have Word. And not just Word, but the "new" Word
2007, which I am quite frustrated with. Because I wanted (nay, need)
to do single sourcing, I looked at a couple of different tools. Our
biggest need is online help, so I didn't consider FrameMaker for this
job. (And besides, I wanted to add a new tool to my skillset.) I
downloaded demos for both AuthorIT and Flare, and for my particular
needs, Flare was the better fit. I've been working with it about a
month, and so far I'm loving it.

Flare lets you create separate tables of contents for each
deliverable. And if you want, you can combine existing TOCs into a
master TOC. My current plan is to have one TOC for each application
in our suite. Which will allow me to build somewhat customized
documenation based on which applications a customer has purchased.

I've been really impressed with the Flare design and documentation,
with one exception. Because the files are stored in XHTML, the
template is built using a cascading style sheet. I've found the GUI
to be less than intuitive, and the Help is mostly task oriented for
this part of the project (and what I really needed was a CSS tutorial
so I could figure out which settings I needed to adjust to get the
effect that I wanted). But I managed to build a working template in
just two days with the help of a CSS reference book and just noodling
around. I'm adding styles when I need them, and so far, things are
going well.

Julie Stickler

Create HTML or Microsoft Word content and convert to Help file formats or
printed documentation. Features include support for Windows Vista & 2007
Microsoft Office, team authoring, plus more.

True single source, conditional content, PDF export, modular help.
Help & Manual is the most powerful authoring tool for technical
documentation. Boost your productivity!

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Customizable documentation: From: Melissa Nelson
RE: Customizable documentation: From: Sharon Burton

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