RE: New doc group: FrameMaker or Flare?

Subject: RE: New doc group: FrameMaker or Flare?
From: "Porrello, Leonard" <lporrello -at- illumina -dot- com>
To: 'Jefe de redacciÃn' <editorialstandards -at- gmail -dot- com>
Date: Wed, 5 Jan 2011 22:24:54 +0000

In my previous job, in which I was using H&M, I published nightly, automatically (using a scheduled task, a simple script, and a batch file), several different documents in PDF and HTML, branded differently for three different customers. I could also launch a manual build of all of the docs whenever I wanted to by running the batch file. And of course, I could publish just one version of any of the documents in any format manually from within the GUI.

While I could have used the bundled help and PDF templates, I used custom templates and did not have to do any post processing. I did some testing with output to Word, and that did require some minimal post production re-work (Title page and inserting the TOC as I recall).

I'm not sure what you mean by "duplicate pages." In H&M, if you include the same page in two places in your TOC, when you create the a PDF (or .doc) that page will be in two places in the document.

The only "nasty" I encountered didn't have to do with publishing per se; it had to do with limitations in the formatting of snippets. H&M does not enable you to format snippets in-line. For example, if you want one instance of your snippet to be in bold face and the other to be in italics, H&M didn't allow that (but neither does Flare).



-----Original Message-----
From: Jefe de redacciÃn [mailto:editorialstandards -at- gmail -dot- com]
Sent: Wednesday, January 05, 2011 12:36 PM
To: Porrello, Leonard
Cc: Mary Moore; techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
Subject: Re: New doc group: FrameMaker or Flare?

On Wed, Jan 5, 2011 at 12:12 PM, Porrello, Leonard
<lporrello -at- illumina -dot- com> wrote:
> Having moved from Help & Manual authoring to Flare authoring in the past six months, I can tell you that the learning curve for Help & Manual is much less steep than for Flare even thought H&M is equally powerful. Among other things, H&M has a very user friendly and truly WYSIWYG authoring interface. This will be important for transient authors. And of course, it has several easy to implement templates, for both HTML Help and PDFs, that can also be changed very easily.
>
> Leonard
[snip]

I came to Flare from RoboHelp.
All I do these days is WebHelp (with Flare, that is -- still some
manuals done in Word for PDF).

At one point, I _tried_ to kick out a supplemental version of my
WebHelp as .doc and .pdf, but it needed a ton of post-publish re-work
(and I "publish"/compile a LOT in the final week or three before
release). Due to having the ToC built nicely for use in WebHelp
format, it created a LOT of duplicate pages when the same project was
output to .doc. There were other problems, but I've forgotten in the
intervening few years.

Does Help & Manual avoid nasties (or bending over backward while
creating a project, in order to avoid eventual nasties) when
single-sourcing multiple output formats?

Flare is certainly rich and intricate, but I keep encountering simple
things that I don't know where to start. After embarrassing myself in
a Flare forum, I'll have an answer, but it turns out to have been just
my peculiar way of framing the original question that made it
unfindable in Flare's own Help.

A couple of times, over the years, I've Googled for a problem or a
Howto and forgotten to specify Flare as the tool. I'd get back hits
for solutions that turned out to be H&M or Doc2Help. Drat.
Makes me wonder if there's such a thing as temperamental suitability of tools.

But with that said, Madcap support of Flare has always been
top-notch.... and beyond. Can't beat that with a stick. :-)


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Follow-Ups:

References:
New doc group: FrameMaker or Flare?: From: Mary Moore
RE: New doc group: FrameMaker or Flare?: From: Porrello, Leonard
Re: New doc group: FrameMaker or Flare?: From: Jefe de redacciÃn

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