RE: Evaluation Process - HATs

Subject: RE: Evaluation Process - HATs
From: Jennifer Randel <jennifer_randel -at- khsd -dot- k12 -dot- ca -dot- us>
To: 'Robert Lauriston' <robert -at- lauriston -dot- com>, "techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Fri, 22 Jul 2011 10:37:22 -0700

Hi all,
I have to chime in here. I agree with Robert... and I don't consider myself a power user, by any means! I started using Flare about 2 years ago. (I think Craig and I started around the same time...) I had worked with FrameMaker before that and I'd never created WebHelp or used a CSS. The learning curve was incredibly steep for me (I'm a lone writer to boot).

The help files were great for getting started, in terms of understanding the interface and finding out what terms meant and stuff. However, once I really started really getting into page layouts and other aspects of Flare, I've had a lot more difficulty finding what I need in their help.

I find searching the forums to be frustrating. There are so many posts that my searches are often returned with a message saying that my words are too common and so no results can be found. So, I end up turning to tech support. They're great. Very helpful and patient, but it seems like 1/2 the time they'll tell me that I'm in fact doing the correct steps, but my issue is a bug. They enter a bug report on my behalf, and then I'm stuck with that thing still not working correctly.

That said, I would like to say that overall, I'm still happy with Flare. The product does do some amazing things.

Jennifer Randel
Data Processing Technical Writer
Kern High School District

"Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world." -- Nelson Mandela

-----Original Message-----
From: techwr-l-bounces+jennifer_randel=khsd -dot- k12 -dot- ca -dot- us -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com [mailto:techwr-l-bounces+jennifer_randel=khsd -dot- k12 -dot- ca -dot- us -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com] On Behalf Of Robert Lauriston
Sent: Friday, July 22, 2011 10:02 AM
To: techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
Subject: Re: Evaluation Process - HATs

Wow, you think Flare's help is excellent? I'd say around two-thirds of the time when I'm doing something for the first time I can't find instructions in the help and end up searching or posting on the forums. And a significant fraction of my posts on the forums end up with no solution other than filing a bug report / feature request.

The topic on hooking up CSH is one of the good ones, I passed that along to a developer and it worked the first time around. Which makes sense to me: MadCap seems like a developer-driven company, and Flare development seems driven more by what they think would be fun to code rather than by the real-world problems of tech writers.

I haven't used RoboHelp in quite a while, but the two companies do seem to make similar mistakes. E.g. they both have track-changes markup, but neither will let you output that markup to a PDF or Word document so you can pass it along to reviewers who don't have Flare or RoboHelp.


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Evaluation Process - HATs: From: Matt Moore
Re: Evaluation Process - HATs: From: Bill Swallow
Re: Evaluation Process - HATs: From: Julie Stickler
Re: Evaluation Process - HATs: From: Robert Lauriston

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