flare vs authorit

Subject: flare vs authorit
From: Cayenne Woods <mail -at- cayennewoods -dot- info>
To: techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
Date: Fri, 06 Apr 2012 10:46:43 -0700

Just saw this thread and thought I'd chime in.
FYI, Authorit has just gone to a service-based system at a cost that's
totally beyond reach for any of the companies I've ever worked with. So
Flare it is then. Unfortunately, doc tools are buggy and expensive, and
when there's a good one it tends to go away. I liked ForeHelp way back
but it quickly disappeared - was bought and squashed, from my
understanding.
Also FYI, Authorit definitely handles snippets, but can't remember how
exactly. It's quite easy to embed topics in AIT.
I've used Author-it extensively and really liked it. I've migrated very
large projects really quickly, trained non-technical writers to use it
for maintenance once I've left - neither of which would work well in
Flare.
I recently had a company get Flare and found it challenging to work
with. Authorit's notion of books that can easily be rearranged and
reused, and settings for different outputs managed in one place, worked
really well. In Flare, you have multiple things to configure this
(targets, master pages, etc), need multiple files for each output AND
source. Also, you can set many many things in the interface that don't
do anything/don't work, and the help does not outline best approach to
a task but only hat you can do in the interface - whether it works or
not.
One of my biggest issues with Flare was having to put conditions on
everything so that it would NOT publish to the html output - draft
topics, topics for other products, etc. I may try again to get
best-practice tips from them but was unable to get that previously.
What happened was that crud showed up in searches in html output, even
tho it wasn't in the TOC - how Author-it handled this was, if something
was linked it was published, without having to think about it.
Another thing I found really hard may be addressed in Flare 8, from
what I've seen - which is some amount of customization available for a
toolbar, so that frequently used styles and tasks can be done in one
step instead of 3 or 4.
I will likely be using Flare again soon, but these are the things I'll
be looking to see whether they've been addressed in version 8, so maybe
you'll want to as well. If you can afford Author-it, good for you!

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