Re: Tools statistics

Subject: Re: Tools statistics
From: Shawn C <shawn -at- convergent -dot- io>
Date: Thu, 26 Sep 2013 16:39:22 -0700

Great comments Robert!

>Dealing with PDF page breaks is a pain with Flare

That was one of my initial grievances as well. But like literately every
issue I experienced in Flare, there is a solution.

For page breaks, it was quite simply a matter of creating a custom header
(or headers for each case) in the style sheet.

For instance, a regular header (inheriting the default font attributes),
this is all that needs to change:

h2.pageBreak
{
page-break-before: always;
}

Calling this header is really as simple as marking and selecting this new
header (very similar to Word 2013).

Another example might be where you always require a page break before a
topic title. The css required for that is:

h1.Title
{
font-size: 16pt;
page-break-before: always;
margin-top: 0.25in;
vertical-align: 1px;
color: #d84127;
}

Again, very easy to assign this header to the text in the xml editor.

>When doing major updates or revisions I find it much more efficient to
have all the content in one big file instead of one file per topic or few
topics.

Ah, but that is one of Flare's greatest strengths. One of the reasons why I
choose Flare was for its powerful single sourcing capability. Yes, it is a
very different documentation concept but if single source (re-usable
content) is important to you, this segmenting of content is actually quite
nice.

> MadCap ended with bug reports or feature requests or them telling me it
was a known bug

I concur. The first two weeks of being knee deep in MadCap Flare, I was
'discovering' about a bug every three days! And placing a feature request
about the same number.

Fortunately, I have successfully worked around all the issues I
encountered. But for a little while, I was wondering if I made a huge
mistake. Trust me, you need to buy a support contract for your first year!

>The search in Flare's web help is weak.

I am not quite there yet to make a qualified comment. However, I recently
attended a webinar titled, "Project Showcase: Bomgar Improves SEO with a
New Approach to WebHelp Targets" I learned that Bomgar re-wrote much of the
Flare generated web interface and I believe they significantly improved the
search functionality as well.
See: http://www.madcapsoftware.com/demos/player.aspx?v=7fbec9915581d
To download the presentation, visit:
http://www.madcapsoftware.com/assets/Presentation_BomgarImprovesSEO.pdf

Take care,



On Thu, Sep 26, 2013 at 12:31 PM, Robert Lauriston <robert -at- lauriston -dot- com>wrote:

> FrameMaker's WYSIWYG display very closely matches PDF output. Dealing
> with PDF page breaks is a pain with Flare (as it is with Confluence,
> and probably with every other authoring tool that doesn't have a
> page-oriented WYSIWYG editor).
>
> FrameMaker can export change markup to comment-enabled PDF for review
> by people who don't have FrameMaker.
>
> WebWorks' web help looks better out of the box and is the easiest to
> customize of any authoring tool I've used.
>
> WebWorks support was very responsive and solved all my problems. (Most
> of my support calls to both Adobe and MadCap ended with bug reports or
> feature requests or them telling me it was a known bug. MadCap fixed
> some of my problems in the course of the year I was using Flare but
> the worst weren't fixed until I'd gone on to the next job.)
>
> When doing major updates or revisions I find it much more efficient to
> have all the content in one big file instead of one file per topic or
> few topics. Flare's granularity in that regard is my least favorite
> thing about it. If you're going to make me go to all that trouble, why
> not use a non-proprietary source format so I can mix and match tools?
>
> The search in Flare's web help is weak.
>
> The one big plus for me with Flare was having the source in XHTML. On
> the other hand, way too often I had to edit the XHTML to fix
> formatting problems that didn't respond to GUI commands. (I have the
> same kinds of problems with Confluence, by the way.)
>
> On Thu, Sep 26, 2013 at 11:41 AM, Shawn C <shawn -at- convergent -dot- io> wrote:
> >>Flare's usable but given free choice I'd use FrameMaker plus WebWorks.
> >
> > I'm curious Robert about your response. Why do you feel that FrameMaker
> and
> > WebWorks are a better choice for you.
>

--
Shawn Connelly
technical writer

<shawn -at- convergent -dot- io>


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Follow-Ups:

References:
Tools statistics: From: Rick Quatro
Re: Tools statistics: From: Shawn C
Re: Tools statistics: From: Robert Lauriston
Re: Tools statistics: From: Shawn C
Re: Tools statistics: From: Robert Lauriston

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