Re: Tools statistics

Subject: Re: Tools statistics
From: Mark Giffin <mgiffin -at- earthlink -dot- net>
To: Shawn C <shawn -at- convergent -dot- io>
Date: Thu, 26 Sep 2013 19:58:20 -0700

Thanks for the detailed description Shawn! I'll keep this in mind for future projects, it could be useful. I'm sure that MadCap does not consider your experience a selling point.


On 9/26/13 4:16 PM, Shawn C wrote:

Hello Mark,

How do you like the PDF output you are getting with Flare? Or are you
using PDF at all?

I needed a good four weeks of trial/error to work out most of the kinks but
in the end, PDFs turned out amazing.

The biggest challenge was achieving exceptional image quality. After a
while, I started understanding that Flare will bend to your will, once you
learn to work slightly outside the editor and do certain things that are
not well documented (apparently). For instance, I use .eps and .svg vector
images, where possible, but to do so, you must have GhostScript installed
(for .eps) and Java installed (for .svg). Bitmap images are best as .png
and use higher resolution (300DPI) when possible.

To further explain, "Flare will bend to your will", many times the XML
editor will appear to disallow a design you have in mind (i.e. image
positioning, tables the way you want, etc.) but once you learn to willingly
accept that sometimes hand coding xml or css is necessary, you really can
make Flare do anything (or at least anything you can with FM)!

It may sound difficult but believe me, once you become accustomed to
editing like this, you will grow new synaptic pathways and the euphoria of
successful coding is rather exhilarating. Now, I am sure that you are
thinking... what a pain and a killer to my efficient workflow *but* much of
what I am talking about involves one-time coding. That is because once you
make such customizations, you build up styles that may be re-used in any

Sorry Mark, getting back to your question. After about five weeks, I was
able to produce PDF (and simultaneously HTML5) documentation that was
better than previous documentation. "Better" because through the learning
process, I learned a lot of new ideas on how to present information and how
to do so in the highest quality manner.

Seriously, I love Flare but I also acknowledge that the initial learning
curve scares a lot of people away. I really believe that MadCap needs to
offer a free no obligation all-encompassing introduction course. The only
reason why I survived the learning curve is that I had a two month window
with no deadlines. I'm sure most of you do not have that luxury.

BTW, examples of Flare documentation are plentiful. My favorite examples,
that really show off Flare are found in recent VMware documentation. I
don't like GFI's manuals but they provide a good example of using the
entire MadCap suite of software... such as Lingo for localization of

Customer list:

Another great resource is their recorded webinars:

Honestly, I don't work for Flare but my ulterior motive is to get more
people using this product in order to build up the user community. :-)

Take care,

On Thu, Sep 26, 2013 at 12:41 PM, Mark Giffin <mgiffin -at- earthlink -dot- net> wrote:

Hi Shawn,

How do you like the PDF output you are getting with Flare? Or are you
using PDF at all?

I have never taken the time to see how good the Flare PDF output is.

Mark Giffin

New! Doc-to-Help 2013 features the industry's first HTML5 editor for authoring.

Learn more:


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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: Mark Giffin
Re: Tools statistics: From: Shawn C

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