Re: Alternatives to MadCap Flare

Subject: Re: Alternatives to MadCap Flare
From: "Elisa R. Sawyer" <elisawyer -at- gmail -dot- com>
To: Robert Lauriston <robert -at- lauriston -dot- com>
Date: Tue, 26 Apr 2016 17:04:31 -0700

If it's just a matter of creating documentation with a new look and feel
that the Web designer is creating, you can take the design specifications
and apply the necessary colors, fonts, and graphical elements yourself
using MadCap flare. The procedures to do this are well-documented.

If your Web designer will be doing a lot of writing, I agree with others
that it seems better to have him learn MadCap flare. Since his title is Web
designer, it would seem that writing takes second place to design, right?

I also prefer working on a Mac to working on Windows and sympathize with
his sentiments. Perhaps a realistic cost-benefits analysis in terms of time
needed for customizing say, an open source tool, and having him run Madcap
on a VM will help. :-)

that said, for some projects I have used Sphinx-doc (the markup is
restructured text or .rst), with Sublime Text as a text editor. I've gotten
to where I can install Sublime Text and several useful plugins fairly
quickly, and using these inexpensive tools, I can create documentation in
HTML and output to pdf. There are some fairly large companies that are
using restructured text in this way. It has potential but I still think
that getting all the moving parts to work exactly as needed can be a time
sink. A link: http://www.sphinx-doc.org/en/stable/ . Works great on a Mac
and last time I tried, getting the pdf output to work well required a bit
of tinkering on Windows.

I do think that in many cases lack of budget for tools creates requirements
for time-consuming customizations. If you've gotten Madcap to doing what
you need it to do, why make the change unless there are several reasons
that are driving you to look for alternatives?

-Elisa

On Tue, Apr 12, 2016 at 10:53 AM, Robert Lauriston <robert -at- lauriston -dot- com>
wrote:

> Hmm. The only HTML format that Flare can round-trip is HTML Help, and
> then again we have the problem with the designer being on the Mac.
>
> Craig could generate HTML Help, give the designer the HTML Help
> Workshop source (which might require decompiling the CHM), the
> designer could modify it, give it back to Craig, and Craig could
> compile it and import it to Flare.
>
> That might work, but figuring out whether it does would take so much
> time that it doesn't make sense to try. Just buy Flare and Parallels
> or Fusion.
>
> On Tue, Apr 12, 2016 at 10:40 AM, Kathleen MacDowell
> <kathleen -dot- eamd -at- gmail -dot- com> wrote:
> > Robert, can you import a document with styles and then use those styles
> for
> > a new template?
> >
> > On Tue, Apr 12, 2016 at 12:34 PM, Robert Lauriston <robert -at- lauriston -dot- com
> >
> > wrote:
> >>
> >> Flare templates are CSS with proprietary extensions. Nothing but Flare
> >> can use them.
> >>
> >> He needs a copy of Flare to do what he wants to do. Flare's integrated
> >> stylesheet editor will properly display the inheritance and stop him
> >> from screwing things up. Any web designer should have no trouble using
> >> that editor. The only other thing you'd have to show him is how to
> >> generate output for the relevant targets to check the results.
> >>
> >> help.madcapsoftware.com/flare12/Content/Styles/Editing_Styles.htm
> >>
> >> On Tue, Apr 12, 2016 at 7:49 AM, Cardimon, Craig <ccardimon -at- m-s-g -dot- com>
> >> wrote:
> >> >
> >> > I am researching inexpensive alternatives to MadCap Flare.
> >> >
> >> > I have a new collaborator in the office: our web designer. He wants to
> >> > be able to able to edit the stylesheet/template and then hand it back
> to me.
> >> >
> >> > He wants a potential authoring system to run on Mac. He doesn't bother
> >> > with Windows. He doesn't want to bother with MadCap Contributor. He
> doesn't
> >> > understand Flare, and I can't explain it to him as I learned how to
> use it
> >> > on the forums.
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--
Elisa Rood Sawyer
~~~~~^~~~~~
Technical and Creative Writer
"Apparently there is nothing that cannot happen today." Mark Twain
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References:
Alternatives to MadCap Flare: From: Cardimon, Craig
Re: Alternatives to MadCap Flare: From: Robert Lauriston
Re: Alternatives to MadCap Flare: From: Kathleen MacDowell
Re: Alternatives to MadCap Flare: From: Robert Lauriston

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