Re: Flare-only shop?

Subject: Re: Flare-only shop?
From: Julie Stickler <jstickler -at- gmail -dot- com>
To: Jack DeLand <jackdeland -at- comcast -dot- net>
Date: Mon, 23 May 2016 18:15:09 -0400

My last job was at a Flare-only shop. Well, at least it was when I got
finished converting from Word + RoboHelp to Flare.

As Jack noted, the print output has definitely improved over the years.
Because the source files are in XHTML, there are some limitations as to how
"beautiful" you can get your print output, due to limitations in HTML as a
layout format. But MadCap keeps adding proprietary tags and other Flare
users keep coming up with clever workarounds. They're not to the point of
looking as good as a FrameMaker doc, but they're getting close. I produced
online help, "printable" PDFs, and the inserts for our installation CDs
that were sized to fit inside a DVD case out of the same Flare source, just
with different publishing targets and CSS applied. I had cover pages,
legal pages, headers, footers, all the usual print elements.

Having been a Flare user off and on since version 3.5, and having used both
RoboHelp and Flare side by side a couple of times, Flare is by far my
favorite tool. If you've used either Frame or RoboHelp before, the
learning curve isn't as steep as if you're coming from another tool (I had
a coworker coming over from AuthorIt who was completely baffled until they
got sent to MadCamp for training). The hardest part is probably getting
your templates set up, but since it's pretty standard CSS, there are plenty
of resources out on the internet, not to mention the extensive Flare help
and the Flare user forums. I put together my first template in two days
with a copy of CSS The Missing Manual and a bit of Googling.

On Mon, May 23, 2016 at 5:17 PM, Jack DeLand <jackdeland -at- comcast -dot- net> wrote:

> I used RoboHelp for a long time, and did a lot of Robo training "back in
> the
> day." I discovered Flare a few years ago. Flare's print quality has
> improved
> greatly over the years, but you will need to know at least a little about
> how HTML and CSS work together to jump in and start printing with the exact
> results you want. It can do all the page layout functions you need, but it
> is a development tool, not an authoring tool like FrameMaker. The PDF
> output
> is good, but again, you won't see FrameMaker results.
>
> I still wouldn't use any tool other than Flare unless I had to for a
> client.
> Some find the learning curve steep. I taught myself by experimenting with
> the pre-supplied templates, then going to the Help. It wasn't that hard to
> learn, really. There are oodles of resources on the MadCap site, as you
> probably have discovered. I believe there are quick start guide-like
> templates, IIRC. The styles editor tool is easy to learn now, and shows you
> a preview of what your style changes will look like.
>
> I am so happy with Flare that I became a Flare consultant! ;-)
>
> Jack DeLand
> Adam Charles Consulting, LLC
> 734 972 3026
> www.adamcharlesconsulting.com
>
> -----Original Message-----
> From: techwr-l-bounces+jackdeland=comcast -dot- net -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
> [mailto:techwr-l-bounces+jackdeland=comcast -dot- net -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com] On
> Behalf Of Nancy Allison
> Sent: Monday, May 23, 2016 5:05 PM
> To: techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
> Subject: Flare-only shop?
>
> Hello, all.
> Does anyone work in a Flare-only shop?
> My company is considering moving to online help only; we would no
> longer generate large, book-style PDFs, just Web Help and HTML5.
> However, we would still sometimes create printed 2- to 8-page Quick
> Start Guides, which would need all the niceties of print page layout,
> such as headers, footers, etc.
> If you use Flare only for all document creation, how well is Flare
> suited for traditional print output?
> What is your assessment of Flare? Are you happy with it, or would you
> prefer another tool?
> Thanks for any and all comments.
> --Nancy
>
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--
Julie Stickler
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References:
Flare-only shop?: From: Nancy Allison
RE: Flare-only shop?: From: Jack DeLand

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