Tuesday, March 7, 2017

You Should Purchase Flare?

I routinely receive emails from Madcap Software, the company that sells Flare, which is a direct competitor to RoboHelp. Usually, I don't invest a lot of time, if any, in reviewing the email, but I just did. When I went out to the case study for HP - http://www.madcapsoftware.com/case-study/hewlett-packard-enterprise-uses-madcap-flare.aspx - I wasn't blown away. In fact, the first help system I reviewed didn't have icons in the output:


So then, I went to look at another example, and saw an entirely different look & feel from the first system:


Now, I understand that there are different audiences and such, but it looks as if the authors at HP really don't know what the hell they are doing. First of all, there's the icons not displaying in the first screen capture; in the second screen capture, the layout of the glossary is totally different. That took me back to the case study where I read this:

The information engineering team also makes extensive use of snippets, variables, and conditional tags in MadCap Flare to maximize content reuse for its different outputs.

To me, that tells me that whether you use Flare or not, there will be inconsistency. Why is the Glossary in the first screen capture laid out with the letters across the top while the Glossary in the second screen capture does not have those letters? If Flare is such a great tool, why would it allow icons to not display and why would the authors chose to have two Glossaries with different layouts?

I don't have the answer.

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