What do you like best?
I can also edit any of the xml project files in an internal or external text editor. This lets me do a search/replace across multiple products if I want to change a parameter. I can even use Flare's internal search/replace which support regular expressions and other advanced features.
The tech support has been excellent and the online community is very active. I can usually find answers to my questions there. If I can't, the support staff is very knowledgeable.
What do you dislike?
I don't like that I can't work off of a network drive. I run Flare on a Mac using Parallels and keep my files on the Mac's file system, which is seen as a network drive by Parallels. This causes problems for me but I work around it by putting everything to our server via git so everything gets backed up nightly (my Parallels VM does not get backed up as the large binary file that is my VM is problematic in our incremental backup system.)
Speaking of git, We can't use git integration in Flare. I can't remember exactly what it was but I think it forced you to commit to the git when you deleted a file. I want to have a choice whether to commit the change now or wait until later. Git integration needs to be more flexible before we can use it. We may look at implementing it again soon. In the meantime, we are happy using SourceTree, another great product. And it's free.
I don't like how long, ugly and complicated the URLs are in the HTML5 output. It makes it harder to share links with people.
It's hard to remember where to change certain things. There are so many parts and layers to the product. But this isn't really a bad thing. It's just shows how advanced and feature-rich the product is.
Recommendations to others considering the product
Learn html and css. The better you know these protocols, the better your experience with Flare. And learn regular expressions at least a little bit.
What business problems are you solving with the product? What benefits have you realized?
We need to output our mainframe documentation in three formats, PDF, Eclipse plugins, and HTML. We also have Windows products that get single-sourced PDF and online help. We are able to do all of these with Flare. Many of our documentation processes are automated. Madcap Flare has a command line interface that lets us put the document build process into our scripts. When it comes time to compile, the script edits the variables of the xml target file based on parameters we set in the script so the version and release number on the cover page updates as part of the process.
Over the years, we've converted most of our MS Word documentation to Flare. One project that is mostly written by our subject matter expert must live in MS Word. For that project, we use Flare's ability to import from Word before compiling so we never actually change anything in Flare. It is used for compiling only. It required setting up the Word documents carefully so output is clean, but it is a good solution.