MadCap Flare

MadCap Flare

(212)
4.4 out of 5 stars

MadCap Flare allows you to create, manage and publish content to a variety of formats, including print, online, desktop and mobile.

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Showing 213 MadCap Flare reviews
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MadCap Flare review by <span>Mike K.</span>
Mike K.
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Flare is the only product that comes close to meeting all of my team's requirements.

What do you like best?

Flare has a fantastic snippet system. Snippets can be used either as single-sourced content that gets reused in multiple places, or as a mini-template of something that you can insert into any topic, convert to text, and then customize to fit the context.

Search and replace in All Files has been a critical feature that has helped us save hundreds of man-hours across all our users over the years.

The responsive layout editor is a needed addition to Flare, as help sites are commonly being viewed on smaller and smaller screens.

Flare makes it easy to be a *team* of technical writers working on the same set of documentation.

What do you dislike?

Flare's CSS parser is out of date, and there's no way to update or disable it. If you're using bleeding-edge CSS, the parser might throw warnings at build time or when opening files. That can be an annoyance, but it's not a show-stopper. It does, however, slow down build time.

Recommendations to others considering the product

There is simply no better solution than Flare if you need multiple output formats, content conditioning, single-sourcing, source control integration, or context-sensitive help, all in an easy-to-use package. It doesn't get any better than this.

What business problems are you solving with the product? What benefits have you realized?

We are generating top-of-the-line documentation for our industry-leading SaaS offering. Without all the features available in Flare, our jobs would be much more difficult. With Flare, we can update something in the documentation and get it published to our help site immediately, which is *critical* for the users of our SaaS product.

Even though Flare can output to PDF, we're using Flare to wean our readers off PDF and switch to online help. Online help is always more up-to-date and relevant than static PDFs, and our readers are appreciating the switch.

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MadCap Flare review by <span>Linda B.</span>
Linda B.
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Straightforward content creation, and wide variety of publication methods

What do you like best?

The workspace is extremely customizable so you can set it up to suit your working preferred working style. It is also easy to switch between "WYSIWYG" and code views, for those who like to get hands on with their troubleshooting.

What do you dislike?

Although it supports integration with Team Foundation Server (TFS), we found it extremely clunky and convoluted to configure, and eventually had to get several layers of IT support involved. Since we (the tech writers) were able to configure our own TFS connections for other products, it isn't a function of some inherent TFS complexity, but rather the way it's set up for integration with this specific product.

Recommendations to others considering the product

If you plan to fully integrate TFS into Flare for version control, make sure you work with the global administrator for your TFS instance from the start.

What business problems are you solving with the product? What benefits have you realized?

Provides the ability to create AND publish content for a wide variety of delivery methods without needing to use third party tools to publish. This allowed our tech writing team to be fully in charge of Knowledge Center content deployments without needing to go through the development team.

For more technical users, Flare also integrates well with advanced publishing tools and can be used to create fully functional web-based knowledge bases, etc.

What Help Authoring Tool (HAT) solution do you use?

Thanks for letting us know!
MadCap Flare review by <span>Amy G.</span>
Amy G.
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Top-notch Single Sourcing Product

What do you like best?

I like how flexible the product is. I can work directly with the html and css and bypass Flare's interface if I want. I can easily include javascript with my output. And I like that so many output types are supported. I use PDF, html5, Eclipse, and online help for the most part.

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.

MadCap Flare review by <span>Amy Tipton J.</span>
Amy Tipton J.
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Great tool for single-sourcing content

What do you like best?

There are many things I like about the product, but I like ability to create different outputs from a single content source. As a writer who works mostly alone or on small teams this means I can provide different deliverables fairly quickly and easily. It seems to have endless features, so even after getting an initial project up and running you can continue to improve your projects as you get to know more and more features. Madcap staff are helpful and there is a great resource in the Madcap Flare community - they've done a great job at making sure their customers can get the best out of their product.

What do you dislike?

There is a relatively steep learning curve to Flare, so it can take a bit of time to feel like you have a handle on it.

Recommendations to others considering the product

Take advantage of the different webinars that Madcap has available, and if you're a brand-new user then taking one of the formal training sessions will get you up and running quickly.

What business problems are you solving with the product? What benefits have you realized?

Having a small writing team but still producing usable content that users can find directly through contextual online help, and still providing PDFs for those users who like a printed version of content.

MadCap Flare review by <span>Florence C.</span>
Florence C.
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Invitation from G2 Crowd on behalf of the vendor
Reviewed On

A pleasure to use after you've climbed the learning curve

What do you like best?

After you get used to the UI, things are easy to figure out. Reordering and renaming topics are easy. The prompt that asks whether you want to update the links after you rename topics, files, etc., gives you peace of mind. You can rest assured that no links are broken due to the moving, removing, or renaming of files. Syntax errors in the CSS are detected and reported immediately so you can fix them right away.

What do you dislike?

Table formatting is not easy. If your columns are sized dynamically (i.e., not using fixed widths), under some circumstances, the words in a column might be arranged vertically with one word on each line. Editing page layout for a PDF output is clunky, especially when you want to edit the footer. You cannot apply a span style to a portion of the footer (e.g., page number). Instead, you have to use local formatting. The spell checking window should be more convenient for users who want to check particular topics. Currently you need several mouse clicks to choose a topic. It would be good to allow users to specify something like "Topics whose file names begin with an A" or "Topics that are used in the selected target." Also, UI text is too small to read and you can't magnify the text. For example, when you try to set up a destination, the UI text in the window for specifying the URL, file path, etc., contains text that's too small to read.

Recommendations to others considering the product

You do have to have some understanding of CSS before you can use MadCap Flare. Understanding how a CSS works should be considered a prerequisite.

What business problems are you solving with the product? What benefits have you realized?

We need to share CSS among writers and single source content files. These can be accomplished with Flare.

MadCap Flare review by <span>Sean B.</span>
Sean B.
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Invitation from G2 Crowd on behalf of the vendor
Reviewed On

For me, there's no better publishing tool for Technical Writers

What do you like best?

Single-source. Hands down. Being able to apply a snippet to multiple locations not only simplifies my work and opens up time to design other products such as the Knowledge Base. Once you learn how to use snippets and conditions correctly, updates become simple. I love this product!

Moreover, when I first started with Flare, I didn't understand css or single-sourcing, but through two visits to the MadWorld Conference and an online forum and help make Flare simple to understand.

What do you dislike?

Oh, there are various things that MadCap doesn't do - yet, but they are trivial things. If I had to pinpoint the top two things that bother me. 1) Top nav links don't yet open in a popup window. They open only in a new tab. 2) I wouldn't mind it if you could apply multiple targets to primary target, so, you can build multiple outputs while leaving out others.

Recommendations to others considering the product

If you're a technical writer, don't even question it. Put down the phone, buy Flare, and come to MadWorld. You won't regret it.

What business problems are you solving with the product? What benefits have you realized?

I use Flare for once simple reason. Multiple outputs from a single source. We are an agile department, so we're running fast and low to the ground, which means we have short time between releases. I need to be able to spend my time writing, developing, and designing, while still being able to release quickly. I pushed out an end-user doc "from scratch" last week, and our VP said that one document closed a 100K deal. I couldn't have done that without Flare.

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