Tag Archives: MadCap Flare

March Meeting: Leveraging Structured Authoring/DITA Techniques When All You Have are Unstructured Tools

Join us Wednesday, March 15, 2017, at the Petaluma Library from 6-8pm. The presentation, by Monique Semp, will start promptly at 6:30.

You’ve heard the buzz about structured authoring and DITA: how great it is for efficient content reuse, how it enforces consistency, how it guides our writing for topic-based presentation… But what if there’s no budget for new tools, no time for training to “become a DITA writer,” and no time to migrate legacy unstructured content? Don’t despair! You can easily leverage many structured authoring best practices even when using unstructured tools. This presentation demonstrates tool-agnostic techniques such as writing a good short description, designing task-focused documents, and increasing content reuse. You’ll also see how to use FrameMaker (unstructured), Word, and Flare features to style content semantically, standardize textual navigation aids, add metadata, and perform multi-channel publishing. Whether you’re a DITA beginner, a structured authoring guru forced to use unstructured tools, or a strategist contemplating a legacy conversion project, you can immediately apply the techniques in this presentation to your daily work.

Monique Semp is a Senior STC member, and has won numerous STC Touchstone and Berkeley competition awards of merit and excellence. Monique began her career as a software engineer writing PL/M and C code for automated train control (the “people movers” in airports) and the accompanying user manuals. Her career evolved and she’s been a technical writer since 2001, documenting a broad range of applications such as early Java-based mobile geo-location applications, consumer product review platforms, and internet security. She has her own company, Write Quick, Inc., and provides many technical writing services, including API references, programming guides, configuration manuals, and technical processes and procedures.

Please RSVP to <info2@northbaycommunicators.org>

The Petaluma Library is located at 100 Fairgrounds Drive in Petaluma. Take E. Washington Street south from 101, then left on Fairgrounds Drive. Parking may be limited, so please leave an extra few minutes in case you have to park elsewhere and walk.

Our June 2010 Meeting: Creating a Knowledge Base using MadCap Flare and Madcap Feedback Server

Wendy Bidwell had long planned to present at our chapter but was now in Florida.  Would she accept our offer to present remotely using Acrobat Connect? Indeed, she took the plunge and all went very well, becoming our first formal telepresenter.  The commute and parking were much easier, despite the late hours for her.

Her theme: How to use MadCap Flare in conjunction with MadCap Feedback Server to manage data in association with an online help project–improving communication among writers, customers, and employees.  So-called “out-of-the-box” applications just weren’t doing it, but Flare provided a great way to manage a knowledge base, while making it easy to export content to a variety of target output formats. Combining MadCap Flare with a Feedback Server to create a company knowledge base provides improved, interactive communication among writers, customers, and employees.

Users can add comments and rate topics, and writers can analyze user searches. This provides the same kind of valuable information one would have to obtain from talking to customers and support personnel and conducting usability studies.

For detailed instructions on installing and configuring MadCap Flare and MadCap Feedback Server in this context, see Wendy’s document. Other servers are also supported.