Re: Alternatives to MadCap Flare

Subject: Re: Alternatives to MadCap Flare
From: Chris Despopoulos <despopoulos_chriss -at- yahoo -dot- com>
To: "techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Wed, 13 Apr 2016 08:09:55 +0000 (UTC)

The only reason I can think of to completely alter the authoring/production process is that you want to change the way the process and product (your docs) integrate with the company-wide content strategy. That would mean a web designer who's using the usual stuff of today is looking at integrating with a CMS. So the cheapest solution would probably be Drupal, since it's open source. Or something like that.Â

If the designer just wants to have 100% control over the look and behavior of your HTML output, then I'd expect him/her to have tooling in place if the expectation is to completely change the process. Otherwise I'd expect the designer to acknowledge the constraints already in place (the realities of your current process) and work within them.Â

Design is not the practice of starting from scratch to make your dreams come true. Design is the practice of implementing a process to assemble materials in a beautiful and useful way. The process and the result should both be as elegant as possible. Privately (as in, don't throw this in the designer's face) I would say, if you're such a hot-shot designer, YOU give me the new tooling and process... Either that, or work within my current process.
Maybe you need to work toward a compromise... You show me the look and feel that you want, and I'll implement it in Flare. That could actually be very interesting. You would learn more design, and you would stretch your command of Flare. You and this designer would work closely together. Things could be worse...Â

Of course, the alternative I personally recommend is distributed docs, where the client is a single-page app that manages the look and behavior of your content. You can change everything by changing a single page. But I won't carry on...
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