Today we have another guest blog post from MadCap Software, written by Jose Sermeno, a product evangelist at MadCap. As the scale, complexities and deliverables of technical communication content have evolved, authors and content creators have an ever-increasing arsenal of software tools at their disposal. “Single Sourcing,” “Visual Editing,” and “Multi-Channel Publishing” are all buzzword functionalities one can now expect from a modern technical communication tool. As “features” they’re easy to describe—but providing users with an interface that is easy to use and representative of the underlying structure or styling of the content, without overloading them, is a challenge. Our blog post today is going to cover some of the ways MadCap Software has placed particular emphasis on providing users with a clean interface that provides both assistance and content structure insight while creating content. Figure 1. Flare v9’s XML Editor Figure 2. XML Editor Local Toolbars While users are presented with an ever changing set of interfaces and editor rules from tool to tool—people generally have an existing set of references from their experiences with word processing or publishing software. The popular Ribbon from Microsoft for document editing and formatting, dynamic dual screen editing from tools like Dreamweaver, and the colorful (and useful) syntax display in a text editor like Notepad++ all represent editors designed with a  focus for developing a specific end result in mind. In Flare, we’ve tried to include only as much information as the user will find necessary in their development. With that said, every marker in Flare can be disabled, based on the user’s preference. We’ve always considered our editor to be a unique and distinguishable strength of Flare, and with version 9, we have made some significant updates with efficient authoring and ease of use in mind.

Editor Updated Features:

Split View Editing. Highlighting text in one editor automatically highlights the related text in the other editor. Figure 3. Split screen editing can be horizontal or vertical. Code validation. If you type characters that result in invalid XML, the Text Editor displays an error with information as to why the error exists. Figure 4. The editor has identified the error and position in the XML. Figure 5. Once corrected, the error message disappears AutoComplete. You can use autocomplete in the Text Editor to quickly select valid tags as you type XHTML and CSS code. Figure 6. Autocomplete dialog Figure 7. AutoComplete can be disabled XML Structure Bars. These are just what the name implies—bars around the topic content that show the structure. There are two kinds of structure bars—tag and span. A great overview video of the Structure Bars can be found here. The challenge for today’s software developers lies in designing a menu set, visual cues and representative markers that are not clutter, but rather elements that aid the user and help writers work more efficiently. We’re thrilled to introduce an enhanced dynamic XML Editor that’s placed emphasis on usability and authoring efficiency—all without requiring the end user to have any advanced coding knowledge. With Flare v9, we aimed to incorporate the best features from various print and web editing tools into one powerful application.   So far, with what we’ve been able to accomplish, and from the feedback we’ve received—we think we’re close. We encourage you to take a look and let us know what you think.
0

Consider reading these posts.

Hot Summer, Cool Savings from Lenovo
Hot Summer, Cool Savings from Lenovo
Business Matters: How I Became an Accidental Author
Business Matters: How I Became an Accidental Author
Preview of 2013 Salary Database Available
Preview of 2013 Salary Database Available

0 comments

Leave a Reply