Flare 8.0 Publishing Software Adds New HTML5 Web Output, EPUB Format for eBooks, Enhanced PDFs, and New Ribbon UI for Easier, More Intuitive Access to Flare's Rich Functionality
La Jolla, CA, USA – March 1, 2012 – MadCap Software, Inc. the leader in multi-channel content authoring and a showcase company for Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT) Visual Studio and Microsoft XPS, today announced the launch of MadCap Flare 8.0. Flare is the industry's leading technical authoring application for publishing online Help, knowledge bases, policy and procedure manuals, user manuals, and other forms of content. Only MadCap Flare lets authors create a single project and then directly publish it in multiple formats optimized for the Web, mobile devices, desktops, and print publishing-without the need for any additional tools.
MadCap Flare 8.0 builds on MadCap's innovation in single-source publishing to print and online channels with the addition of HTML5 Web output, EPUB eBook output, and enhanced PDF print functionality. Additionally, Flare 8.0 features a new Microsoft-style ribbon user interface (UI) that captures the look and feel of modern applications, such as Microsoft Office 2010. The new, intuitive UI helps to reduce the learning curve and facilitate access to the broad range of powerful features within Flare.
"Our customers recognize the strategic value of letting readers choose the way they receive content, whether it's in print, on the Web, on desktops, or on their mobile devices. Only Flare delivers on that demand by allowing authors to create a single project and then directly publish to it to any of these channels," said Anthony Olivier, MadCap founder and CEO. "Flare 8.0 takes this leadership to a new level by becoming the only publishing application to offer modern HTML5 Web output, a choice between mobile Web and eBook formats for their mobile devices, and rich PDF print functionality."
In conjunction with Flare 8.0, MadCap also is launching the newest version of its MadPak technical communications suite. The MadPak suite features six products to provide an integrated approach to content workflow. The newest MadPak version includes Flare 8.0, MadCap Contributor 4.0 for collaborative authoring and reviewing, MadCap Analyzer 5.0 for analyzing and improving documentation, and MadCap Capture 6.0 for image capture and graphics editing, which all launched today. Additionally, the MadPak includes MadCap Mimic 6.0 for publishing software simulation movies, video and audio, and MadCap Lingo 5.0 to facilitate and streamline the process of translating and localizing content. For more information, see the press release on MadPak also dated March 5, 2012.
With Version 8.0, MadCap Flare delivers a new Web output format that supports the HTML5 standard, providing significant enhancements in appearance, usability and searchability. The new look and feel is consistent with modern browser UIs, such as Google Chrome, and the output is completely customizable so that authors can match the look and feel of their websites and portals.
Significantly, HTML5 output is completely frameless, which allows search engines to crawl through the content and index topic pages. This represents a major advance over other vendors' traditional "framed" content in WebHelp where the Help content is essentially invisible to search engines. HTML5 output in Flare 8.0 facilitates search engine optimization (SEO) to simplify users' searches and improve the Help system's visibility with search engines. To further enhance search visibility and SEO, Flare 8.0 automatically generates an XML sitemap for all Web outputs, and it allows authors to add metadata tags to topics.
"When we got to look at the new features that are included in Flare 8.0-mainly the HTML5 output that includes full topic URLs and frameless output, and the enhanced searching interface and functionality-we were sold and immediately renewed our maintenance plans," said Kadan Bradley, technical writer, Adaptive Computing. "These new features and enhancements are going to be of great value to our customers and our support team."
Flare 8.0 takes advantage of its single-source multi-channel publishing functionality to let authors easily publish their Flare-based content in the EPUB format for eBooks. With the addition of EPUB output, MadCap expands its commitment to delivering content in formats that are specifically designed for mobile devices. Two years ago, MadCap Flare was the first publishing software to feature native, platform-independent mobile output, called WebHelp Mobile, allowing users to access dynamic Web content from an Apple iPhone or iPad, a device running Windows Mobile or Android, or another mobile platform. EPUB output provides yet another option for users on the go.
The new EPUB output in Flare 8.0 allows authors to deliver manuals and other types of linear documents as eBooks that, once downloaded, can be accessed at any time, regardless of whether there is an Internet connection. EPUB facilitates navigation and enables a virtual book experience with features such as page flipping. The format is available on many portable devices, including the Amazon Kindle; Barnes & Noble Nook; and Apple iPad, iPhone, and iPod Touch. Documentation published in the EPUB format also can be read on a typical notebook or desktop computer by downloading any of the popular free EPUB readers.
MadCap continues to expand PDF print document functionality in Flare 8.0 with customizable PDF settings. Authors can now insert named destinations into content, link to named destinations in existing PDFs, and convert existing bookmarks to named destinations on output. Authors also have more flexibility in setting page breaks, and they can set more initial view values, such as collapsing bookmarks, opening in full screen mode, setting the default page layout view, and showing the file name or document title in the title bar. Flare 8.0 also offers several table of contents (TOC) enhancements for PDF output.
Flare 8.0 adds a number of new Microsoft-style features to shorten the learning curve for new users and enhance usability even for the most seasoned Flare authors. A new ribbon UI is the default interface. Similar to the Microsoft Ribbon UI, it offers both new and existing Flare users a format that is easier to read and makes it easier to find options. The latest version of Flare also adds a Quick Access Toolbar that is similar to the one in Microsoft Office. Default toolbar buttons are Save, Save All, Undo, and Redo. However, users can add up to 20 custom shortcut buttons with just a few clicks. Additionally, much as with Microsoft Office, users can choose to display keyboard shortcuts for all menu options in Flare by pressing the ALT key.
"Many times, we have had customers request that we add features to Flare only to discover that those features already existed. They were just difficult to find using our old user interface, which was designed more like a traditional Help publishing tool," said Mike Hamilton, MadCap vice president of product evangelism. "With Flare 8.0, we've taken a design cue from Microsoft Office-the most popular suite of office applications on the market-to create a modern, intuitive UI that makes it faster and easier than ever for users to take advantage of the deep bench of functionality we offer with Flare."
With Flare 8.0 and Contributor 4.0, a new Table Of Contents (TOC) View feature facilitates the collaborative review process. Now an author can send a review package directly from the TOC. When a user opens the review package in Contributor, it shows where the topic under review fits within the TOC, providing better context for how the subject fits within the entire project.
Contributor 4.0 also allows Flare users to take advantage of the review feature for free, including the ability to annotate content. Users simply sign up for the trial version, and once the trial expires, they will continue to have perpetual access to the review and annotation functionality. However, those users who also want to content contribution features will need to purchase a standard Contributor license.
MadCap Flare 8.0 is available today both separately and as part of MadCap's MadPak. A standalone Flare 8.0 license is priced at $999. MadPak, at $1,499 per license, includes Flare 8.0, MadCap Analyzer 4.0, MadCap Contributor, MadCap Mimic 5.0, and MadCap Capture 5.0. Maintenance (support and subscription) fees start at $199 per year for the Bronze Level, $299 for the Gold Level, and $499 for the Platinum Level. Discounts for multiyear maintenance contracts are also available.
With the latest releases of Flare and the MadPak, MadCap also is rolling out two new licensing models to support the needs of enterprises with multiple users.
Both licensing options include access to the highest levels of MadCap technical support. For more information call 1-888-MadCap1.
Kinetic.PR for MadCap Softwareb
About MadCap Software MadCap Software, Inc. is a leading technical communication software firm specializing in integrated applications for end-to-end content development, delivery and management. MadCap's software products provide state-of-the-art content workflow solutions for multi-channel publishing, including the Web, print, desktop and mobile. Through its strategic partner Microsoft Corp. (NASDAQ: MSFT), MadCap delivers solutions optimized for Microsoft Windows, Visual Studio, and the .NET environment. Headquartered in La Jolla, CA, MadCap is home to some of the most experienced software architects and product experts in the documentation industry. Learn more about MadCap Software at www.madcapsoftware.com.