UPDATE: Sept 28, 2010
This list will now be maintained on our main web site at http://www.madcapsoftware.com/services/training/books.aspx .
This has turned out to be one of the most viewed topics of this blog and there have been some new titles published so I wanted to update the content.
I am often asked for book or other resource recommendations for new MadCap Flare users. Below is my recommended reading list. While not exhaustive by any means, the options below would be a great primer for success with MadCap Flare.
First I will start with the free resources that are available as part of the Flare documentation and online:
- Start with the Flare Quick Guide, a short high level overview and introduction. (PDF, 36 pgs)
- Read as much of the online help overview information as you can handle. (WebHelp)
- Build a couple or three test projects to get a feel for what is going on.
- Follow the Flare Getting Started Guide. This should be the new Flare users best friend for at least several weeks. (PDF, 368 pages)
Now for the third party options that I would encourage new users to work with:
- If I was fresh to using a tool like Flare then a great new resource is available.
Five Steps to MadCap Flare
by Lorraine Kupka and Joy Underhill
- And another
Creating user-friendly Online Help
by Petra Thiemnn and David krings
- If I were coming from RoboHelp I would get a copy of Scott’s great book.
MadCap Flare for RoboHelp Users
by Scott DeLoach
- Next I would look for a good overview of the technologies that are the foundation beneath Flare. I am a big fan of the Visual QuickStart series and this is a pretty good one:
HTML, XHTML, and CSS, Sixth Edition (Visual Quickstart Guide)
by Elizabeth Castro
Another great option is also from Scott DeLoach and focuses on Cascading Style Sheets which is core to getting the most out of Flare publishing
CSS To The Point
by Scott DeLoach
Then you might want to polish up your general authoring skills. For that I recommend:
Technical Writing 101: A Real-World Guide to Planning and Writing Technical Documentation
by Alan S. Pringle and Sarah O’Keefe
The more that you work with Flare the more you will come to realize that Cascading Style Sheets, or CSS, have huge amounts of power and control in just how your content is formatted and presented. Learning as much as you can about CSS will pay dividends. My favorite CSS book of all time is from the actual creators of the CSS specification:
Cascading Style Sheets: Designing for the Web (3rd Edition) (Paperback)
by Hakon Wium Lie and Bert Bos
- Another good CSS reference is:
CSS: The Definitive Guide, Second Edition
by Eric Meyer
Then, if you want to go beyond the built in capabilities and want to explore some of the advanced possibilities available with some custom hand scripting, a place to start would be:
DHTML and CSS for the World Wide Web, Third Edition (Visual Quickstart Guide)
by Jason Teague
Finally, if you want to go on to be recognized as a Flare master then Scott DeLoach has a preparation guide for those who want to become Flare certified:
MadCap Flare Certified Test Review + Developer’s Guide
by Scott DeLoach
Obviously, there are many more great books out there, but these are all resources that I have worked with and am happy to recommend to others. If you have any additional favorites then list them in the comments section.