We often see customers looking to adopt Flare who already have an existing software system or website they’d like to integrate with their Flare output.

The good news is, this can be easily done. Your options include, 1) linking to the Flare generated content from your existing site or intranet or, 2) by embedding the Flare output entirely or by using the compiled xhtml pages to be imported or displayed by another application/system.

Linking to Flare generated output

This one is pretty straight-forward. Once you’ve generated the desired output and have published it up to a server, you’ll be able to link to the output on your network as necessary from your internal systems or sites. If you’re generating a single file like .pdf or .doc, then you can link to to the file directly. If you’re linking to an HTML5 or WebHelp output, you’ll need to link to what’s called the “Start Up” topic (called default.htm in Flare by default).

Link to the "Start Up Topic" Default.htm

Link to the “Start Up Topic” Default.htm

You can use any topic you’d like as the starting point for your help system. This topic is configured at the Target level within the Flare project.

This method of linking to the output file works whether you’re linking directly to a single file output (.pdf, .doc, .epub etc), or to the “Startup Topic” of the HTML5 or WebHelp output.  Getting the output onto this location on the server initially can be done using a Publishing Destination from Flare.  We’ve also put together an article that covers the ways to distribute output:  https://help.madcapsoftware.com/flare9/Default.htm#Output/Distribute_Output.htm

Embedding the HTML5 pages or entire output from Flare into a web page using an iframe

This is the most widely used integration we see, and is useful if both systems are behind the same firewall, and you’re trying to incorporate the Flare output into an existing website.

If you want to make the publish from Flare to your external system/page a continuing process, we’d recommend publishing the HTML5 output to a parallel or accessible directory on the sites server.

You can create pages in your website/system (something like Drupal, WordPress, ZenDesk, SalesForce etc) and embed an iframe in that page that references a Flare topic file (the .html file directly).

iframe_example

iframe example referencing the Flare webhelp site

Embedding the default.htm in the iframe will cause the entire help system to load when opened, with the navigation pane and all elements of the skin visible and functioning from within the iframe.

This will allow the Flare author to work separately from the system/site maintainer, and as a topic is added to the Flare project, they just need to remember to add the page in their system/site. Depending on what system you were using, this process can also be completely scripted, but would take some development know-how.

Below are the steps recently provided for a customer integrating Flare topics into an existing Drupal site:

1-Use Flare to compile the .htm pages that they intend to serve through their Drupal Site.
2-Publish the compiled output onto a directory side-by-side with the drupal site.
3-In the Drupal site – create a page. In the body of that page, using an iframe, reference the topic.htm from the Flare output on the server.
4-Save the drupal page, and build it into your site as normal.
5-When your users access the Drupal site, when they navigate to a page that had the embedded topic reference, they’ll see the Flare topic referenced from the drupal site in the iframe.

More information on iframes can be found here:

http://www.w3schools.com/tags/tag_iframe.asp

About The Author

Jose Sermeno

About Jose Sermeno

With over 10 years of experience in the software industry, Mr. Sermeno brings a wealth of knowledge and expertise to the product evangelist team, helping introduce new users to everything MadCap Software. In his spare time, Jose is the Project Director for San Diego City Robotics, the San Diego community college systems robotics program, and enjoys working in software design and open source hardware development. Prior to joining MadCap in late 2010, Jose ran a Drupal development shop, and was an application manager for Temple University Health System.

Last Modified: October 28, 2013

This entry was posted in HTML5, MadCap Flare, Tips & Tricks. Bookmark the permalink.

Comments

  • Bridget Gordan April 9, 2015 at 6:49 AM

    How will this process differ in v11? I am going to need to do this shortly, but I gather in v11 you don’t need the iframe. Thanks.

    • Jose Sermeno Jose Sermeno April 29, 2015 at 2:41 PM

      Hi Bridget,

      With v11, these options still remain, and you have one more. You can now choose to build an HTML5 target using no skin at all. This creates a set of HTML files that can readily be imported/migrated to an external system very easily.

  • David Glow January 4, 2016 at 11:20 AM

    Embedding with iFrame means that the site is hosted completely separate from WordPress, and can be accessed separate from the login in WordPress. Is there any way to integrate it with WordPress without importing every page and managing the help files with MadCap and duplicating the same effort via WordPress (same question would apply to Drupal or other CMS systems)?

  • Annamaria February 2, 2016 at 10:28 PM

    Hi Jose, thanks for this post, it’s really helpful. We are looking at importing different outputs from Flare into software that will only display valid information to the different user types that log in. Are you aware of Flare being used in this way before? Could the output have an identifier that would enable us to link that to a particular user role in the system? So for example Output 1 is for User 1, Output 2 is for user 2. When User 1 logs in, they only see the information that is available in Output 1 and when User 2 logs in, they only see the information that is available in the second Output?

    • Annamaria February 2, 2016 at 10:37 PM

      I meant to Target instead of Output 🙂

    • Sarah Lloyd April 6, 2016 at 3:44 PM

      Could MadCap respond to this comment with their view please? Thanks!

    • Jennifer Morse Jennifer Morse April 7, 2016 at 9:00 AM

      Hi Annamaria, great question. The answer is yes, and in fact this is quite common. Authors may need to published different targets for different audiences, because the content for each audience may be different, and Flare makes it easy to manage that.

      So using your example, you would have two targets in Flare. Each target would be published to a webserver. You can then have the application point to the correct target output on the server. You will want to coordinate with the developer(s), so that they can program the call to the right directory on the server, based on the users credentials. I hope this helps. If we can clarify anything let me know, feel free to drop me an email – jmorse@madcapsoftware.com.

Have Something to Say?

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *