At our most recent MadWorld 2019 Dublin conference in Ireland, attendees had the opportunity to attend an expert panel session and learn from experts in the technical communication and content strategy field. A wide range of topics were discussed including industry insights, best practices in MadCap Flare, advanced CSS tips, and more. However, there was one question, in particular, that was asked which generated a lively and helpful discussion – “What plugins, add-ons, and resources do you use to extend the power of Flare?”

The panel included:

Here is a summary of the panel’s favorites:

Andrea Gutwein, Project Manager, MadTranslations – MadCap Lingo and MadCap Capture

“As a Project Manager at MadTranslations, there is one tool that we rely on most for MadCap Flare translation: MadCap Lingo. Even though we use other CAT tools (translation tools) for our day-to-day work, MadCap Lingo is one of our staples for the preparation of Flare projects for translation. It allows us to extract content from certain targets so that we can translate only the exact content that our customers need. MadCap Lingo really does a wonderful job of extracting translatable parts from a Flare project that are often forgotten, such as the glossary file and PROPS files that contain callout texts. And of course, MadCap Lingo extracts anything else that might be linked to the target, which ensures that we end up with a fully translated target.

We also love MadCap Capture, which is free to use in Flare. It allows users to capture and edit images and to add text in callouts. While this can also be done in other tools, Capture offers a major advantage for translation: it saves the callout text in PROPS files that can be imported into CAT tools. With MadCap Capture callouts, we only need to translate the text inside the PROPS files and then check the size of the text fields, just in case we need to adjust the size of the text field to accommodate the translations. Since we don’t have to extract text manually from uneditable image formats, we are able to offer Capture callout translation to our customers at no added cost. We often recommend MadCap Capture to our customers in order to save time and money on callout translations.”

Birgit Becker, Technical Editor, HelpDesign – termXact

termXact has a plugin for terminology checking in MadCap Flare. This plugin makes it possible to check Flare projects for correct terminology during content creation. Using a terminology checker in your source language project can help keep core messaging consistent, and helps improve translation quality. The plugin is displayed and operated in the Flare interface, and the terminology is checked in the XML editor. Optionally, topics and snippets that are open or located in a specific folder can be checked. The terminology check can be based on a simple Excel file. The Excel file must be concept-oriented and naming should be autonomous which is typical with terminology databases. On the other hand, it is also possible to create an Excel file from your own external term database and use it for the Term Check in Flare. Terms in question are displayed in the result window, with all information about the correct or forbidden terms. The search and replace function makes it very easy to use. The interface is simple and helps ensure writers are consistent with technical terminology and content. With a simple Excel file, professional terminology management can be established in the company at a very low cost.”

Daniel Ferguson, Founder, Smart Output – jQuery Plugins

“Over the past seven years, I’ve worked with Flare users all over the world. In many cases, my clients request functionality that doesn’t yet exist out-of-the-box in Flare. Because of Flare’s open architecture, we are able to develop our own solutions or implement solutions developed by others. On a number of occasions, I’ve implemented a clickable table sorter using a jquery plugin. For tables that are long or detailed, being able to click the header row to sort the table by row is extremely useful.”

Recently, Keaton Lullo from MadCap Software wrote an article on how to implement such a table sorter. If you have tables in your HTML output that could more usable by being sortable, go check out his article, and give it a go in your project!

Scott Deloach, CEO, Clickstart – MadCap Software Customer Showcase

“I use several tools with MadCap Flare, but my favorite resource is the Customer Showcase. You can use it as a look book to research design trends, compile real-world examples to discuss with clients, and certainly for inspiration. We all get tunnel vision and start to assume we’re the first person to face a design challenge or need a specific feature. Whenever I feel stuck in a rut, I just open the Customer Showcase to kick start my brainstorming. If you haven’t checked out the Customer Showcase, give it a visit. If you have a great public-facing project, consider sharing it with everyone. And, if you’re already in the Customer Showcase, thanks for sharing and great job!”

Summary + MadWorld 2020 Austin

There are various tools that are readily available to MadCap Flare users, many of which are completely free! Do you have any interesting plugins or add-ons that you use to extend the power of MadCap Flare? Share with us in the comments below!

We have also recently extended the discount deadline for for MadWorld 2020 Austin. Register by June 30 and save up to $1000 on the Pre-Conference Workshop, Main Conference and Advanced Workshop.

Plus, check out our Customer Showcase Awards — you can submit your best online Help sites, knowledge bases, user guides and more for our first-annual #MadWorldShowcaseAwards. Award categories include Most Innovative, Best Overall User Experience, Best Top Navigation, and more. Winners will be announced at this year’s event.

**Note: You don’t have to register for MadWorld or be present to win in order to submit.