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Thinking Windows Uses Madcap Flare 6.0 To Deliver Mobile Webhelp In Less Than 30 Days

MadCap Flare’s Single-Sourcing and Platform-Independent Web Output Let Thinking Windows Bring Online Help to Water Meter Readers Using GPS-based Mobile Application

La Jolla, CA, USA – April 20, 2010 – MadCap Software, Inc., the leader in multi-channel content authoring and a showcase company for Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT) Visual Studio 2005 and Microsoft XPS, today announced that Thinking Windows Pty Ltd is using MadCap Flare 6.0 to deliver mobile WebHelp for its newest mobile application, AquIre. Flare’s support for single-source publishing and platform-independent Web output enabled Thinking Windows to simultaneously launch AquIre—less than four weeks after purchasing Flare 6.0.

“The timing could not have been better. Just as we were readying the production release of AquIre, MadCap launched Flare 6.0 with its new mobile functionality,” said Stephen Tearle, director of Thinking Windows. “We have long recognized the importance of delivering online documentation to an increasingly mobile workforce. With Flare 6.0, for the first time there is a technical communication product on the market for device-agnostic, single-source publishing to handheld and mobile devices, as well as print, desktops, and the Web.”

Mr. Tearle added, “Our first customer for AquIre is impressed with the Flare mobile output. Now instead of carrying around instructional cards, the field operators have easy Web access to the information they need.”

Thinking Windows is the leading provider of billing software solutions for Australian water authorities—from recording meter readings to billing, customer relationship management, analysis and reporting. Its new AquIre application obtains extremely accurate global positioning system (GPS) coordinates for water meters installed on properties. Data obtained by AquIre, which runs on a GPS-based mobile device from Trimble Navigation Limited, is then sent back to Thinking Windows’ core billing application, AquaRate.

Thinking Windows has been using Flare to produce online Help for all of its applications since the availability of Flare 3.0, including the new Help content for AquIre. Originally, the company planned to use Flare to publish a small printed Help card for the field operators using AquIre. However, as Flare 6.0 launched, Heather Winch, head of Thinking Windows’ technical writing department, saw an opportunity to create a more interactive experience with mobile WebHelp. After downloading Flare 6.0, it took only two weeks to produce an initial version of the mobile WebHelp for AquIre, and the final version was completed less than two weeks later—well in time for the production release of AquIre.

“Because we already had produced our online Help in Flare, it was just a matter of pulling the information the operators on the ground needed into the mobile Help guide,” Heather Winch explained. “Also, Flare mobile output is platform-independent, so we didn’t have to customize anything for the Trimble GPS device. We just put the mobile Help on there, and it worked immediately.”

The mobile WebHelp is the latest of many benefits Thinking Windows has seen from Flare, says Mr. Tearle. He notes, “My staff has embraced the single-source publishing regime, and it is paying substantial dividends. Just as our .Net programmers are busy creating reusable class code, our documenters are creating reusable topics. We see no difference in technique and application. So Flare has truly made a big difference to our documentation production. The quality has jumped dramatically, and the reuse of topics is proving the efficiency is there to be had.”

Ms. Winch adds that the company is also taking advantage of MadCap Mimic for creating software simulation movies. She says, “We’ve used Mimic to create videos showing how to use our software. We also see a great opportunity to use it with our release notes for new software versions. Sometimes our releases have so many small changes to the screens, Mimic would make it easier to see what is new.”

In the last year, Thinking Windows has begun evangelizing the benefits customers could gain by adopting Flare’s single-source publishing for themselves. The Australia water companies are government owned and operated, and they are required by the Essential Services Commission to produce site-specific written procedures that explain how they are using Thinking Windows billing software. Today, nearly all of these customers cut and paste Thinking Windows Help into their documentation.

“Our clients are duplicating a lot of information, and whenever we change our software, they have to update their documentation,” Mr. Tearle explains. “For our last user conference, Heather showed how, by adopting Flare, they could integrate their written procedures with our Help to streamline their manuals. It got their attention when we presented a customer’s nineteen-page document and cut it down to three pages, just by replacing content with hyperlinks back to our online Help.”

Already one early adopter has purchased Flare and is expected to demonstrate the benefits of integrating its documentation with Thinking Windows’ online Help at the next user conference in August 2010.

“We are currently working to give our software a new look and feel that is Windows 7-compliant,” Mr. Tearle notes. “When we do, all of our documentation and screens will change, and this will make our clients’ information obsolete—except for the customer that has adopted Flare. This user’s documentation will link automatically to our updated Help. When our other clients see how easy it is, we think they’ll want to adopt it, too.”

“Thinking Windows is at the forefront in using state-of-the-art technologies and techniques to deliver online Help that’s as world-class as its water industry billing solutions,” said Anthony Olivier, MadCap co-founder and CEO. “We are excited to see Thinking Windows’ success in using Flare and Mimic to provide high quality WebHelp for all the platforms its customers rely on—from desktops to servers to mobile devices in the field. It is a great example of how superior online Help translates into a superior customer experience."

About Thinking Windows

Thinking Windows Pty Ltd is the software development company dedicated to providing billing solutions to the water industry. The company’s flagship product, AquaRate, leads the way with a suite of modules to cover all aspects of revenue generation and reporting. Designed for Australian water authorities, the system focuses on providing first-class customer service while ensuring government regulations are met. Thinking Windows applications are diverse and execute on a variety of platforms, from the enterprise server and desktop to the corporate Web server and out to the latest field mobility devices. For more information, visit www.thinkwin.com.au.

About MadCap Software

MadCap Software is a trusted resource for more than 20,000 companies around the globe for single-source, multi-channel authoring and publishing solutions designed to streamline the process of developing and delivering training content, learning and development programs, technical documentation, online Help, knowledge bases, and more. From authoring, publishing and translation, to cloud-based project and content management, to contribution and review in the cloud, you can streamline content delivery and manage the entire content development lifecycle with MadCap Software. MadCap Software’s services include product training, consulting services, translation and localization, and an advanced developer certification program. Headquartered in San Diego, California, with offices in Austin, TX, MadCap Software is home to some of the most experienced software architects and product experts in the content development industry.


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