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Technical Expressions Uses Madcap Flare To Deliver Best-in-class Print And Online Documentation

Technical Communications Expert Relies on Flare to Provide Clients with Consistent, Future-Ready Documentation and Online Help—While Reducing Project Time and Cost

La Jolla, CA, USA – May 5, 2010 – 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 that Technical Expressions, Inc. has streamlined clients’ documentation projects using MadCap Flare. Using MadCap’s flagship technical communications software for multi-channel authoring, Technical Expressions is delivering highly consistent, best-in-class documentation while reducing project costs and time for clients. Flare has replaced RoboHelp® as the firm’s technical communications software of choice.

Since 1994, Technical Expressions has delivered online Help systems, websites, user guides, requirement and design specifications, policies and procedures manuals, training materials, and promotional products for a broad range of companies. For many years, this content was developed in Adobe RoboHelp, and the firm recommended the tool to its clients. However, the firm’s founder, Warren Clendining decided in 2007 that it was time to look at alternative solutions.

“I was a RoboHelp® user for many years, but the tool started to show its age,” Clendining recalled. “The proprietary software required a knowledge of many non-standard techniques, and I frequently had to create workarounds, particularly for content that would be published both in print and on the Web. Moreover product updates were slow in coming, and I needed an authoring tool that would let me move into the future.”

As Clendining began evaluating alternative technical communications software for his projects, he became aware of MadCap Flare. Key features that attracted him to Flare were its standards-based native XML architecture, capabilities for single-source multi-channel publishing, and support for reusable code through snippets and conditional tags. Those benefits outweighed the fact that Flare was then new to the market. Clendining decided to begin migrating his projects over to Flare 1.1.

“The conversion from RoboHelp® to Flare was seamless, and I was able to quickly take advantage of its features,” said Clendining. “MadCap has delivered a solid product that easily integrates with other tools. Though there was a learning curve with Flare and the different approach to authoring with XML, the cost savings and benefits have drastically outweighed other tools.”

Four years later, Technical Expressions has standardized on Flare 5.0, as have a growing number of the company’s clients. Clendining says, “Many of the organizations I work with have been using technical communications tools for years and were hesitant to make a change. That has begun to change with Flare 5.0; it’s a well-rounded product with a proven track record and clear staying power.”

Reusable Content Improves Project Quality and Efficiency

Support for reusable content has proven to be one of the greatest benefits of using Flare. For instance, one Technical Expressions client offers subscriptions to several Internet-based services. Although the services appear to be separate, they are actually based on a common platform and share many capabilities. Previously with RoboHelp, Clendining had to create different documentation packages for each service scenario, resulting in redundant content. Using Flare, Clendining now lets the Internet company assemble complete user guides that cover the specific group of services each subscriber has chosen, all tied together by a single table of contents.

“With Flare, we no longer have to produce multiple topics for the same service, which has allowed us to eliminate unnecessary costs and maintenance,” Clendining says.

Similarly, another company provides two versions of its Web-based services: one for external customers and one for the firm’s own employees. The ability to reuse content allowed the business to avoid maintaining two separate online Help systems. Instead, Clendining has been able to take the customer-facing WebHelp and add extra detail for employees. Depending on the user’s identity, the person will see either the customer or employee version of the WebHelp.

“My work has fewer errors because of Flare’s topic-based approach,” Clendining explains. “I can make a change to one topic, and that change is reflected throughout my project. It’s a more efficient, cost-effective and accurate process for developing this company’s online Help.”

Multi-Channel Output Addresses Multiple Users

While companies want to take advantage of Web-based delivery, not all of their users are ready to make the move from printed manuals. Flare, with its single-source multi-channel capabilities, helps them to bridge this gap. For example, one Technical Expressions client is in a regulatory business. Some of the hands-on customers are very comfortable accessing information online, but many managers and regulators want to have the manual in a printable PDF.

“With Flare, I have been able to create and manage a single set of documentation for this customer because the same content can be delivered online, in a PDF, or in a Word document,” Clendining said. “Even with all the rules and regulations that change and require strict compliance, I can quickly make the updates and ensure that everyone has access to the most up-to-date information, no matter how they prefer to receive it.”

In addition to running Technical Expressions, Clendining also offers technical writing training courses with Flare through the Continuing Education Department of Mount Royal University. There he uses Flare to educate a new generation of technical communications professionals on best practices.

“The documentation world is beginning to embrace newer publishing concepts like topic-based authoring and reusable content, and Flare is helping to make the transition,” Clendining noted. “Flare is the way of the future, and MadCap has proven that it’s not going away. Now is the time to make the move.”

“Through Technical Expressions and his Mount Royal University classes, Warren Clendining is helping lead the industry to adopt state-of-the-art technical communications practices,” said Anthony Olivier, MadCap co-founder and CEO. “We are excited by Warren’s success using Flare, and look forward to supporting his continued efforts to help his customers and students successfully navigate their way into the future of technical publishing.”

About Technical Expressions, Inc.

Founded in 1994, Technical Expressions Inc. provides a range technical communications services for businesses and government organizations. These services include the design, authoring and publishing of online Help systems, websites, user guides, requirement and design specifications, policies and procedures manuals, training materials, and promotional products. For more information, visit www.technical-expressions.com.

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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