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MadCap Software Debuts Web 2.0-Enabled On-demand Feedback Service, Releases Flare 3.0

New MadCap Feedback Service Revolutionizes Interactive Online Help; MadCap Flare 3.0 Extends Leadership With Version Control, Advanced Search, Expanded FrameMaker® Support

San Diego, CA, USA – July 12, 2007 — MadCap Software, the leader in multi-channel content authoring and a Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT) Visual Studio 2005 showcase company, today announced the debut of the Web 2.0-enabled MadCap Feedback Service in conjunction with the launch of MadCap Flare 3.0. MadCap’s newest offerings open the door to unprecedented levels of collaboration among content development teams and the readers of their documentation. Through state-of-the-art Web 2.0 communications, end users can now become an extension of the documentation team itself.

The new MadCap Feedback Service is the Help content industry’s first hosted on-demand solution for gaining reader insight and input. It revolutionizes how enterprises get live user feedback on documentation, for both Web-based and desktop Help. Incorporating cutting-edge Web 2.0 community capabilities, MadCap Feedback allows readers to add their own comments to Help content. Additionally, the new Feedback Explorer, which is available both as part of the Flare interface and as a standalone application, lets content developers view and track all reader activity through a user friendly interface. Now documentation professionals can easily gain insight into what readers are looking for—and whether they can find it.

“We founded MadCap two years ago to redefine the content authoring experience through a new generation of software optimized for the Web and designed for the multi-channel, multi-language requirements of today’s global enterprises,” said Anthony Olivier, MadCap CEO. “With our MadCap Feedback Service, we’ve set a new milestone for collaboration and understanding end-users’ needs. Through our new Feedback Service, we’re also delivering the industry’s first hosted, on-demand solution for tracking and analyzing how readers use their Help content.”

MadCap Flare 3.0 is the newest version of the industry’s only native-XML content authoring software to enable single-source publishing across multiple channels from multiple products. New features in Version 3.0 include integration with popular source control solutions to manage project versions, expanded import and support capabilities for Adobe® FrameMaker®, runtime merging of multiple projects, and advanced search capabilities through a new online format, WebHelp Plus. The newest version builds on the popular features of Flare, which allow users to create context-based content without programming; translate content into multiple languages via Unicode without requiring workarounds; and easily import/export content into multiple formats, supported by the most extensive format integration in the industry.

“We make a priority of staying close to the rapidly expanding community of documentation professionals who are making Flare their Help content authoring solution of choice,” said Bjorn Backlund MadCap CTO. “With Flare 3.0, we’ve taken our popular FrameMaker® support, already unmatched by any other solution on the market, and added deeper integration for a seamless experience. And now with integration to the most widely used source control packages, Flare 3.0 simplifies management of project versions to facilitate collaboration among the growing teams of authors taking advantage of Flare.”

MadCap Feedback Service Features

The Feedback Service is the Help content industry’s first hosted on-demand solution for gaining reader insight and input. By freeing documentation professionals from the technical requirements of implementing the solution internally, it allows them to get up and running quickly without the cost overhead of supporting hardware and networking. MadCap Software hosts all of the feedback data for the author, including the reports. However, users are free to publish their output anywhere; it can even be attached to a software application. There is no impact on the actual Help projects, since these remain in the customer’s possession at all times.

The new on-demand MadCap Feedback Service provides many Web 2.0 capabilities, including the following:

  • Community-wide comments. Readers can add their own comments to existing documentation and reply to comments of other users.
  • Topic ratings. Readers can rank the quality of topics and content, facilitating a dialog between content creators and their readers.
  • Feedback Explorer. This is the key to viewing user activity. Available both within the Flare interface and as a separate application, the Feedback Explorer allows content authors to view and track all reader activity via a user friendly interface.
  • Search terms. Using the Feedback Explorer, authors can view search keywords entered by users. This helps to answer such questions as, “What are they looking for? What are they finding? What are they not finding?”
  • Synonym support. Content authors can add synonyms to synchronize search phases, increasing the chances that readers will find the information they are seeking.
  • Charts. By transferring user statistics to configurable, multi-color, multi-shape feedback charts, authors can analyze and report on readers’ usage trends.
  • Web and desktop support. Significantly, the Feedback Service, not only tracks reader activity on Web-based Help, but also on desktop Help, such as HTML Help and DotNetHelp. This allows a wider base of Help authors to take advantage of MadCap Feedback and benefit from thorough insight into usage patterns and requirements.

Flare 3.0 Features

MadCap Flare 3.0 is the newest release of the first native XML content authoring application designed for the single-source, multi-channel publishing demands enterprises face today. Bridging the gap between highly technical documentation tools and popular, intuitive applications like Microsoft Word, Flare serves the needs of documentation professionals and the growing number of business content owners, who are becoming content authors. Flare 3.0 offers new levels of integration to improve collaboration and content delivery, as well as new functionality to facilitate content authoring:

Source control integration. Flare 3.0 directly integrates with Microsoft Visual Source Safe and Microsoft Team Foundation Server. It also provides integration with any other source control system that uses the Microsoft SCC API interface. It offers simple right-click access to the source control menu and a built-in instant messaging client for rapid communication. Users can view the version history and roll back to earlier versions.

Enhanced functions with WebHelp Plus. In addition to providing faster server-side searches, the new WebHelp Plus output format in Flare 3.0 allows users to search for non-XHTML content, such as Microsoft Word documents and PDF files. Flare automatically merges projects at runtime without any in-project work. This includes auto-merged search functionality, tables of contents, browse sequences, and glossaries.

Advanced FrameMaker® import and support. Flare 3.0 extends its support for Adobe® FrameMaker® input and output with four new features. Pass-through marker support allows users to pass raw data from FrameMaker® to Flare® without any processing or modification. Other support includes FrameMaker’s drop-down menus, TopicAlias markers, Hypertext markers, and Jump-to-Named-Destination support.

Enhanced style support. Flare 3.0 builds on the modern look-and-feel of its output by providing expanded table print styles for more control when publishing to Word, FrameMaker®, or PDF; an optional basic style editor to help new users get started; search highlight style support, which lets users customize their search highlight colors; and the ability to import other styles.

Flare 3.0 also offers the superior functionality that has driven rapid adoption of earlier Flare versions. Flare’s patent-pending visual XML editor provides full access to the underlying XML structure of documents in a comfortable visual authoring environment; no programming is required. Optimized for single-source, multi-channel publishing, Flare includes all of the transforms necessary to generate documentation for Web, intranet, print, or software desktop needs in a range of outputs, including Microsoft Vista Windows, DotNet Help for .Net applications, WebHelp and WebHelp Plus, Microsoft HTML Help, Word, FrameMaker®, PDF, DOCX, and XPS. Legacy content integration lets users import content authored in Word, FrameMaker®, and HTML Help projects. Through full support for Unicode, Flare enables the creation and easy translation of different languages, both single-byte and double-byte. Flare also provides four language interfaces—English, French, German and Japanese—all on the same product.

Flare 3.0 is part of MadPak, the industry’s first true single-source suite for multi-channel publishing. Other MadPak solutions include MadCap Capture for screen capture and graphics editing, MadCap Mimic for creating software simulation movies, and MadCap Echo for Web 2.0 audio functions. Mimic, Echo, and Capture all can be launched from within the Flare interface. Additionally, through linked variables, changes in Flare can be changed automatically in Flare content, Mimic movies, and Capture images.

Pricing and Availability

Pricing for Flare 3.0 is $899 per license. The MadPak bundled suite featuring Flare 3.0, MadCap Capture, MadCap Mimic, and MadCap Echo is priced at $1,416 per license. Version 3.0 upgrades for current Flare users are available for $499. The MadCap Feedback Service is offered in increments of 3, 6, or 12 months, with prices starting at $400 for a 3-month subscription. All products and services are available today.

MadCap’s solutions are backed by a range of service and support options, delivered by MadCap’s US-based team of Help content and technical documentation experts. Fees for support start at $449 per year.

Flare 3.0 and the MadCap Feedback Service are core components of MadCap Software’s vision of an integrated “dream suite” of native XML, multi-channel content authoring software designed specifically for creating and publishing content—in print, across the Web, and around the world in local languages. Other components include MadCap Capture, Mimic, and Echo. In 2H 2007, MadCap will add three more products: MadCap Feedback Server, a non-hosted version of MadCap Feedback, MadCap Lingo (an authoring tool for translation professionals), and MadCap Blaze (an alternative to Adobe® FrameMaker® for producing long printed documents).

About MadCap Software

MadCap Software is a trusted resource for thousands of 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 content management system, 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.

MadCap Software, the MadCap Software logo, and MadCap Flare, are trademarks or registered trademarks of MadCap Software, Inc., in the United States and/or other countries.