Because some people don't want or need online docs. For example, one of my
former clients was a cash register manufacturer. You can buy their products
for about $100. There is no concept of online help for these products, as
they don't come with a computer. I delivered a PDF of the manual and they
sent that to the printer. They delivered a printed book with the product.

Why should these people purchase a tool that does way more than they need?
Flare 4 is too much for them.

I don't wish to get into the DITA discussion because that's very far afield
from the discussion of the Blaze beta at this moment. If you are currently
doing DITA and you're happy with your tools, then good on you. MadCap will
support DITA in the future. That's all I wish to publicly disclose about our
plans for DITA at this time.

Team Server is being developed right now. I would expect it by the end of
the year. Because we want to know what you want in a product like this, and
because we are developing it right now, now would be the time to talk to us
about what you want in a workflow management tool. We want to build what you
are looking for in this sort of tool. We have ideas but you all know your
workflow needs.

I never said that topic-based authoring is a new concept. But it is a shift
from how most people think about docs. Thus, a discussion of this
development method is relevant. For lots of good info, see JoAnn Hackos's
newest book. She really explains it in detail.

And, yes, our UI is very different. Some people love it, some don't.


Sharon Burton

-----Original Message-----
From: Bill Swallow []
Sent: Thursday, March 20, 2008 8:26 AM
To: sharon at
Cc: Frame Users; Sharon Work
Subject: Re: MadCap Blaze

>  Some clarifications: Blaze is the younger sister of Flare 4. If you need
>  complex print and online docs, then you want Flare 4. If you only need
>  printed output, then you want Blaze. Everything that's in Blaze will be
>  Flare 4.

I really don't understand this, I'm not trying to be difficult... But
if Flare does everything that Blaze does and more, and Flare's been
out for years, why develop Blaze at all? I guess I don't see the point
of spending the time, energy, and money to develop a brand new product
that does a subset of what another of your products already does.

>  One of the biggest differences in Blaze - and really, Flare - is that you
>  are not authoring long documents, but rather you're authoring topics.
>  using Outlines, you put together the topics into the deliverables; for
>  example, a User's Guide and an Admin Guide.

The classic authoring model for FrameMaker is indeed long document
authoring, but it's not so with DITA.

>  There's nothing to prevent you from authoring just like you do in Word of
>  Frame in that you can open a new topic in Blaze and then write a 200 page
>  document in one topic. But by doing that, you lose the power of
>  content development that easily allows content reuse across multiple
>  deliverables for one or more projects.

Well, agreed. That would be just silly. For the record, I've done
topic-based authoring in FrameMaker years ago. It's all about how you
approach your content structure. I needed to leverage topics in
different documents in different ways, so I just created a new
document for every portable topic. I don't think topic based content
authoring is a revolutionary concept.

>  I strongly urge you to attend one of my online demos to learn more about
>  paradigm shift for Blaze.

I don't see a paradigm shift at all, but the UI is way different than
what non-Flare users would be accustomed to. But paradigm shift, no.
Topic based authoring is not a new concept.

>  As to DITA or CMS,
>  check out our just announced product Team Server. It's a workflow
>  tool that's amazing. We have ideas about what it should do but we want
>  input about what you need that tool to do.

I'm confused. Is it a product or is it an idea for a product?

>  I'm delighted to answer questions about Blaze or any of our products. If
>  could send those questions to my MadCap email, that would help me a lot.
>  sburton at, please.

I'll keep my questions on the list since that's where they originated.

Bill Swallow
HATT List Owner
WWP-Users List Owner
Senior Member STC, TechValley Chapter
STC Single-Sourcing SIG Manager

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