Beta, beta, everywhere

Last week was busy for a lot of reasons, not the least of which was 3 products being released into beta.

Blaze Early Experience Refresh

I want to thank the people who have beat up Blaze so far. We really appreciate the efforts. We’re releasing a refresh to the Early Experience. When you download the refresh, uninstall any previous version you may have and reboot before you install.

If you haven’t looked at Blaze, sign up to participate in the public Early Experience. Go to our website at http://www.madcapsoftware.com/products/blaze/ and sign up. We’re offering great prizes to those who find the most verified issues, such as gift certificates to Amazon. If this product is going to do what you want it to do, then we need you to help us know what that is. So go forth, download, and work with it.

X-Edit beta

X-Edit allows anyone to contribute content into your Flare or Blaze workflow. Now the everyday content contributor can open your Flare or Blaze topic templates and start creating content. This allows “casual contributors” to create short documents and add content using the correct styles and other project formatting options.

X-Edit Express beta

X-Edit Express is the free tool for reviewing content sent to you from a Flare or Blaze project. Using X-Edit Express, you can easily open topics created by the Flare or Blaze user. Depending on the options set by the Flare or Blaze user, you can annotate the topic or edit it. When you’re done, just email the topic back to the Flare or Blaze user to get your comments into the project. 

Go to http://www.madcapsoftware.com/products/xedit/ to sign up and download one or more of these products.

Why do you care? Workflow. Better workflow = more time for content development, that’s why

These products support and improve your workflow. It goes like this:

X-Edit helps when you have a workflow where people are contributing content. I did a project once where I took the HR content that other people developed and put it into a help project. The people writing the content knew nothing about the tool I was using and I knew nothing about their HR policies. This is a common workflow.

X-Edit lets these people just write content that they send to you. You just add their content to your project, do what indexing, etc you need to, and you’re good to go. No converting from Word, no dealing with everything in Normal and hand formatted. Just easy to import content.

X-Edit Express is used in review time. Send a topic for review inside Blaze or Flare 4. The reviewer downloads the free X-Edit Express, opens the topic and makes the level of changes you allowed – either annotations or directly edit actual content. One click sends it back to you when they are done.

X-Edit: Creating templates for your X-Edit users

If you want, in Blaze or Flare 4, you can define a template for your X-Edit users. This is really useful because it limits how and what formats your users can use. No more wacky formatting. They can still hand format stuff, but this should reduce that, hopefully.

When you create the template, you can also specify what items are locked in the template. Why would you want to do that? Well, in our HR example, say all documents must have certain sections. You can add a locked heading for each and the users can’t delete it.


The headings with the gray background are locked. The users can’t delete or change the text in them. The narrative text under each heading can be deleted and new text added. Locking headings means that you may spend less time chasing people down, reminding them that these kinds of documents need that sort of information. It’s right in the document.

Templates can be stored on a network drive somewhere with a name that reflects what they are for. Then tell your users to go there and get the template for the kind of document they want to write.

Easy pleasey.

 

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