RoboHelp vs. MadCap Flare vs. Conflunce - how they play with Snagit/Camtasia

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If a company was using Confluence for their knowledge base and looking at a way to take creating documentation out of Microsoft Word -> and into something using a single source, how would RoboHelp/MC Flare/COnlfuence above play with SnagIt/Camtasia. 

1) Can confluence play Camtasia-created videos with closed captioning
2) any thoughts on RoboHelp vs. MC Flare? RoboHelp content looks uglier, but it looks easier to use than MC Flare. (I think I remember Rick mentioning that MC Flare was created by Adobe RoboHelp that had a better idea. 

I get this isn't the most TS product-related question, but I think it's a Technical documentation/communication question on recommendations on the products above as they relate to TS products. 
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paulwilliamengle

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Posted 6 months ago

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george

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As one who migrated from Robohell to Flare, I for one can vouch for the fact that while Flare may not initially appear to be more complex, it is well worth getting to know.

We used it initially to produce Help for a software application which converts text into over 200 language braille codes in *.chm format. It was not long before we produced Word and PDF files of relevant section for targeted international distribution. Output is also easy to produce for publishing on the web. And lately versions for tablets and cell phones.
Using "Conditional Text", we can call up a batch file and generate all versions quickly and easily after any necessary changes.

Then along came a Mac version of the software, where the hardest job was actually producing the Mac specific screen shots. But that is where SnagIt came into its own.

Otherwise with over 90% of the text common to both Windows and Mac, little more to do.

There is also an excellent support network for MadCap Flare.


George
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paulwilliamengle

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Hi George, 

MadCap has a very strong marketing game, and, if their ad campaign of RH 2019 vs. MC Flare is to be believed, it looks like the stronger product. 

The time investment looks scary. 
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george

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You really need to be a Flare user to know that their marketing guys are not talking BS.
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Rick Stone

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Hi Paul

As for the "better idea" it's a bit more involved than that. Essentially what happened was that macromedia purchased eHelp corporation, then almost immediately laid off the entire RoboHelp team. Because RoboHelp was like THE number one help authoring tool out there, the laid off team banded together and formed their own company. Madcap software. Then Adobe bought macromedia and resurrected RoboHelp. As a result of that, the Madcap developers hated Adobe's guts because as you may imagine, this impacted sales of their Flare product.

So Flare and RoboHelp both do similar things. Just like Camtasia is similar to Sony Vegas. Both allow you to edit and produce videos. As for functionality, RoboHelp and Flare are very similar in what they do. However, here is where Flare may well have an advantage over RoboHelp. Adobe decided to completely re-write RoboHelp from the ground up. And despite being released about a year ago, it's STILL not "feature complete". Adobe is shipping updates to add in the functionality as they go. They still offer what is called "RoboHelp Classic", which IS actually feature complete and very mature and robust, but the new version isn't quite there yet. So this likely makes folks consider Flare.

I stand to be corrected on the Confluence software, but I believe it is what we call "Source Control" software. Think of this as you might a traffic cop as well as a librarian. It prevents conflicts when content is worked on. And it manages that traffic. This is handled by a "check in and check out" system. Just like a library, you "check out" files and edit them, then check them back in when you are finished. This also allows for reverting to earlier versions of what is stored there. Because it works with managing files, it could manage a Flare project or it could manage a RoboHelp project or it could even manage Camtasia projects.

As I understand it, Confluence is used to manage source files not output files. So I'm not sure if you would want to "play Camtasia created videos" using it. But I could be wrong. I know a bit more than the average bear about source control systems, having used them for a number of years with RoboHelp and other suchlike projects, but I would never claim to know all there is. 

Cheers... Rick :)
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cmcook

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"As I understand it, Confluence is used to manage source files not output files."

Actually, that is BitBucket by the same company. Jira is their ticketing system. They also have a software testing product. We use them all. Confluence is a wiki-like documentation system with some nice features if you are using it for an internal team, or with customers where you are unconcerned about customers "seeing" each other on the system.

I'm here because I'm sorting out what to use for a single-sourcing help system that supports a wiki-like site and CHM in-app context-sensitive help, and PDF and... comparing RoboHelp and MadCap Flare vs. HelpStudio.  We have HelpStudio but the upgrade is full price, so thus a re-eval of the market.
(Edited)
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Rick Stone

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I'd say it depends on what you are wanting to use.

For RoboHelp, Adobe is still in the process of adding features after the re-write of its code. So you can't consider it "feature complete" if you are thinking about using the new version. The older version is still shipped, but it's on life support.

As much as it pains me to say it, Madcap Flare is likely the better choice at this stage of the game. The product is fully featured and well developed. Actually, it was created by the former development team that worked on RoboHelp. (RoboHelp is now owned by Adobe and all development occurs in India)
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cmcook

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Another aspect that I'm struggling with is Flare is US$1799 perpetual (tool only) or US$269/month for the suite while RoboHelp can be had for US$360/year.  That's quite a difference.
(Edited)
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george

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I have to agree with Rick.  We moved to Madcap Flare from Robohelp way back, and have never regretted it.

It is true single-source, and I have to say that their support (from the USA of course) is extremely good.  Indeed I would rate very high by today’s standards.

I could write a long report on what we use it for, but suffice to say that we nightly compile a whole variety of output formats, from application’s Help files to internet from regular PC’s to cell phones. And in our business we even have to consider large print as well as bralle.

We also use almost 1,000 Snagit images of screen shots.

We do have an Annual Maintenance Contract, and speaking as a tight fisted Scotsman, I consider it worth every hard earned Cent.

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cmcook

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Thank you.