MadCap Software Launches MadCap Analyzer, First Software to Proactively Suggest Content Development Improvements

Published: 15 January, 2008
MadCap Software, the leader in multi-channel content authoring and a showcase company for Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT) Visual Studio 2005 and Microsoft XPS, today announced the debut of MadCap Analyzer, the first software to proactively suggest document development improvements. MadCap Analyzer also provides the most comprehensive project reporting in the technical documentation industry, delivering more than twice the functionality of any competing solution.

MadCap Analyzer works with MadCap Flare, the company's flagship native-XML authoring product, and MadCap Blaze, the native-XML alternative to Adobe FrameMaker for publishing long print documents, which will be generally available in early 2008. With Analyzer, documentation professionals can get an entire picture of their Flare or Blaze projects -- and fix most issues right in Analyzer. There's no need to flip between products or to print the list of problems and then search through a Flare or Blaze project. Analyzer's reporting of more than 50 issues is complemented by the industry's only customizable report functionality.

MadCap Analyzer is being announced today in conjunction with MadCap Lingo, an XML-based, fully integrated translation memory system and authoring tool, which eliminates the need for file transfers. Together, the products represent a significant milestone in MadCap's development of the industry's most complete product suite, delivering solutions for authoring, collaboration, analysis, and translation. Based on native XML and offering full Unicode support, MadCap's software uniquely addresses the documentation requirements of today's global, Internet-enabled economy.

"For too long, authors have had to manually review and correct their documentation. With so much detail to evaluate, at best it can take hundreds of hours to identify issues and make the necessary changes. Worst case, authors are literally overwhelmed, and they publish documents with errors and inconsistencies, or they miss important improvements," said Anthony Olivier, MadCap CEO. "MadCap Analyzer applies nearly two decades of best practices in documentation design to powerful reporting and analysis capabilities. For the first time, authors can immediately see what is and isn't working in their content and design, and they can implement improvements based on proven techniques. Manual content review and revisions that previously took hours can now be accomplished in minutes with a few clicks of the mouse."

Using MadCap Analyzer is easy. An author simply uses Analyzer to open a Flare or Blaze project. The author then immediately sees a list of issues and suggestions for the project. The author can fix the identified problems and make suggested changes.

"We have been MadCap Flare users since version 1.0 and have always liked its workflow. From start to finish, working with our templates through to the single-source output, Flare allows us to concentrate on content rather than the process. Now MadCap Analyzer takes it one step further," said Steve Salter, documentation specialist and trainer at Local Government System Inc. "We no longer need to worry about usability testing because Analyzer will examine our topics and suggest ways to take advantage of Flare's advanced single-source features. It also checks links and provides advanced reports. In fact, deploying Analyzer is like employing another member of our documentation team -- one that handles all the mundane checking without a single complaint!"

Analyzer suggestions can help improve content in several ways. One of the most important is suggesting where authors may want to replace content with snippets (reusable formatted content) or variables (reusable non-formatted content). For example, Analyzer reports on matching text (phrases or segments) that an author has written in many places, and if no snippet or variable exists, encourages the author to create a snippet for that matching content, greatly improving the project and simplifying future changes.

Similarly Analyzer can help authors to make better use of existing snippets. Sharon Burton, the MadCap product manager responsible for Analyzer explains, "Let's say that you have written a tip into a snippet because it is repeated in dozens of places throughout your project. Later, perhaps you write the same tip in new topic, forgetting that you have already created a snippet for it. This is where Analyzer comes in. Analyzer realizes that you created content that matches an existing snippet, so it suggests that you replace the new text with that snippet. This feature -- unique to Analyzer -- allows you to take full advantage of Flare's single-sourcing capabilities, reduce localization costs, and maintain your project consistency."