This is a presentation I gave at MadWorld 2019 in San Diego. Here is the slide deck from the presentation:
This presentation was given as an advanced workshop at MadWorld 2019 in San Diego.
You can download the project files and PowerPoint slide deck at the following URLs:
This is a presentation I gave at MadWorld 2019 in San Diego. Most of the presentation was a live demonstration, but for reference, here are the slides:
On Tuesday at 2:50pm (Track 4), I’ll be presenting at the MadCap MadWorld conference in San Diego California.
What do you do when things go wrong? Things inevitably go wrong, and you are going to need to figure out how to fix them. Instead of calling Support, what can you do first to figure out where the problem is so you can fix it? In this session, join professional MadCap Flare consultant Paul Pehrson to talk through tools you can use and strategies you can follow to figure out where your problems are, which should help you figure out how to fix them. We’ll discuss troubleshooting style issues, project build failures, and other problems based on real-world scenarios Paul has encountered when working with his own projects and the projects of his clients.
Here is a copy of the slide presentation:
On Monday at 11:30am (Track 1), I’ll be presenting at the MadWorld conference in San Diego. The presentation is on setting up context-sensitive help in a MadCap Flare project.
Here is a URL to the SlideShare with the latest version of the PowerPoint:
Here is a project you can download to see what we worked on in the session:
On Wednesday at the MadWorld conference, I join forces with the indomitable Daniel Ferguson for a presentation on advanced TopNav output.
In case you missed it, MadCap Software announced that due to the success of the annual MadWorld conference in San Diego, they are adding a new conference in Europe, MadWorld Europe.
The conference is scheduled for September 11 to 14, and will be held in Prague, Czechia.
If you are interested in presenting at MadWorld Europe, a Call for Papers is open until Jan 23rd.
Read more about it on MadCap’s blog:
See that person in the picture? That is me. That is me looking at MadWorld 2017, from outside the fence looking in.
I’m devastated to report that I have had to withdraw from presenting at and attending MadWorld 2017. Most of my loyal readers probably already know that I do MadCap consulting and training on the side because I love working in Flare, and I love helping people catch my vision of how Flare can really improve a help author’s writing experience. But, as I said, I do it on the side. It is not my full-time job.
In my full-time job I’m a senior information developer for Venafi, the world-leading provider of software to protect large organizations by helping them manage their keys and certificates.
After I had been accepted to present at MadWorld 2017, I had a professional commitment come up where I need to travel to eastern Europe to meet with one of the product teams I work with. The week we are doing product planning in Europe is the same week as MadWorld.
So for the first time since the first MadWorld conference in 2013, I won’t be participating. I am pleased to let you know that a colleague and dear friend, Derek Warren, has graciously stepped in to present my sessions. Derek has previously presented at MadWorld, and he’s been using Flare for many years. I think he is especially well suited to take over these specific presentations. He will be presenting tips and tricks for things you can do to enhance your authoring experience in Flare. He’ll also be talking about tips and tricks for working with multiple authors in Flare. Derek currently manages a team of four writers (including me), who are not all located in the same state. In his session, he’ll share some great insights about how to make the multi-author experience as friction-less as possible.
Finally, Derek will be collaborating with another of my dear friends, Daniel Ferguson for a two-hour workshop on customizing TopNav output. The three of us are meeting next week to plan that workshop, and I think you are going to really like it. (They are even letting me come to the planning meeting, even though I don’t get to attend the conference anymore. Thanks guys!)
So, I’m really disappointed that this mandatory work trip is happening the same week as MadWorld. For many years now, MadWorld has been a highlight of my year. I love meeting so many of you in person. I love learning from–and with–you, and I will miss you all very much. However, I’m confident you will be in good hands.
I’d also like to publicly thank and acknowledge how awesome the MadWorld conference committee has been, especially with my late-breaking change in schedule. As always, the people at MadCap are top-notch professionals.
Those of you lucky enough to attend MadWorld are in for another excellent conference. I’ve said for four years now that MadWorld is the best conference in the information development/technical writing community. It has an amazing balance of knowledge sharing, professional development, fun, good food, and entertainment that I’ve never seen duplicated. I will miss you, even more than you’ll miss me!
But I can tell you this, 2018 is my year. I’ll be back!
There is a reason I’ve said in the past that MadCap has the best user conference I’ve ever been to. The MadCap team puts their heart and soul into making the conference informative, interesting, engaging, and fun. Such was the case again this year at MadWorld 2016.
San Diego is a wonderful place for a conference. Even when the weather is “bad” by their standards, those of us who travel from the north think the weather is wonderful. Case in point, the day I arrived, my Uber driver could tell I was not from Southern California because I was unashamedly wearing shorts in 70 degree (Fahrenheit) weather, with a chance of afternoon showers.
This year, the conference was held at the San Diego Hilton Resort and Spa. This is the third venue for MadWorld. The first two years were downtown in the Gas Lamp District at the Hard Rock Hotel. Last year, we were housed at the Catamaran hotel. Each location has had its pros and cons. The Hard Rock is in the middle of everything, and you can easily go anywhere. Both years we were there during a baseball game, which was within walking distance of the hotel. Last year the Catamaran was on the beach of the bay, and within short walking distance of the beaches on the Pacific Ocean. Transportation options were more limited at the Catamaran, being a long ways from the Trolley or other mass transit options, but the view was spectacular. The San Diego Hilton Resort and Spa is on the opposite side of the bay, backing I-5, so it was easy to get to. We took several Uber trips to area attractions including Old Town and Little Italy, and the trips were typically only 5 to 8 dollars. The hotel has an exclusive feel to it, and had a beautiful pool with hot tubs, and easy access to the beach. My only complaint about the Hilton is that there weren’t any restaurants within walking distance of the hotel, so if you didn’t want to eat in the hotel restaurant, you had to hire a ride.
As always, the conference featured full breakfast and lunch meals all days of the conference. The food was good, if a bit repetitive (breakfast, at least). If you are from further inland and north, like me, you can’t help but love the freshness and ripeness of the fresh fruit. Each evening, MadCap hosted a mixer event with free food (typically billed as appetizers in the program, but I found the variety and quantity of foods to be quite satisfying), with free drinks.
Monday morning’s keynote presentation was given by MadCap CEO Anthony Olivier with help from VP of Product Evangelism. Together they announced a new MadCap product called MadCap Central. This was the first MadCap had publicly discussed this product, and it looks like it will be interesting. It is a cloud-based tool that will feature project management and source code management. It looks like it will allow you to create roles in your organization, and then control access to edit or publish content depending on a user’s role. This was an early announcement of Central, and we didn’t get to see a live demo yet. I believe MadCap stated that Central will be available later this year. I’m sure we’ll be hearing more about this from MadCap in the coming months, and I hope that even before then I’ll be able to interview somebody from MadCap to give you more information.
One Tuesday one of the presenters learned his father had passed away, and he had to leave the conference early (our thoughts and prayers are with you, Justin and your family). In other sessions, I gave an introduction to web scripting with information on how to incorporate jQuery plugins in your Flare content. Scott DeLoach followed that session with an in-depth discussion on how MadCap uses jQuery, and gave several jQuery libraries that you can include in your Flare projects to extend your existing HTML output. He had some great examples of things you can do including search auto-complete, and a plugin to turn a page into a PDF document.
Wednesday was an additional day of conference for those who purchased the Advanced Workshop. I gave the first presentation of the day on source control, and I have to admit, it was not one of my better presentations. I had been using one cloud-hosted source control provider until about a week before the conference, when I realized there was an integration issue with Flare 12, so at the last minute, I switched to a different source control provider, and there were hiccups in the process. I was grateful that the estimable Daniel Ferguson from SmartOutput (formerly Write Degree Communications) conceded to come up and help me on stage, as he was the one who introduced me to my new cloud provider. I hope we didn’t make source control look harder than it is, but I’m not sure. (It GITs better! — Sorry, bad pun.)
Finally, Thomas Bro Rasmussen announced at the conference the launch of pluqin.com (yes, that is a Q, not a G), a site where he will be selling plugins for MadCap Flare. The first plugin is still in pre-release but it looks absolutely amazing. It is called Style Replacer, and it has some phenomenal features. It will read your CSS file content, and then it will allow you to change all instances of one tag to another. It considers classes, and can even completely unbind all classes of a certain type.
Consider the following: If you have a paragraph style that you are using as intro text to a procedure, you might have code like this:
<p class=”ProcedureIntro”>Adding widget to the system</p>
If you wanted to change all of those, across your entire project to the H2 tag, you’d have a LOT of manual work, if you don’t know how to do regular expression searches. While you could easily search for all the <p class=”ProcedureIntro”> tags and convert them to <h2>, you would have a bunch of broken topics, because you can’t easily search for the correct </p> tag to convert it into a </h2> tag.
With Style Replacer, you can do this across your project very easily. It works on images, list styles, div tags, span tags, and more.
Best of all, Thomas promised that all plugins on his site will only be $30 USD. The time saved by using this plugin on a large find-and-replace project could pay for itself several times over the first time you used it. He says he has lots of other interesting ideas in the pipeline, so be sure to check his site for updates.
MadWorld was another huge success, in my opinion. MadCap does a great job of putting together quality sessions, a great atmosphere, good food, and a fun time. The conference is a great value. Whether you were there this year or not, you should make plans now to attend next year. It is a wonderful mix of “our people” that I have never seen replicated at any other event.
The 2016 MadWorld Conference is now in the history books, and I’ve been asked to provide my content from my presentations here on my blog. I’ve created a page where you can view all the shared content from my presentations.
This year I was asked to participate in the Lightning Talk session. To be honest, I had a hard time narrowing down my topic until the last minute, so I didn’t have any slides prepared for that session. Instead, however, I’ve taken my topic–Using Browser Tools to Understand Your CSS–and I’ve turned it into a short YouTube video (you can see it at the end of the post).
I’ll write up a conference wrap-up post a bit later, but I wanted to get my slides and other content out there for you as soon as possible.
Here’s my lightning talk.