Operation Cleanup: CSS refactoring for InfoDevs


Hey, fellow writers who work in MadCap Flare! Have you ever opened your CSS style sheet in a text editor and checked if it contains conflicting entries, style duplicates, or empty style definitions? Maybe there are unnecessary repetitions of a property assigned to child elements, but this property is already assigned to a parent element? (I had this problem with fonts and colors).

Being unsure of what is going on with your CSS, you might be surprised to find that, for example, after you changed one property, half of your document inexplicably changed its color or indentation level. And there you are wasting time trying to apply a quick fix that most probably breaks something else. It is only then that you finally realize that the CSS refactoring time has come.

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Book review: Logic made easy. How to know when language deceives you?


Logical thinking is high on the list of qualities expected from any Information Developer. But what exactly is “being logical”? If my writing is seemingly clear and makes sense to anyone who reviewed it, am I thinking logically? My layman’s definition of “logical” used to be “making sense”, but recently the book Logic made easy has come my way and added a lot to my understanding.

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MFUG April 2016 – Using Flexbox with Madcap Flare

Melbourne Flare User Group

Using Flexbox with Madcap Flare

Last week, Tom Marshall demonstrated an incredibly simple yet effective way of using Flexbox with Madcap Flare projects. Madcap Flare currently supports the Zurb Foundation Grid for creating responsive output, but you can use Flexbox independently of the Foundation Grid.

Flexbox stands for flexible box layout, a set of positioning elements in CSS3.

Here are some of the advantages of using Flexbox over grids:

  • Easier to implement
  • Simpler to use
  • Clean, easy CSS

Tom also pointed out some of the shortcomings of Flexbox:

  • It doesn’t work with Flare user interface as is, lots of CSS, but all your Flexbox code will work in your HTML5 output
  • It doesn’t work for PDF, so it is an online only solution

Using his Madcap certification project as a Work in Progress site (http://www.atomdocs.com/flare/thailand/Content/home.htm), he demonstrated how he has been using Flexbox to create boxes he can manipulate easily.

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Chatbots are coming. Why should InfoDevs care?


From today’s perspective, the chatbots advancement and popularity may not be as revolutionary as expected by the enthusiasts a few years back. Anyway, the number of bots on various platforms has grown to such an extent that we can now speak of chatbots as a new way of user assistance that Information Developers should be aware of.

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Color theory: the mystery unveiled


Today I want to share with you a brilliant post covering all the basics that an Information Developer should know about how colors work, brought to you by Dave Gash, a Technical Writer at Google.

In a nutshell, it’s a great read—both fun and educational—that explains how colors work. It’s all there – physics, optics, additive and subtractive color systems, hexadecimal arithmetic (!) and, most importantly, demonstration of how it all works together in real life (I mean, in a real-life CSS).

Believe it or not, CSS color codes really are intuitive. You’ll be surprised to see how obvious it is that “#000000 can’t be anything but black“, and “#ff0000 cannot possibly be anything but bright red“. On top of that, there’s a quiz, real-life CSS examples, and links to useful resources and tools, which all adds immensely to the post’s educational value.

Thanks to the author…

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What You Should Know as a Technical Communicator: Soft Skills

Heroic Technical Writing: Advice and Insights on the Business of Technical Communication


While I was still in school, some of my grad school peers  were more concerned about getting the content right than anything else. Being a tech/space geek, I wasn’t worried about that as much. The big challenge for me–introverted, opinionated, authority-averse–was dealing with people. In short, while being able to learn how to get your technical content correct and written well is important, those will probably be the easiest part of your job.

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How to Recognize a Bad Blog Entry

Heroic Technical Writing: Advice and Insights on the Business of Technical Communication

Around 11 p.m. on Tuesday night, I realized that the entry I was planning to post for this morning was pretty awful. Out of my desire to add value and because of my respect for you, my audience, I got up early this morning to scrap that entry to write about the above-cited topic instead. You’re welcome.

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