Customising skin using the skin editor

This forum is for all Flare issues related to the DotNet Help target, and the Dot Net Viewer

Customising skin using the skin editor

Postby MC Hammer on Wed Sep 17, 2008 7:57 am

Hi everyone,
I am investigating the DotNet output and have been playing with the skin editor (removing one accordion - Favourites-, specifying colours for the accordions with gradients) without success.
Also how do I customise the toolbar at the top of every topic?
Can I also hide the Index Results pane at startup?
I have checked and my skin is associate with the target so my updates should work...
Any ideas?
Thanks,
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Re: Customising skin using the skin editor

Postby Richard Ferrell on Wed Sep 17, 2008 10:00 am

The SKin in Dot Net can not currently be customized, this should be addressed in a future version of Flare.
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Re: Customising skin using the skin editor

Postby MC Hammer on Wed Sep 17, 2008 11:43 pm

Thanks Richard (I assume it cannot be customised either in version 4 then).
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Re: Customising skin using the skin editor

Postby nsemple on Mon Jan 11, 2010 9:29 am

Does anyone know when it is anticipated that we will be able to customize the DotNet viewer?? I am using Version 5.1 and it still does not seem possible that you can do anything to the viewer, even something as small as customizing the buttons that appear on the toolbar.

I'm not sure the toolbar buttons are even working correctly. The QuickSearch field appears on the toolbar as a blank field. When you look at its skin properties, it is supposed to have the text "Quick search" in the field and a corresponding tooltip by default, but neither show up. Can't for the life of me figure out how to get it to function correctly because according to the default skin settings that come with Flare, these two things should be there. You also have the option to add a label to the field. Tried that...doesn't work.

From reading the forum postings regarding the DotNet viewer, sounds to me like folks have wanted the ability to customize the DotNet viewer and have been requesting enhancements to it for quite some time, to no avail.

Does MadCap have any future plans for this viewer, and if so, when will they be implemented...?
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Re: Customising skin using the skin editor

Postby LTinker68 on Mon Jan 11, 2010 10:27 am

MadCap (like most companies) prioritizes implementation of new features based on how many requests they get for them. Although a lot of people may have mentioned they'd like the capabilities on the forums, they may not have submitted a formal feature request at http://www.madcapsoftware.com/bugs/submit.aspx. This is a peer-to-peer forum, so MadCap personnel don't monitor it regularly, although the tech support guys check in periodically. In any case, the forums aren't a valid way for them to determine how much interest there is in a feature. So if you want the capability, make sure you submit a formal feature request, even if you know someone else has already submitted the same thing.

As to when the feature might be implemented, MadCap (also like many companies) doesn't generally post too far ahead of a release what will be in the release. So we probably won't find out until the beta or actual production release as to whether or not a feature has been added (or a bug fixed).
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Re: Customising skin using the skin editor

Postby RamonS on Mon Jan 11, 2010 10:31 am

I think in the end it is a chicken and egg problem, there aren't many users of DotNetHelp, mainly because it cannot be customized as much, but that means that spending time and effort on customization features targets only a small number of customers. Besides that, DotNetHelp needs a proprietary reader, works only on Windows, and needs a very specific platform (DotNet). While I agree that DotNetHelp needs work I also agree with the decision to focus on more promising features. Enhancing WebHelp helps out way more people and supporting more formats and platforms will likely reel in more customers. After all, even Microsoft recommends using CHMs for DotNet.
I wouldn't put my hopes to high for anything to change soon.
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Re: Customising skin using the skin editor

Postby nsemple on Mon Jan 11, 2010 11:11 am

Sorry, but the fact that they are on version 5 (!) of the product and you cannot remove the text "Madcap Flare V5" from the titlebar of the Help viewer window and replace it with your own product's Help name, you can't get rid of the link to the Madcap Help forum for technical writers from the Viewer's Help dropdown menu and you can't change the toolbar buttons that are on the viewer's toolbar, is really quite sad in my opinion.

It is not as if they are on the first or second version of the product.
It is not as if the enhancement requests would take months of development work.

This is simple stuff that should have been done a long time ago...
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Re: Customising skin using the skin editor

Postby RamonS on Mon Jan 11, 2010 11:20 am

I'm not disagreeing with you, but as with every software project there are limited resources and there is some form of decision process that determines what gets done today, what gets done next week, what would be nice to do in a year from now, and what doesn't get done at all. I think they should have never released it like that, but I also think they shouldn't have banked entirely on DotNet for all their products.
The only advice I can give is to file a bug report and if you really feel strongly about it write them a letter containing constructive criticism and proposals. In the end there isn't much more you can do.
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Re: Customising skin using the skin editor

Postby nsemple on Mon Jan 11, 2010 11:59 am

Already submitted a bug. Submitting bugs and enhancement requests is standard procedure. People know to do that and are fully aware of the politics that goes on at companies when decisions are made about what bugs to fix.

People come to the forums in the hopes that someone has a workaround to issues/bugs, has already encountered an issue we are experiencing now and may know if it is officially a bug or if there is some other way to do what we want to do, can point us in a direction based on their past knowledge, or is aware of information that we don't have, and so on.

Thanks for your time...
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Re: Customising skin using the skin editor

Postby RamonS on Mon Jan 11, 2010 1:35 pm

Sorry that reading my posts were not helpful, but I do know how a forum works. Good luck finding a solution.
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Re: Customising skin using the skin editor

Postby alex on Thu Jan 21, 2010 6:14 am

I wrote to MadCap yesterday about the .net issues and received an encouraging response just a few hours later.

Changes are coming :)
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Re: Customising skin using the skin editor

Postby nsemple on Thu Jan 21, 2010 7:12 am

Thanks for the info Alex. We are facing a major crossroads at our company regarding Help.

If Madcap can fix the issues with customizing the DotNet Help viewer soon, we would be very happy.

..We'd be thrilled if they provide us with an output option for the DotNet Help viewer to distribute a single compiled Help project to customers in addition to the current WebHelp directory structure output they now have.

I'm keeping my fingers crossed...
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