Summary – Goodbye Tripane, Hello frameless top navigation

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Presented by: Paul Stoecklein

We recently moved to Flare v11 at my workplace and one of the first things I immediately liked was it’s ability to produce frameless outputs, that allows systems such as SharePoint to index content for search capabilities. This feature alone makes it worth the upgrade, in my opinion.

Paul’s demonstration was very timely in understanding how easy it is to convert existing “tripane” outputs in to a more modern and fresh looking “top-navigation” one.
Madcap Flare is not about creating online help or user guides, it’s about creating information.

Why is it a big deal?
a. No more tripane
b. Frameless and flattened – Better for SEO and search
c. Flexible

One could argue how the traditional idea of a TOC and an index fit into the top-navigation concept. What about the index? Who cares anymore? When was the last time someone used (in an online sense) an index to search for something? Top-nav focuses on the main thing – content, which makes searching easy.
This tied in nicely with Daniel’s session on Day 1 about Supercharging Search.

In his demonstration, Paul described the key 4 elements and shared some quick tips on converting online outputs to the “top-nav” format:
a. Top navigation skin (or skinless)
Menus are fed in from TOC, so have an appropriate level of information in the TOC. The Top nav skin is always responsive. You can control the TOC depth as menus in top nav.
b. Proxies
Search bar, menu and search results proxies are new in V11 of Flare.
You can add proxies to master page. There is also a context sensitive option for the menu proxy.
c. Skin components
If you do not want to use all of the “Top-Nav” skin, you can use one or more of the individual components: Menu, Search Bar, Search Results or Topic Toolbar.
As Paul mentioned, a skin and a proxy is only going to get you so far! You still need good CSS to style your output in its entirety.
d. CSS
Use divs to position your proxies, menus etc. Using HTML5, you can now embed videos in Flare v11.

Paul then proceeded to walk us through the process of converting content from the tripane to the top-nav format, through a series of steps he followed with his project. Read more about his approach at: Advanced Conversion to Top Navigation Output

This was an immensely informative session. The new top-navigation feature brings a certain kind of completeness to Flare’s offerings. It was possible to do all of this by using CSS and bootstrapping Flare outputs before this, but by including this within Flare, the product has definitely added unique value to the outputs.

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