One of the ways Flare supports team collaboration is that you can create mappings to external resources.
The External Resources window pane lets you select and maintain groups of external files that you want to share among Flare projects. The paths of these files are written to the registry so they will be available for all your Flare projects.
External resources can be virtually any local or network files that you have access to (e.g., images, PDF files, Flare project files). From the External Resources window pane, you can easily bring external files into a project (i.e., a copy of the file is added to your Flare project) and keep them synchronized with the source files through mappings.
The external resources feature is ideal for shared files that you expect to change over time (e.g., logo images, PDFs, stylesheets), as opposed to, say, a template file that is simply copied into your project and changed only in that project.
Let's say you have a PDF containing employee contact information, and the master copy of this PDF resides somewhere on a network drive. You need to include this PDF in one of your Flare projects and link to it from a table of contents (TOC). But the PDF changes periodically, and you need to make sure you always have the latest data.
Perhaps the easiest way to accomplish this is to first add the folder containing the PDF to your External Resources window pane.
Next, you can right-click on the file and bring a copy of it into the Flare project you have open.
Now the copy of the PDF is in your project and you can include a link to it from a TOC.
A couple of months later, you need to generate new output from the project. So in the External Resources window pane you click the button to synchronize any changed files.
And now the project contains the latest changes to the PDF file.
Following are the primary steps that you will perform when it comes to external resources.
- Add Folders to External Resources Window Pane You can browse and select folders containing files that you want to share among Flare projects. When you bring folders into the External Resources window pane, this does not mean that they are automatically part of your Flare project; it simply means that they are available to become part of a project and to be synchronized with the source files residing elsewhere.
See Adding Folders to External Resources.
- Copy and Map Files After you add folders to the External Resources window pane, you can copy any of the files to your project, mapping them to the source files at the same time.
See Copying and Mapping External Resource Files.
- Manage Mappings When you work with external resource files, you should create mappings (connections) between the copies of external files that you bring into your project and the source files outside of the project. You can do this at the point that you copy those files into your project. You can also manage these mappings whenever necessary through the Map Files and Folders dialog. This involves the ability to create, change, or remove mappings.
See Managing Mappings of External Resource Files.
- Open and Edit Files You can open an external resource file by simply double-clicking it in Flare. However, keep in mind that if you do this from the External Resources window pane, you are opening the actual source file existing outside of your project. On the other hand, if you double-click the file from the Content Explorer, you are opening the copy of the external file. If you attempt to open a file type not supported in Flare, you will be directed to open the file in its default application.
See Opening External Resource Files.
Synchronize Files After you map project files to source files located elsewhere, you can synchronize them to ensure that each file contains the same content. This process allows you to import content from external files, export content from mapped files in the project, or keep the most recently modified content.
See Synchronizing External Resource Files.If you attempt to synchronize files and Flare detects a conflict (i.e., a mapped file has been modified both locally and in its mapped location), a dialog opens so that you can take the appropriate action. See Merging Mapped Files.