In Flare you can determine what kind and how many types of output you want to provide for your end users. This can involve different tasks, depending on what you want to accomplish.
Following are some of the more important concepts for developing output.
One of the first tasks in developing output for your project is to determine which type of output is most appropriate for your needs. You might even need to produce multiple outputs and require more than one output type. There are several types of online output and print-based output that you can produce in Flare. HTML5 is the recommended online output type, and for print-based output, PDF and Word are preferred. Each output type has its own set of advantages.
It is easy to confuse output types with targets, but they are two different (although related) concepts. A target is one instance of an output type. It is the engine that takes all of your files and settings, and brings them together to produce the end result. When you build your final output, you are essentially building one or more of the targets in your project.
However, any targets added to the project are just a starting point for you. You can rename them to reflect the nature of your project. For example, if you are writing a Help system for a software program called FictionSoftPro, you could rename a target "FictionSoftPro." Also, just because only one target was added when you first created the project, this does not mean that you are limited to just that target in your project. You can add as many new targets as you need, using any of the available formats. You can also make as many copies of an existing target as you want. Each target has properties that you adjust to change the way the target behaves, as well as the way it looks and feels.
You can have as many targets in your project as you want, and any of your targets can be built (generated) whenever you like. However, chances are that you will have one target that you work with more than the others. You can set it as your primary target.
A primary target is treated just like any of your other targets, with one exception. There are certain shortcuts in Flare that let you build, view, or publish your primary target more quickly.
Also, when you open topics in the XML Editor, they will be displayed by default with the styles and other specifications associated with the primary target. However, you can use the Layout and Medium drop-downs in the local toolbar of the XML Editor to view topics with other settings. See About Layout Modes.
A condition is something that you can apply to different areas of your content so that some information displays in some of your outputs but not in others. They are integral to single-sourcing in Flare.
Let's say you need to create two PDFs from your project—one for beginning users and another for advanced users. Rather than creating two separate projects, you can put all of the content into a single project.
Then you can create one condition tag called "Beginner Manual" and another condition tag called "Advanced Manual."
After that, you can apply the "Beginner Manual" condition tag to the content that belongs only in the manual for beginners, and you can apply the "Advanced Manual" condition tag to the content that belongs only in the manual for advanced users.
Finally, you open one PDF target and tell Flare to include the "Beginner Manual" condition tag and exclude the "Advanced Manual" condition tag. In the other PDF target, you do the opposite; exclude the "Beginner Manual" condition tag and include the "Advanced Manual" condition tag.
You can apply condition tags to many different elements in your project, from the character level all the way up to the file level.
For more information see About Conditions.
Suppose you have hundreds of topics, and you want some to show up in some outputs, but not in others? How do you control which topics are included in a given output? It depends on whether you are generating online or print-based output.
If you are creating online output, all of the topics in the project will be included in the output unless you use one of the following methods to include or exclude them—(1) apply condition tags at the file level or (2) exclude links from the target. If you do not use one of these methods, every topic will be in the output, even if you add only some of them to the TOC (e.g., readers will be able to locate topics that are not in the TOC by using the search feature).
Applying Condition Tags at the File Level You can place condition tags on the topic files and include or exclude them from the targets. This is an easy method, but you must make sure to apply the appropriate condition tags to each topic file, and then include/exclude those conditions in the correct targets.
See Applying Conditions to Content and Associating Conditions with Targets.
Note: You can place condition tags on files in the Project Organizer as well, but these condition tags do not affect what files are included in the output. Rather, these condition tags are useful for importing files from one Flare project into another.
See Global Project Linking—Importing Files from Other Projects.
- Excluding Links from Targets Another method is to use an option on the Advanced tab in the Target Editor to exclude all content files unless they are directly or indirectly referenced from the target. This means that if the target is using particular files such as a table of contents (TOCs), master page, and so on, other files linked directly or indirectly from them will be part of the output. This is a much quicker method and helps to keep your output file size down, but it is not quite as flexible as the other method.
See Excluding Content not Linked Directly or Indirectly from Targets.
If you are creating a print-based output, only the topics included in your "outline TOC" will be included in the output. In addition, you can place condition tags on outline TOC entries and use them to further separate content for different outputs (if you have targets using that same outline TOC).
When developing outputs, there are many possible tasks that you might perform, depending on your situation. You may not need to perform all of the following tasks, just those that fit your needs. You also may not necessarily perform these tasks in the following order.
- Determine Output Type The first task in developing output for your project is to determine which type of output is most appropriate for your needs. You might even need to produce multiple outputs and require more than one output type. The output type can be specified on the General tab of the Target Editor. See Determining the Output Type and Changing the Output Type for a Target.
- Add or Make Copies of Targets Every target in a project has particular output type assigned to it. You can add multiple targets to a project, and you can make as many copies of existing targets that you want. For example, your project might end up containing three targets that are all based on the
HTML5output type. See Adding Targets.
- Rename Targets It is helpful to rename targets that you use to reflect the nature of your project, especially if you are using multiple targets with the same output type. To rename a target, open the Targets folder in the Project Organizer, right-click the target you want to rename, and then select Rename. Then type a new name for the target and press Enter. See Renaming Targets.
- Set Primary Target You can select a primary target when you are in the process of creating a new project. Otherwise, you can open the Targets folder in the Project Organizer, right-click the target that you want to specify as the primary, and select Make Primary.
See Setting a Primary Target.
- Create Conditions If you are creating multiple outputs from the same project and you want the various outputs to contain different content, you can create conditions. To create a condition, you can open the Conditional Text folder in the Project Organizer, double-click a condition tag set, and click the New Item button in the Condition Tag Set Editor. See Creating Conditions.
- Apply Condition Tags After you create conditions, you can apply them to content. There are many ways to apply conditions, depending on the element you are working on. In the Condition Tags dialog, you can select the condition(s) to be applied to that content.
See Applying Conditions to Content.
- Associate Conditions with Targets After creating and applying conditions, you need to tell Flare what your target should do with the conditions that you have created and applied. Should content with a particular condition be included in or excluded from that target? To associate conditions with a target, open the Targets folder in the Project Organizer, and double-click the target that you want to open. Then in the Target Editor, select the Conditional Text tab and click the appropriate check boxes next to the conditions that you want to include in that target or exclude from it.
See Associating Conditions with Targets.
- Edit Target Settings Using the Target Editor, you can perform tasks such as changing the output type, setting the output file name, choosing a skin, selecting a master stylesheet, improving the processing performance of the target, and more. To edit target settings, open the Targets folder in the Project Organizer, double-click the target that you want to edit, and use the various tabs in the Target Editor to specify settings. See Editing Target Settings.
Note: If you need to create print-based output from your Flare project, there are some specific tasks that are mandatory and several others that are optional. For details, see Creating Print-based Output.