FOX Racing Shox Modernizes Online Documentation with MadCap Flare

Publish Date: 
Nov 19, 2008

REDWOOD CITY, CALIF., United States, 11/18/2008 - MadCap Software, the leader in multi-channel content authoring and a showcase company for Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT) Visual Studio 2005 and Microsoft XPS, today announced that FOX Racing Shox has modernized its online product documentation using Flare, MadCap's flagship multi-channel authoring software. The FOX Racing Shox Bicycle Division now uses Flare to deliver its online bike owner's manual in seven different languages, as well as power its online service site—providing a consistent look and feel for retail customers, dealers, and direct distributors. Flare replaces Adobe RoboHelp 5.

"We're recognized worldwide for our state-of-the-art suspension systems, and we needed to move our online content from the 1990s into the new millennium," said Daniel Green, technical communications manager for the FOX Racing Shox Bicycle Division. "MadCap Flare is based on a native XML architecture that will take us beyond our current needs and ensure that our content won't get antiquated. Flare also provides full Unicode support for double-byte character set languages, which is a top priority in serving our growing base of customers in Asia, for example."

For over three decades, FOX Racing Shox has been designing and manufacturing high-performance racing suspension systems for sports vehicles, and its products are now used globally in mountain bikes, all-terrain vehicles, off-road and motocross motorcycles and snowmobiles. For years, the Bicycle Division used RoboHelp to create its online documentation. The more-proprietary authoring tool required a great deal of specialized coding and did not offer the same level of content reusability potential inherent with XML-based applications. Moreover, it lacked full support for double-byte character set languages, adding complexity and therefore increased cost to the translation process.

When Green joined FOX Racing Shox in January 2007, he saw an opportunity to take a fresh approach to delivering online documentation. He formerly had authored content using the Standard Generalized Markup Language (SGML) of which XML is a subset. As a result, Green was attracted to the XML Editor in MadCap Flare, which provided the option to either work completely in a non-programming visual interface or to view and edit the underlying XML.

"MadCap Flare is very easy to use, and I really like the multiplicity of choice for how I author and update the content," Green observes. "I can go into the WYSIWYG editor for a quick review. Then, if I want to take advantage of the elegance of XML, I just use the source editor to go into the mark-up language, itself. I find that pretty liberating."

In early 2007, FOX Racing Shox began producing online documentation for its 2008 product models. Green imported the legacy RoboHelp source files into Flare, which executed an error-free conversion of the older files. Flare automatically removed Kadov tags and other proprietary XML markup, which facilitated translation from English to the other five languages supported: French, German, Italian, Spanish and Japanese. With development of the 2009 bike owner's manual and online service in 2008, Fox Racing Shox has been able to add simplified Chinese to its localized owner's manuals for the first time. Green also has created a master style sheet, significantly simplifying the process of developing and updating content.

"Developing the content used to be a long process," said Green. "Everything in the .HTMs is structured and formatted more globally when we do a build using the Flare master page, which can use markup snippets linked from within the master page file. Our owner's manuals and online service website get a very consistent look and feel, and that is a great thing."