After you click on the left side of the interface, the Projects page opens. The Projects page displays a grid, which shows all MadCap Flare projects that have been uploaded to your Central license. These are copies of the local projects located on users’ desktops. The main reason for uploading (i.e., binding) Flare projects is to let Central host your output; it’s a way to publish without having to involve an IT department. A secondary reason is that the connection between your local Flare project files and the cloned files on Central can be used as a source control solution.
You do not have to be a Flare user in order to take advantage of the various features in MadCap Central. However, if you would like to add a Flare project to a Central license, you can upload the project from your desktop Flare application. A copy of the project will therefore reside in the cloud via Central, and you will be able to keep the local and cloud versions of the project synchronized using integrated source control. You will also be able to generate and publish Flare targets using Central. See Uploading (Binding) Projects.
If another user uploads a Flare project to your MadCap Central license and you do not yet have that project on your computer, you can import it.
All users can see all the projects listed in the grid on the Projects page. However, to open a project (by clicking on its name) or take action on it, you must be associated with that project. There are a few ways to become associated with a project. First, you can upload a project to Central yourself. Second, another user can add you to his or her project. And third, if you have “Manage Teams and Projects” permission, you can open your profile and add yourself to a project.
Any user can hover over a project in the grid to display the project card.
Depending on your association with the project or your permission settings, you can do the following from the card:
- View Profile You can view the profile for a project to see its description, as well as the teams and/or users associated with the project. Depending on your permission settings, you can also click links to edit the profile or open one of the following views: Dashboard, Build Management, Repository. See Viewing Project Profiles.
- Edit Profile If you have “Manage Teams/Projects” permission, you can edit the profile for a project. This includes the ability to change the project’s name, initials, description, and associated color. You can also change which teams and/or users are associated with the project. See Editing Project Profiles.
- Open Dashboard If you are associated with a project, you can open it to see its dashboard and navigate to other views. See Opening a Project.
- Open Build Management View If you are associated with a project and have the appropriate permissions, you can open the Build Management view of a project. From here, you can manage various aspects of the project’s output. See About Builds.
- Create Checklists You can create checklists to keep track of work related to your uploaded Flare projects. See About Project Checklists.
- View Activity You can open the Recent Activity dialog to see what has been going on with a given project. See Viewing Project Activity.
The Projects page is one framework with multiple views, which can be accessed on the right side of the interface. The different views are:
- Project Dashboard (default view)
- Build Management
Once you are associated with a project in Central, you can open it from the main Projects page by clicking on the project name. By default it opens in Project Dashboard view. As with your Home dashboard, it will be empty at first. You can populate each project dashboard with widgets that you find useful.
To add widgets, click in the toolbar and choose the kind of widgets you want to add. You can even add multiple widgets of the same type to your dashboard if necessary. After adding the widgets, you can click and drag them to arrange them as you want.
You can click Build Management on the right side of the interface to work with the targets in the project. The Build Management view lets you generate, open, and manage output from a target. This includes the ability to set certain builds as “Live,” meaning they can be viewed by the public. You can also mark other builds to “Keep,” in case you need to roll back to them for some reason. See About Builds and Setting Builds to Live or Keep.
Each license has a vanity URL. The URL consists of your license (e.g., company) name followed by a period, then “mcoutput.com” (e.g., https://fictionsoft.mcoutput.com). When you generate a target and set it to “Live,” a number is auto-generated to represent the target and this is added to the URL, along with the entry file for the output (e.g., https://fictionsoft.mcoutput.com/64951/Default.htm). Users can see your output by using that final URL. You can change the vanity URL in the Server Settings dialog. This lets you change the prefix of the URL (i.e., you cannot change mcoutput.com, but you can change what comes before it).
Not only can you set the vanity URL for your license, but you can also do this for targets or even individual builds. This allows you to have multiple builds set as “Live.”
Following are some basic tasks involving builds:
- Running and Scheduling From the Central interface, you can generate targets to produce output. You can also schedule targets to be generated automatically at a future date and time. See Running and Scheduling Builds.
- Downloading After generating a target, you can download the output to your computer. This is an optional step, in case you want to have a local copy of the build (e.g., you want to view your Microsoft HTML Help output, which is an output format that you cannot view from Central). See Downloading Builds.
- Deleting If you generate builds that you do not plan to keep or publish, you can delete them. This frees up space on the system. See Deleting Builds.
Note: In addition to your live URL, a private URL is also generated and provided to you. This occurs for each build, whether it is set to “Live” or “Keep,” or neither. This URL is useful for easily sharing generated output with individuals in your organization (e.g., for reviews and knowledge transfer). Only people who are registered on your Central license can access this URL. See Using Private URLs.
Note: For each build that you set to “Live,” you have the option to prevent the output from being used by search engines. See Excluding Live Builds from Search Engines.
Note: If you have an older URL that you need to continue to use in order to maintain consistency with your company and prevent older links from breaking, you can create a redirect from that URL to your new vanity URL. Ask the web administrator in your company for assistance with this.
You can click Checklists on the right side of the interface to create checklists related to your project.
Checklists might have to do with specific files (e.g., topics) in your project. You can create custom columns for whatever types of activity you want to track for each file, and you can use a note column for specific information about each row. Alternatively, you might create generic checklists for random things you need to accomplish, such as a product release “To Do” list: You can set the appropriate status on each item as you work, and the top of the interface will show a chart and percentages as you progress through the checklist. See About Project Checklists.
When you upload a Flare project to Central, the files are connected to Central via an integrated source control system. Your interaction with source control can follow one of two models—single-bound or dual-bound. Single-bound projects are not bound to an additional third-party source control provider; they only use Central's source control system. Dual-bound projects, on the other hand, are already bound to another source control provider, and therefore are bound to both the original third-party source control provider and to Central.
Following are the main activities related to source control in Central:
- Upload/Import As already mentioned, you can upload (bind) Flare projects to Central (see Uploading (Binding) Projects) and import projects from Central to your computer (see Importing Projects).
- Commit and Synchronize (Pull, Push) in Single-bound Model If you are working in a single-bound model, you author content in Flare. When you want to transfer your changes to Central, you commit files that you’ve changed to the repository. This gives you the opportunity to organize your files into different groups when you add them to Central, and to add a comment to each commit as well. After this, you synchronize (pull, push) your changes with the cloned project on Central. See Committing and Synchronizing (Pull, Push) in a Single-bound Model.
- Push in Dual-bound Model If you are working in a dual-bound model, you author content in Flare and use your third-party source control tool to synchronize your files with those from other writers. After this, you use Flare to push those changes to Central. See Pushing in a Dual-bound Model.
Note: Links to external Flare projects—via Global Project Linking, runtime merging of projects, and multilingual output—are supported when you are building output. In order for this to work, you must upload the necessary Flare projects and set up the project linking properly. See Setting Up Project Linking.
Note: At this time, you cannot perform source control tasks from the Central interface. This can be done only from the Flare project.
When you upload a project to Central, it has a status of “Active.” If necessary, you can change the status to “Archive” or “Lock.” You can always change it back to “Active” later if you need to. See Changing the Status of a Project.
You might archive a project if you want to keep a copy of the files in the cloud, but you no longer need the output. An archived project cannot be opened or viewed, and all outputs become inaccessible. If you have a build for the project set to “Live,” you cannot archive the project unless you first remove the “Live” setting on that build.
You might lock a project if you do not want any more changes made to the project, but you need to retain the output, particularly any builds set as “Live.” When a project is locked, it becomes read-only.
If you no longer need to keep a project, you can remove it. Doing this does not delete your local copy of the Flare project; it only removes the project files from Central. All access will be denied to the project and all data associated with the project will be deleted. This frees up space on your server. See Deleting Projects.