Linux

Review: Writers Cafe 2 documentation tool

Writers Cafe is a tool that can make the process of documentation, on all levels, a much easier and more organized task.

In many businesses there is a lot of writing. Be it reports, documentation, meeting notes, public relations, or manuals, the organization and process of writing these documents can become a daunting task. But what happens when you take an application written for one industry (Writing) and apply it to another? In the case of Writers Cafe, you have a tool that can make the process of documentation, on all levels, a much easier and more organized task. Although not suited for every-day memos and letters, for larger documents Writers Cafe is a perfect solution for just about any level of user.

Specifications

Who's it for?

Writers Cafe 2 is for anyone looking for a way to better organize their documentation/writing process. Writers Cafe is a great solution for any department that must create chaptered documentation. By using the Storyline tool you can not only better organize your documents you can see how well the chapters (or sections) flow together and easily re-arrange them if needed.

What problem does it solve?

Writers Cafe 2 allows the user to better organize their documents. Although created for writers of novels, Writers Cafe can be employed by documentation specialists, or anyone who creates larger documents (even software documentation) that is broken into chapters. Writers Cafe splits each chapter (or section) into individual "cards" that can be edited, moved, given details, and more. And you can generate reports for your work so you can quickly see the details of the documentation.

Standout features

  • Index card for organizing, writing, detailing chapters of your book (or documentation)
  • Cross platform
  • Text import
  • Report templates can be created
  • Tag-based searching
  • User-customizable structure
  • File export to your favorite word processor or even screenwriting software
  • Export to Microsoft HTML Help format
  • Keyboard shortcuts
  • Built in timer to keep track of time spent on a project

What's wrong?

Since this tool was created book writers in mind, there is some creativity involved in adopting this tool for documentation and other business needs. Another issue is inserting images into text. Although you can add images to pages and paragraphs, you cannot do word wrap or manipulate the placement of the text with regards to the image. This can be resolved when you export the project to your word processor.

Competitive Products:

Bottom line for business

I have been a big fan of Writers Cafe for a while now. I use it for both novel writing as well as documentation. Once you get used to how Writers Cafe works, it will help to make your projects as organized as possible. And since the cost of Writers Cafe is low ($65.00 USD) it's certainly worth giving a try.

User rating

Have you encountered or used Writers Cafe 2? If so, what do you think? Rate your experience and compare the results to what other TechRepublic members think. Give your own personal review in the TechRepublic Community Forums or let us know if you think we left anything out in our review.

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About

Jack Wallen is an award-winning writer for TechRepublic and Linux.com. He’s an avid promoter of open source and the voice of The Android Expert. For more news about Jack Wallen, visit his website getjackd.net.

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