Madcap Echo Offers Web 2.0 Audio Integration

Feb 27, 2007

MadCap Software has released MadCap Echo. MadCap Echo is an application that provides a way for authors to create and incorporate audio and customizable Flash files into online output, and it works with file formats such as XML, SWF, MP3, and WAV. MadCap Echo is a flexible, open-architecture application that allows for sharing and modification of files.

Individuals can work with MadCap Echo independently, or they can take advantage of its tight integration with MadCap Flare 2.5, a native XML content authoring application designed for single-source, multi-channel publishing. Users can import MP3 or WAV files, or they can record new audio files with the Echo interface. When the audio output is generated, the result is an icon that users click to open an audio player toolbar. They can then click the audio player buttons to access the sound and other features. Users can manipulate MadCap Echo output in various ways. First, they can edit the actual audio wave, performing tasks such as inserting silent areas and boosting the volume. In addition, skins can be created and modified in order to customize the look and feel of the icon and audio player. MadCap Echo includes built-in integration with MadCap Flare. This allows authors to inject Flash-based audio files into their online information systems, which in turn allows for more robust, multi-dimensional output for end users. When it comes to generating the Echo audio output, there are multiple choices available. First, users can generate output directly from the Echo user interface. Second, if audio is integrated into a MadCap Flare project, the audio output is automatically compiled when the Flare output is generated. Finally, users can generate audio output from their operating system's command line, which means that Echo does not even need to be open to produce the output files.

In addition to being sold separately, MadCap Echo provides an enhancement for MadPak, a true single-source suite for multi-channel publishing. Components of this "dream suite" also include MadCap Flare, MadCap Mimic, and MadCap Capture. Mimic is a software simulation tool. Capture is a screen capture and graphics editing program. Like MadCap Echo, Mimic and Capture also are tightly integrated with Flare 2.5. An additional component of MadCap's dream suite is MadCap Blaze, an alternative to Adobe FrameMaker for producing long printed documents, which will be released in 2H 2007. MadCap Echo is priced at $129. The MadPak bundled suite, including MadCap Flare, MadCap Mimic, MadCap Capture, and MadCap Echo, is priced at $1,099. Flare 2.5 is priced at $899 per license. Upgrades for current users are available for $499. Fees for support start at $449 per year.