MindTouch Review

Some of the valuable features include a WYSIWGY editor that generates HTML and CMS version control.

What is our primary use case?

Technical writing. Developer documentation including Getting Started, Core Concept, Task descriptions, etc.

How has it helped my organization?

MindTouch provides an easy way to create HTML using an MS Word-like interface. The editor, however, contains advanced, professional features, such as single-sourcing text for multiple chapters that savvy technical writers can take advantage of.  

What is most valuable?

  • A WYSIWGY editor that generates HTML
  • CMS version control
  • Automatic search for link targets
  • User permissions
  • Modals
  • Easy table generation
  • Editing
  • Good customer support

What needs improvement?

  • Workflow: There are status indicators that imply draft -> finished, but they don’t really work that way.
  • Better support for the contextual hiding of content. Right now, the only filters are pro and non-pro. The user should be able to create filters to hide or not hide content.
  • Can’t use a third-party link checker because MT creates dummy pages if they don’t exist for the link’s target. Instead of returning a 404, you get a bogus page and no broken link notifications. MT is coming out with a linkchecker for the MT Responsive product, which might resolve this issue.
  • To be specific, the right hand rail of MT has a means of marking a doc called, “Stage,” as shown. Stages include draft, review, and final. The naïve understanding I had of them initially is that the stages related to publication, i.e., something marked “draft” would not be published until “reviewed” and then classified as “final.” This would be a wonderful workflow that mimicks, for example, Pull Requests in Git. However, Stage labels do nothing. They simply label the page with the Stage name. So, “draft” documents appear just as pages marked “final” and “obsolete.” So, I think this is a missed opportunity. I believe MT is trying to create this kind of functionality in the latest version of MT Responsive. Still, the Stage tag is a no-op.
  • In addition, advanced authoring tools, such as XMetal and oXygen, enable the author to tag a sentence, paragraph, section, or chapter for the purpose of displaying/hiding that text. This is called conditional text. You can configure whether or not that conditional text appears in the document. For example, you might have an expert’s and beginner’s version of the same document. Rather than having two documents, you have one with conditional text. The beginner’s version does a lot more hand holding. For the beginner, you’d “turn on” the conditional text. For the expert, you’d “turn off” the conditional text. MT’s conditional text is limited to two tags. I believe they’re “pro” and “non-pro.” Something like that. These tags relate to the reader’s classification that’s in their MT user profile. Two tags don’t provide the granularity needed to use conditional text effectively. So, I doubt it’s used.  

For how long have I used the solution?

Three to five years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

MT outages are infrequent.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

Scalability only comes into play if you try to load over 1000 MT books all at once, e.g., you might want to list all of the books available on your website.

How are customer service and technical support?

Customer Service:

For immediate concerns, they're great about getting back to you quickly. The folks I've worked with are friendly.

Technical Support:

For simple matters, I would give technical support a rating of 10/10. They are very quick, and provide friendly responses to questions and bug reports. For larger asks, the score would be much lower, as sometimes larger issues were not addressed in a timely manner.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

We used Wordpress. Wordpress is free but the burden is on you to maintain your site. MT's out-of-the-box functionality is great and they take care of the improving the product while keeping it backwardly compatible.

How was the initial setup?

The setup was simple.

What about the implementation team?

MT engineers created a custom implementation of MT for us... for a price, of course. The customization went well.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

It’s not a standalone software product. You pay a licensing fee on a contract basis. Remember, your files are in their repository. They have a custom archiving process. So, should you ever want to move away from MT, getting your content out might be challenging.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We evaluated WordPress. It was cheap, but the maintenance was heavy.

What other advice do I have?

It is a good product. I am not sure they support translation robustly.

**Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
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1 Comment

author avatarGeorge Eckel (Intuit)
Real User

MindTouch is definitely the best editor for wysiwyg HTML authoring. While Wordpress is a free alternative, supporting Wordpress is not free. Nor does it offer the rich suite of professional editing tools professional writers appreciate.