The playground


Founder of MadCap Software,, BackSpin Software,, B3 Software, SWFSOFT, Xanthus International.

Inventor of MadCap Flare, RoboHelp for FrameMaker, BackSpin Twister, WARG, Xanthus OpenWrite, Xanthus Questor, Xanthus CraftMan and a lot more.

Founder of three successful startups

  • MadCap Software and MadCap Flare, the market leader in technical publishing software. Acquired by Battery Ventures 2021 .
  • Xanthus and the NeXTstep product suite, sold to Lighthouse Inc, software ended up at Sun Microsystems
  • iWrite, the world's first HTML-based word processor, sold to eHelp Corp, software ended up at Macromedia and then Adobe Inc.

Latest invention - Bjorn's Text Flow

Make sure to check out my latest invention, Bjorn's Text Flow - a word processor PWA going up against Google Docs and MS Word. Seriously!

Text Flow introduces a "PDF killer", a text flow delivery format based on standard SVG+HTML.

What else in new?

Go here to check out what's new in the Playground.

Bjorn's Playground blog


Get in touch?

Instagram: @bjornsplayground

Twitter: @bjornsplaygrnd

LinkedIn: bjornbacklund

Facebook: @bjornsplayground

YouTube: bjornsplayground

Instagram (personal): @bjornspublic



Visual document structure indicator system

What-you-see-is-what-you-get editor with user interface for editing the underlying structure of content

Previous work

Previous innovations and/or products I’ve been the primary inventor/chief designer/architect and/or principal developer of: - technical authoring solutions based on Google Docs - Crowd-sourced family discovery, history and legacy with a large touch of social networking

AppAviorMedia TOPZ - TOPZ discovers Apps, Games, and Content automatically, and recommends matches that are aligned with your personal taste. This is accomplished using unique technology that uses the power of your personal behavior. WARG - Web Analysis Report Generator AppStats - app usage statistics made easy

BackSpin "Play with FIAR" - a Gomoku-like game

MadCap Flare

MadCap Blaze

MadCap Analyzer

MadCap X-Edit

MadCap X-Edit Review

MadCap X-Edit Contribute

MadCap Capture

MadCap Mimic

MadCap Team Server

MadCap Feedback Server

MadCap Echo

MadCap Toolbar

MadCap Lingo

MadCap Help Viewer

MadCap Movie Viewer

MadCap Feedback Explorer

MadCap MADPAK Suite

MadCap Directional Cursor

MadCap Block Bar Structured Editing Technology

RoboHelp for Framemaker

RoboHelp HTML Editor

B3 WinForms Application Framework

B3 Helpmaker

B3 Help Studio

B3 Cyber Dialogs

B3 HTML Dialogs

B3 Site Speller

B3 C++ MFC Application Framework

SWFSOFT Flash Studio

SWFSOFT Flash Compiler and Decompiler

SWFSOFT FlashScript programming language

SWFSOFT FML Flash Markup Language

SWFSOFT FLASP Server-side Markup Language

Xanthus iWrite (and the “famous” VODKA tag – later renamed KADOV)

Xanthus iBrowse

Xanthus OpenWrite

Xanthus Questor

Xanthus Graphity

Xanthus OOE, Open Object Embedding technology

Xanthus CraftMan

Xanthus LaserMan

Xanthus Frequent Phrases

SICS Loggie

AppAviorMedia Corp

Co-founder. At AMC we developed TOPZ.

TOPZ is like Netflix for Apps, Games, and Media.

  • EASY - - Finding Apps/Games/Media is AUTOMATIC. Super easy to use.
  • FREE - - Clear organization of FREE Apps & Games
  • FRESH - - Never miss a beat. HOT & trending Apps/Games are automatically recommended
  • FUN - - Acquire Badges, brag about 'em
  • FAST - - Instantaneous recommendations. No need to search
  • SOCIAL - - Post, share, brag on Facebook
  • CROWDSOURCING - - Users like you decide popularity in aggregate. No particular human intervenes
  • Topz is a breakthrough in Android technology. It works by strictly protecting your privacy and identity of your device, but using the power of your behavior and usage anonymously through our global network. All personalized recommendations are done by software on your device.

MadCap Software, Inc

Update 2022. MadCap acquired by Battery Ventures. .

Founder and former CTO of MadCap Software. MadCap, a strategic Microsoft Corp partner. Winner of the Red Herring Global 100 award. MadCap is leading the documentation industry into the future with the MadCap family of tightly integrated applications for end-to-end content development, delivery and management. With MadCap’s software, customers have a state-of-the-art content workflow solution for publishing in print, online, and on the Web – in their language of choice.

The uber-founder, started the design and the development of the complete MadCap product portfolio half a year before MadCap was formed. In four years took all the MadCap products from a white piece of paper to shipping products.

MadCap Flare. A powerful, XML-based professional content authoring and publishing software application that allows technical writers and documentation specialists to create and manage content for multiple channel publishing. Whether you are creating projects for complex digital print publishing, desktop publishing, Help systems, or web-based online publishing, MadCap Flare provides a complete set of professional help authoring and content development tools. Flare competes with help authoring tools such as Adobe RoboHelp and Author-It as well as long document creation tools such as Adobe Framemaker. Flare matches and exceeds FrameMaker's best features, including variables, snippets (equivalent to text insets), conditions, and versatile cross-referencing formats. And Flare doesn't restrict you to a linear, book-based model. You can manage content at the topic level and build multi-sectioned, double-sided books or websites and knowledge bases.

MadCap Blaze. A powerful, XML-based content authoring application for long printed documents, such as technical manuals, policy & procedure manuals, reference guides, and more. MadCap Blaze utilizes efficient topic-based authoring and single-sourcing allowing technical writers and documentation specialists to save valuable time when creating complex print projects. Blaze was later discontinued and all the since all the functionality also is provided in Flare.

MadCap Analyzer. Analyzer allows technical writers and documentation specialists to work smarter, maximize content re-use and consistency, improve authoring efficiency and reduce translation costs.

MadCap X-Edit, X-Edit Review and X-Edit Contribute. A document solution for the everyday content contributor that combines both editing and publishing into a single document solution. X-Edit was later renamed MadCap Contribute.

MadCap Capture. Screen captures made easy. Capture lets you easily capture anything that is displayed on your computer screen, from window panels to entire screen shots, as an editable image. Further enhance captured images by adding text call-outs, cursor arrows, special effects and more.

MadCap Mimic. A straightforward, easy-to-use software simulation tool that lets you quickly create fully interactive movies, simulations, presentations, and tutorials of software or systems without any programming knowledge.

MadCap Feedback Server. An easy-to-use reporting tool that gives authors rich insight into the end-user experience. Using Feedback Server’s powerful, Web 2.0-enabled reporting tools, learn what content is most useful, what content could be improved, or what content may be missing from your documentation. Improve the quality of your information and make your users part of the technical communication process.

MadCap Feedback Explorer

MadCap Echo. Allows you to take your documentation to the next level by adding audio. Record live audio, edit existing and add any audio element into your projects to create a truly valuable user experience.

MadCap Toolbar and Search Optimizer

MadCap Lingo. Provides technical writers, documentation specialists and professional translators with a powerful, easy-to-use authoring and localization workflow tool. Reduce translation and localization costs by never having to translate the same sentence twice using MadCap Lingo’s built-in Translation Memory technology and database editor. Most importantly, take existing content from MadCap Flare, Blaze or any other project and directly import them into MadCap Lingo, allowing you to maintain important document components such as table of contents, topics, index keywords, concepts, glossaries and variables.

MadCap MADPAK Suite. A must have for technical writers and documentation specialists - MadPak includes Flare, X-Edit, Mimic, Capture, Echo, and Analyzer. Tight integration between products makes your authoring and review process, screen captures and edits, and software simulation functions easy and seamless to incorporate into any project.

B3 Software

Before MadCap, I ran a small software company in Stockholm (Sweden). Among many smaller utilities, B3 developed these products:

B3 WinForms C# Application Framework.

A large set of classes and methods to speedup WinForms application development. This framework has in many ways inspired the new XAML/WPF framework currently being developed but you learn from your mistakes, right?

B3 Helpmaker. An "Adobe Framemaker to Online Help Generator".

eHelp Corp later acquired a license to the Helpmaker code base and I joined eHelp to develop the RoboHelp for Framemaker product. I stayed at eHelp (and later Macromedia) for a year or two before forming MadCap. Nerdy detail: If you hover over my name in the About Box of RoboHelp for Framemaker, you should get a special cursor and if you click a couple of times, with or without the CTRL-button down (I don't remember anymore), your browser will eventually navigate to this website. The Helpmaker knowledge was crucial when I fairly quickly added Framemaker support to later inventions.

B3 Cyber Dialogs

“DHTML-based dialogs for C++”.  The idea was that DHTML would the perfect runtime for dialogs in ordinary Win32 applications (or any other platform actually).  The [B3 Cyber Dialogs] tool was a WYSIWYG authoring tool for these dialogs. DHTML gives the dialog designer much more freedom than using the ordinary Win32 resource script language. For example, you could easily add animated gifs and "in dialog" scripts that control functionality that otherwise would have to be written in C++.  The JavaScript part of Cyber Dialogs made it really easy to create resizable dialogs - an otherwise awkward task in Win32.

B3 Help Studio

An authoring tool for the MS HTML Help format (CHM). One easily say that this tool in some sense is the predecessor of MadCap Flare.

The tool featured:

  • True 100% MSIE WYSIWYG. The topic editor used IE as the renderer.

  • Incremental Changes. Documents are updated with as little changes as possible - true white space and comment preserving. This allowed you to open MS Word documents and safely add HTML Help Components such as 'Related Topics' buttons

  • Advanced Popups. Support for advanced modal dialog popups, using the dialog authoring capabilities of Help Studio.

  • Built-in Syntax Coloring Text Editor.

  • External Editors. Support for editing either in the internal HTML editor or in external editors such as MS Word and MS FrontPage.

  • Conditional Text. Full support for conditional text. You could "compile" different output targets using different "build expressions" which will remove certain tagged text and elements from the output.

  • Auto-build of File List - you don't have to add files explicitly to the help projects.

  • Support for MSIE 5.5 and 6 Advanced Features such as visual effects and components.

  • "Single Source" To Printed Documentation. We also supported generating printed docs in a free command line utility.

B3 Site Speller

A tool for spell checking multiple as well as individual HTML-based documents. The tool has the unique feature that it also spell checks tooltips, button labels, list options, HTML Help Controls and document titles.

Why "B3"?

Why "B3"? You need a name right, and I've seen my last name spelled in so many ways here in the US that I thought the name "Backlund, Buchman and Buckland = B3" was appropriate.


B3 Software (using the name SWFSOFT) also developed a series of Adobe Flash tools listed below. These Flash tools later allowed me to quickly add Flash (SWF) output to other inventions.

FML, the Flash Markup Language, a high-level XML-based markup language for SWF movies. FML consisted of the following sub-technologies

  • Embedded FML, FML embedded in ordinary HTML files

  • FHTML, the Flash Hypertext Markup Language, an XHTML-like markup language for hypertext

  • SWFML, a lower-level XML-based markup language for SWF movies

  • FML Components, a special version of FML for building new components and a library of prebuilt components

  • FML Transitions, a special version of FML for designing transitions

  • FML Arrows, a special version of FML for designing arrow heads and arrow tails

  • FML Behaviors, a special version of FML for designing attachable behaviors

FlashScript, an ActionScript-compliant programming language. FlashScript also included

FLASP, an extension to FML/FHTML that allows Microsoft ASP-like statements and expressions to be inserted into the markup.

FlashASM, an assembler language and compiler for the Flash player virtual machine.

FlashScript Preprocessor, a C-compliant preprocessor for FlashScript, enabling the Flash Movie developer to use macros and conditional compilation techniques.

eHelp Software Corporation

At eHelp I worked mainly on these products:

RoboHelp for Framemaker. I was the principal designer, architect and developer of the now discontinued RoboHelp for Framemaker.

HTML Editor in RoboHelp. After eHelp (then Blue Sky Software) acquired the iWrite editor (see below) I worked on integrating it into their RoboHelp for HTML product.

Xanthus International (iWrite - MS Windows version)

Before B3, SWFSOFT and Helpmaker I co-founded a software company in Stockholm called "Xanthus International AB". Xanthus had actually two lives, the NeXTStep Story (see below) and the iWrite Story.

At Xanthus we took a bold step and developed a word processor (iWrite) purely based on web standards such as HTML and CSS way before Microsoft tried that with MS Word. We were in fact one of the really early adopters of CSS and we experimented with several extensions to the CSS spec in order to support word processing and not just web pages. For this I earned a mentioning in the CSS2 specification. In parallel with iWrite we also developed a truly CSS-based web browser called iBrowse.

During their .NET inception phase Microsoft showed some interest in our team and the iWrite project and I spent a couple of days at the Microsoft campus discussing this. However, at the same time eHelp Corp approached us since they needed a new HTML editor for their RoboHelp product. eHelp ended up purchasing the iWrite code base and I moved along to San Diego to further develop it. As many of you know eHelp was later acquired by Macromedia which after a while was acquired by Adobe Systems.

Nerdy detail: Up to and including the first or two "Adobe versions" of RoboHelp, you could still type my first name in the HTML editor of Adobe RoboHelp and the right click on it - you would then get a special "About" option in the context menu. Clicking that option would reveal some of the names behind the original iWrite editor. This option would also always appear on my birthday regardless of the selection.

To support extensions to the HTML language we added special “VODKA” tags in the files iWrite produced. These tags where later renamed to KADOV for certain reasons. Why VODKA? “Explorer” is a brand of Vodka in Sweden and since the rendering engine (the browser part of iWrite) was in some why competing with Internet Explorer we just had some fun…

Xanthus International (NeXT and NeXTStep version)

Before the iWrite adventure, Xanthus International was started as a NeXTStep ISV (remember Steve Job's adventure after being ousted from Apple?). For the NeXT platform we developed, during a couple of years, a suite of office products:

The Xanthus' office products were later acquired by Lighthouse Design, Ltd, a Bay Area ISV for NeXT. Soon after that, their CEO Jonathan Schwartz succeeded to sell Lighthouse to Sun Microsystems. Jonathan quickly moved up the Sun corporate ladder and became their CEO in 2006.

Way back...

Before Xanthus I flirted with an academic career and worked for a while at the Swedish Institute of Computer Science (SICS) in Kista, Stockholm, Sweden. At SICS I earned my Licentiate of Science in Computer Science from Stockholm University in 1991. In 1988 I graduated from Uppsala University with a Master of Science in Computer Science. Back then I was a "LISP"-freak, especially fond of the Xerox LISP (AI) hardware and their Interlisp-D and LOOPS software.