Re: Text is bad: Was Ideas in Motion

Subject: Re: Text is bad: Was Ideas in Motion
From: "Anthony Markatos" <tonymar -at- hotmail -dot- com>
To: mbaker -at- omnimark -dot- com, techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com
Date: Fri, 17 Mar 2000 07:24:54 PST

Mark Baker said:

The written word is one of the most potent of all our technologies. ....

Tony Markatos:

Not when it comes to documenting procedural information on systems. In systems, procedure is, except at the very detail level, highly asynchronous - multiple things occurring at the same time and multi-decision branching. Written text is very synchronous (i.e., sequential).

Every graphical procedure documenting technique (like data flow diagrams) is based on the principle that you can not effectively use a synchronous technique (text) to document asynchronous information.

There are other very important reasons why text is poor for documenting procedural information. Such as verification: Asynchronous procedure is very hard to document correctly the first time (or second time); multiple walkthroughs with end-users is required.

Try conducting a meaningful walkthrough of complex written procedure with an end-user - even a highly motivated end user. Folks, it just is not going to happen! Oh sure, you will get a few correction marks and the like - buts thats about it.

In contrast, walkthroughs of (well constructed) dfds yields a wealth of information (corrections) and result in much higher quality procedural documentation.

Tony Markatos
(tonymar -at- hotmail -dot- com)








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