RE: Tools and programming

Subject: RE: Tools and programming
From: "Lydia Wong" <lydiaw -at- fpoint -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Thu, 31 Aug 2000 13:20:44 -0400

Sandy Harris wrote:

> >I'm an old Unix user. I tend to assume that anyone should be
> >able to write a simple script when required. In negative terms,
> >any user who cannot program at all is clueless.
> [snip]
> >
> >Am I just being a curmudgeon here or do others also find it
> >bizarre that people cannot do things like this?

Bruce responded:

> Different culture, Sandy. You're from a do-it-yourself culture.
> Most people from the Dark Side of the Force (AKA Windows) aren't
> used to being so self-sufficient.
<end snip>

I agree with Bruce, but I also think that it's a question of experience.

When I was new to the field of technical writing, there were so many things
to learn: tools and things about the product I was documenting. There was a
vast amount of content that needed a lot of
editing/re-structuring/re-design, not to mention indexing, being ported to
FrameMaker, etc.

Now that I have had some time in the field and at the company I work for,
though, I also have some time and perspective to ask questions like "why
can't a link/cross-reference in Frame work as a link in my online help
system?" and "How can I re-use my source in many different ways?"

In other words, now that I have a grasp of my content and tools, and a
pretty good grasp of the structure of that content, I can ask the questions
that you touch on in your post, Sandy. I do want to explore options that
allow me to store my content in a non-proprietary format, and I have
experience and some time to not be (as!) intimidated when the options entail
learning some programming and things I've never or seldom heard of like
DSSSLs and Perl.

The first step down that road for me and for our company was using
FrameMaker and WebWorks Publisher. Now it looks like SGML and
transformations are in our future (perhaps).

It's a journey! Glad you started this thread, Sandy.

Lydia : )
Lydia Wong
Technical Writer
FarPoint Technologies, Inc.

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