RE: Installation - separate book in documentation suite?

Subject: RE: Installation - separate book in documentation suite?
From: "Hager, Harry (US - East Brunswick)" <hhager -at- dc -dot- com>
To: "'TECHWR-L'" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Tue, 12 Sep 2000 14:21:10 -0400


Gilda,

I would opt to have a single installation manual for the following reasons:

1. Only one document to update, review, assign a revision number, print, and
distribute.
2. Less chance of error when updates are made.
3. I really hate to see large pieces of information, or chapters of
information, duplicated in any set of documents. Sooner or later updates
will be made to one copy but not the other copy and then nobody will know
which one is the correct one.
4. After installation, the users can ignore the installation doc and it does
not get in the way of the other docs.

On the other hand, it might be a little disconcerting to some readers to see
all the options for all the other audiences. It might confuse some people.
If you can resolve this issue (separate appendices for each audience for the
separate components dialog boxes?), go for the single installation manual.

I do not think that having one manual for the installation procedures and
one manual for the other procedures is an inconvenience for your users.
There are tons of software products out there that do the same thing, so
it'll be nothing new for them. In the past I've written numerous stand alone
software installation manuals. Sometimes I also wrote the software user
guides, sometimes I had little or no idea what the users would really be
doing with the software after it was installed.

Jim Hager
hhager -at- dc -dot- com

------ Original Message -------

Subject: Installation - separate book in documentation suite?
From: Gilda_Spitz -at- markham -dot- longview -dot- ca
Date: Mon, 11 Sep 2000 10:27:51 -0400
X-Message-Number: 1

At present we have a documentation suite consisting of nine books, each
addressing the needs of a different audience.

Each book contains a chapter with instructions for installing, changing,
and removing the software. The chapters are virtually identical from book
to book, but there are slight differences for each audience. For example,
there's a "Components" dialog in the install wizard in which each audience
needs to choose a different combination of components.

We're considering removing the chapters from the individual books, and
creating a separate installation booklet instead. Having a separate book
would make it easier for us to update the instructions, because we'd only
have to do it once, but it might mean slightly more inconvenience for our
users.

Does anyone out there have any advice on this? We'll obviously try to get
some feedback on our users' preferences, but I suspect there won't be a
clear-cut preference either way. Are there any pros or cons to a separate
book that we should know about?

Thanks in advance.

Gilda Spitz
Manager, Documentation
Longview Solutions Inc.




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