Re: writing help from technical specs

Subject: Re: writing help from technical specs
From: Damien Braniff <dbraniff -at- iss-dsp -dot- com>
To: TECHWR-L <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Tue, 26 Sep 2000 11:57:22 +0100

> Over the years I've found that tech specs range from invaluable little goldmines
> of information to a total waste of paper and usually somewhere inbetween.

Specs tend to vary a lot from company to company (and even within companies!)
depending on:

Who writes them - programmers/designers? TW involved at all etc
Why they write them - they have to as it's in the contract, part of the design
process etc
How they're written - standard layout (e.g. procedure function , inputs/.outputs
How (if!) they're maintained - is it part of the ethos that specs are kept up to
date to provide a set of ref docs for the project etc.

In 'good' companies (all relative), specs are part of the design process and are
written and maintained because they are useful to all and sundry. Everyone writes to
set style so anyone picking up a spec knows where to find the information they need
quickly, confident that it is (relatively) up to date.

My first job was documenting software from the source code and here the most
valueable tools were the specs and a set of coloured pencils to keep track of
BEGIN-ENDs etc! Then the spec briefly described each procedure, how it linked to
other etc and generally gave you an idea of what it did before you diveed into the

Damien Braniff

Damien Braniff
Technical Author
Integrated Silicon Systems Ltd. Tel: +44 28 90 50 4000
50 Malone Road Fax: +44 28 90 50 4001
Belfast BT9 5BS Web:

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