Writing documentation for other tech writers

Subject: Writing documentation for other tech writers
From: "Sella Rush" <srush -at- MusicNet -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Fri, 22 Mar 2002 22:00:09 -0800

For anyone doing backend/SDK documentation, have you ever written materials for the tech writers who'll be documenting the end product?

For example, I'm writing SDK docs for a backend system. Other people will be developing client GUIs that access our system, and presumably there will be tech writers documenting those GUIs. There are many issues about the backend system that will impact the end user, and it is in our best interest to make sure that information is communicated accurately and thoroughly.

So I'm thinking it would be useful to include something (a section in the SDK? a simple FAQ?) that's written directly to their documentation team. This document would be a repackaging of existing information, laying out hot issues and explaining the ramifications, rather than forcing those tech writers to wade through the developer-targeted material--or more likely relying on their dev staff to trickle the information down.

Advantages include faster/less resource-intensive ramp up time for their writing and dev staff (in my case this is also good for us), lower impact on customer service (happier customers). Both end up reflecting well on the quality of the SDK/backend product.

If you document apps written to third-party SDKs, what do you think? Have you seen something like this and found it useful/useless? I'm thinking of this as a useful resource, which, come to think of it, could also serve to help their customer service staff.

Just some thoughts.
Sella Rush
technical writer
srush -at- musicnet -dot- com

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