RE: Programmer Reference Guide

Subject: RE: Programmer Reference Guide
From: Matthew Horn <mhorn -at- macromedia -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Tue, 16 Jul 2002 12:10:52 -0400


The biggest thing that strikes me here is that you didn't mention doc'ing an API (Application Programming Interface). You want to document the methods, classes, objects and fields that programmers will use who are going to design and extend your platform.

An excellent example is the Sun JavaDocs. If yours is a Java-based platform, then you have a built in tool available to you that will generate JavaDocs based on comments in your code. Check out

What you might want to look at are OEM guides, SDK guides and other API docs to get a feel for how people use APIs or how they present the internals of their systems to outside programmers to access and extend.

One thing to stress..... provide lots of CODE SAMPLES CODE SAMPLES CODE SAMPLES CODE SAMPLES.

Another thing to stress... don't underestimate the value of good process flow charts. I have written programmer guides before and those are by far the most useful things in them, especially because it helps new 'rammers find out about callback methods and other activities by the system that they do not interact with.

Oh, and did I mention code samples?

Matthew J. Horn
Sr. Technical Writer
< m a c r o m e d i a >

-----Original Message-----
From: Joel Vaillancourt [mailto:tke71709 -at- yahoo -dot- com]
Sent: Tuesday, July 16, 2002 11:50 AM
Subject: Programmer Reference Guide

Hi all,

Checked the archives to no avail so I am posting here.


New Contract where I have to develop the following:
User Guide
Online Help
Training Materials
Programmers Reference Guide

We are developing a custom system that will be
delivered to the client and they will support,
maintain and functionality to it.


They want a guide that a future developer can pick up,
read and get an understanding of how the system works.
He/She should then be able to get down and dirty and
modify or add functionality. Nobody seems to be really
sure as to what is necessary in this document.

My thoughts are:
-Data Model
-Data Dictionary
-Process Flow Charts
-System Architecture

If anyone has any thoughts/experience with this type
of document I would REALLY appreciate any assistance
you could provide (tips, websites, books).

Please cc me directly as I receive the digest and I
will post a summary of the responses here.


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