Re: Why'd that take so long?

Subject: Re: Why'd that take so long?
From: "Dana Worley" <dana -at- campbellsci -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Thu, 25 Jul 2002 17:11:34 -0600

On 24 Jul 2002 at 12:37, John Posada wrote:

> Is it possible that you are satisfying your requirements for the
> perfect looking document, at the expense of the user, who simply
> needs the document and doesn't care that there are 256 styles in the
> catalog when it takes 3 weeks to turn it around?

On the other hand, it's possible that taking a little time up front can
make things a LOT easier in the future.

When I was reading Martin's post, I was thinking of a hand-me-
down project of mine. We have 11 dataloggers, and the project was
to update the help file for the programming language from 16-bit to
32-bit WinHelp. Many of the instructions are the same across the
dataloggers; however, there can be subtle differences in parameters
for the instructions. The person before me had created an RTF file
for each datalogger that had all of the instructions. This led to a LOT
of duplication across the files. On top of that, she had not used

I had the decision before me to "do it right" (in my mind, that meant
putting all common instructions in one file, creating an RTF for the
parameters that were different, creating another RTF for the
operation of the program, etc., not to mention resolving all the
compile errors that the other person had ignored and correcting all
the grammar mistakes) or just essentially run the RTF files through
the new compiler and call it good.

I decided to do it the right way. It took me quite a bit longer than I
expected, but now, the files are a breeze to maintain. I don't have to
make the same change to 11 files when a new instruction is added.
I click one button on my toolbar to set a style for the text type. My
efforts have resulted in a document that not only is easier to update
but also less likely to contain errors.

Luckily, when I explained to the other team members on the
project, they supported me in the decision I had made. If I had
encountered questions, however, my argument would have been
that eventually the time I was taking would pay off.

Dana W.

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