Twiddle me this (was Re: Style conventions: Pipelines vs. Arrows...)

Subject: Twiddle me this (was Re: Style conventions: Pipelines vs. Arrows...)
From: Kevin McLauchlan <kmclauchlan -at- chrysalis-its -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Mon, 12 Aug 2002 16:19:27 -0400

On Monday 12 August 2002 13:14, Andrew Plato wrote:
> <KMcLauchlan -at- chrysalis-its -dot- com> wrote in message
> > What do others do?
> Pick one and get back to writing docs. This is a decision
> that should take 30 seconds at most.

Er.... um.... I have been writing docs.

I make plenty of little, and not-so-little decisions
and get on with the work, especially during the crunch
times, when the content is indeed king.

However, since this is a relatively slack time,
I thought that now would be a good time to
tighten up some stuff that had been bothering
me (or my reviewers).

My docs will never be perfect. That shouldn't
stop me from trying to make them better.
In terms of the content, you can't be any help
at all. I'm on my own, there.
In terms of the presentation, effective
layout and all that, well, maybe you are saying
that you STILL can't be any help at all (in which
case, why expend the effort to make a comment
that you've made 57 times before?). But
other people on this list probably can be helpful.

From the variety of experience and talent in
this list, I can garner some tips and tricks
that would either take me longer to devise,
or elude me entirely. Saves re-inventing the wheel.

Your often-expressed sentiment that the writer
should just learn the product, dash off the content
in Notepad, gather a few screencaps, and then hand
the bundle to the customer and leap into the next project...
is a good fit when the customer has people to take
the raw content and prepare it for print/production --
and has time in the schedule for that step.

The Notepad and [Alt]-[PrintScreen] model of customer
document writing is not a good fit for a company like this
one, where the writer is the entire customer documentation
department. When I get my docs signed off, they often
go to the printing company the same day. They *always*
go onto the production master CD(s) the same day that
I finish, or early next morning.

After everybody else has made their changes, fixed
their fixes or otherwise had their effect on the product,
I'm the semi-final hurdle. We can't finish up with me
until we finish up with them. When we do, and I get
sign-off, all that's left is for the CM person to log the
files in and create the CD image with my doc files
as the final additions.

Then, I can take a few vacation days, maybe spend
a day or three cleaning up the wreckage and pondering
the non-content stuff that could work better... and then
it's back into the saddle. Why'n'hell NOT take advantage
of relative slack time to spruce up the non-content aspects?

/kevin (who hasn't twiddled or fondled a font in oh-so-long
and who also doesn't enjoy washing cars :-)
** DIR-ty DEEDS, and they're DONE dirt cheap. (Sing it,

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Re: Style conventions: Pipelines vs. Arrows, Single step style vs . Sentence.: From: Andrew Plato

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