Re: Article: "Living Documentation"

Subject: Re: Article: "Living Documentation"
From: "Jeff Hanvey" <jewahe -at- lycos -dot- co -dot- uk>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Fri, 4 Apr 2003 09:44:33 -0500

Another Plato rant against writers. I really wonder sometimes if he actually
writes, considering that his attitude towards his own profession is so
disdainful - and every now and then, I get tired of him bashing us with his

Inaccuracies are the fault of the writer and/or editor. That much I agree
with. But 99.99% of the inaccuracies are *not* the fault of lack of
knowledge. Rather, it is because the company rushes through development,
doesn't give the writers access to the software under development, and
expects us to have the documentation complete in cycle with the final

The developmental cycle should not be based on the programmers job - that is
just one step in the process (another word Andrew hates)...a really good
developmental cycle will build in time for, at the very least, beta testing.
It should also have some time for real-world testing too. This time is often
considered an unacceptable cost, so all stages are lumped together. The
results are always going to include buggy software, since the code was never
really run before putting things out in the real world, and inaccurate
documentation, since things will change the moment the "design plan" is sent
to the writer.

Having said that: if the book is created by a third-party vendor, and I'm
paying $30 or more for their user guide, I would expect them to be more
accurate. Yes, there will be inaccuracies if their working from the beta
version, which is why I wait until the software has been out for a while
before buying the guide.

Jeff Hanvey
Augusta, GA
jewahe -at- lycos -dot- co -dot- uk

----- Original Message -----
From: "Andrew Plato" <gilliankitty -at- yahoo -dot- com>

> Inaccuracies are 100% the direct fault of the author(s) and editors. And
> of the time its because those writers and editors do not understand the
> technology they are documenting. Too much of the work is done in a vacuum
> editors who won't "dirty their hands" with technology or writers who
> consistently misunderstand how to use the very products they're

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Re: Article: "Living Documentation": From: Andrew Plato

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