Re: huh?

Subject: Re: huh?
From: guy <guy -at- hiskeyboard -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Thu, 08 May 2003 10:32:50 -0700

Mark Baker wrote:
. . .

There is a persistent belief in the TW community that the average user is
inexperienced and ignorant of the product they have bought. I suppose this
is a product of the late lamented tech boom when we were all suddenly buying
and using our first word processor, our first spreadsheet, etc. But it is
not the normal state of things. People mostly buy things of a type they are
familiar with, whose functions and use they know well.

The myth of the ignorant editor and the myth of the ignorant writer are both
derived from the myth of the ignorant user. . . .

There's ignorance and ignorance. I document APIs. I spent the first
half of my career as a programmer, and the second half now as a writer.

I always try to assume my API-user audience knows how to program,
knows how to use an API, but is (largely) ignorant about the API
under discussion and the specific system that this API connects to.

What would I, as a programmer, need to know about the software system
in order to effectively use the API?

When I documented COBOL for Tandem, I tried to think like a programmer
who knows IBM mid-size or mainframe systems, but did not know about the
peculiar architecture of Tandem NonStop systems. IBM talked about link
editing, where Tandem talked about binding. I made sure the index had
an entry "Link edit, see Binder".

We need to be aware of that kind of ingnorance in our readership.

Guy K. Haas
guy -at- hiskeyboard -dot- com | gkhaas -at- usa -dot- net &
Software Exegete in Silicon Valley


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RE: huh?: From: Mark Baker

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