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I think the attitude (or expectation) that writers don't need to see the software
is quite common. As many times as I've been shown the red carpet to the
latest software build, I've just as many times had to argue or cajole my
way in. Sometimes they just don't think you need it; sometimes it just isn't
working yet. I think the hardest attitude to overcome is the "it isn't finished
yet - it's going to change!" mindset - the devs who think they can't give you
anything that isn't perfect - that if it changes, you'll be upset.
Many a time, I've created APi/SDK documentation without actually playing
with the code. And with GUI applications, I've worked from screengrabs, or even the resource file in which all of the screens and dialog boxes
were defined. I've even blocked out a page or two of documentation from
comments like, "oh, yeah - we're going to make it prompt the user to
save on exit." Heck. I've been around software long enough to know what
a message box with OK and Cancel buttons looks like.
I like to refer to that kind of documentation project as Speculative Non-
As long as it all gets verified at the end, it works just fine. And sometimes,
it's the only way to finish the docs on time.
> From: "Diana Ost" <Diana -dot- Ost -at- msmcorp -dot- com>
> >I have a question for the group:
> >How many of you have been asked to document a software application, but
> >were not expected to need access to that software?
> >It's happened to me a few times where I had to explain that I can't
> >document what I can't see. I was wondering how prevalent this attitude
> >is from businesses?