Re: "Design" was Re: Tech Writing a Growing Field?

Subject: Re: "Design" was Re: Tech Writing a Growing Field?
From: HBacheler -at- aol -dot- com
To: doc -at- edwordsmith -dot- com, techwr -at- genek -dot- com
Date: Sat, 7 Apr 2007 17:10:13 EDT

In my last assignment for the US Air Force I hade to develop a
communications terminal system.

This system was a Data Communications Terminal (DCT) 9000, with a UniScope
200 and a cassette drive. I had to select the interface cards and related

I had to develop the interface, the message input and output, and the

It was for 6 Air National Guard Sites.

I had to develop the Users guide, the programmers references, and the
training materials.

I had the responsibility to train it.

I also had to document the code, and test it. The US Army had the
responsibility for testing and approving the application before it could go on-line.

The terminal system that I installed at an ANG base ran from 1977 to 1988
with no 'patches' except for the location of some information on the printout.

In July of 1977 I had to provide information on this terminal application
(card decks, mag tapes, user guides, test materials and 2 days of training) to
some US Army personnel.

I retired in Nov 1977. In January 1978 I went to FT Huachuca to work with
Army programmers. They were in a separate, partitioned area from me.

Several of them came to me and said they had questions about the code and
associated documentation. We discussed the 'documentation' that I had provided,
including why I had written code a certain way, and how well it was

They told me that I had saved them 6 months of work with the thoroughness of
my documentation and the application itself.


What I am trying to say is that if it is documented where others can read it
and understand it, you have done your job.

Technical writing is NOT an art, it is a science. In our world we encounter
a large number of 'prima donnas' who don't appreciate the 'support' that we

It is better to do it right, rather than do it twice!

Enough of my 'ranting'.

Like I said before, been there, done that, still have the coffee cups.
Nothing new under the sun, just a different approach.

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