Re: What Program Do You Use for Software Documentation?

Subject: Re: What Program Do You Use for Software Documentation?
From: quills -at- airmail -dot- net
To: "Paul Weir" <Pweir -at- bju -dot- edu>, <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Wed, 22 Oct 2008 16:30:51 -0500

Most people agree that Word, in any incarnation isn't the choice if
your documents are large, complex, need strict adherence to styles,
fast editing capability or flexibility.

For short documents without intense use of cross-references,
variables to standardize phrases, tables of content, indices, lists
of tables, figures or what have you, then Word isn't bad. Once you go
over a few pages or someone want's your final document to have
hypertext cross-references, then you need a more capable program.

Adobe FrameMaker. It has more capability than does Word. It also
comes with Adobe Acrobat bundled with it. It is capable of producing
structured SGML or XML should you want that.

You didn't say what kind of documentation. Help or manuals? If you
are producing PDF, then FrameMaker is very well integrated with
Acrobat to do that.

I would also recommend using comment enabled PDF for reviews.

As for structured documents (XML) you will need a lot of effort and
education before even starting on XML. It has long-term benefits, one
of which is the ability to transform it into other formats, HTML
being one of those formats.

It's not a simple answer because your question isn't really that
simple. Given my preferences, I'd use FrameMaker for any
documentation effort as the source tool. Yes, it's that good.


At 1:22 PM -0400 10/22/08, Paul Weir wrote:
>I just started working as a Technical Writer a couple months ago and
>have been using Microsoft Word thus far to write user-documentation
>for a couple of in-house software programs. I have also recently
>been interested in learning more about using XML for this purpose,
>but am not sure it would be a benefit to me in my small IT
>So, I ask as a novice, what software do you all use for your
>technical writing and why?
>Paul Weir

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What Program Do You Use for Software Documentation?: From: Paul Weir

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