RE: Should software documenters learn to read code?

Subject: RE: Should software documenters learn to read code?
From: "Mark Lewin" <mlewin -at- esriuk -dot- com>
To: <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Thu, 12 Feb 2009 17:04:34 -0000

I've always taken the view that you should have as much knowledge of the
software as you intend to impart to your target audience in the
documentation you are creating.



So, if you're creating a 'how to' guide for non-technical end-users, you
don't need to look at the code. You should assume, like you want your
users to assume, that it "just works".



If you're creating a 'how to' guide for developers, then you need to
understand the API they will interact with, not how it works behind the
interfaces, functions and properties, etc that your audience will be
programming against. Clearly then you will need to be able to read code
and get an idea of what it's doing, but you should be able to rely on
your SMEs to fill in the blanks.



If you know too much, the tendency is to want to share what you know.
That might not be appropriate, depending on the technical level of your
audience.



Just my 2 cents... ;-)



Mark



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