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RE: Deprecated (was When is it too much information?)
Subject:RE: Deprecated (was When is it too much information?) From:<laura_johnson -at- agilent -dot- com> To:<lauren -at- writeco -dot- net>, <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com> Date:Fri, 22 Feb 2013 16:08:17 -0700
I use the term "deprecated" often, for an audience of software developers, but I agree it would rarely be useful when addressing end users. It doesn't even make sense to me to say that screen text is deprecated. It's either there or it isn't. If you didn't want people to use it anymore, you'd take it away.
For an end user, I could imagine writing that a *procedure* is deprecated. (I'm not saying it would be a good idea to phrase it that way, though.) As in programming, that would mean "You can still do this, but we no longer recommend it, and it may not work in the future." When a procedure or product feature (or class, or method, or function, etc...) is deprecated, it USUALLY means there is now another, better, recommended way to do the same thing, but not always. Sometimes it means "We can't sustain this, so get used to living without it."
It doesn't mean "not supported". Deprecation usually comes a release or two ahead of removing support. Essentially, when you deprecate a feature, you're admitting that people are still using it and may continue to use it, but you're warning them that they need to stop soon. I have also used the phrase "Not recommended for new development." (Obviously that's directed at a programming audience.)
In my experience, it never works to just say "The foo.bar() method is now deprecated." with no further explanation. You need to tell people how they ought to be barring their foo without that method, or you need to break it to them that they just can't bar a foo anymore, while perhaps throwing them a bone by pointing out that they can still bar a floo, which should suffice for most use cases, floo being a subclass of foo which merely has a fixed rather than variable baz. You get the point ... you have to give them more information, which usually allows them to comprehend your message even though they couldn't have recited a definition of the word "deprecated".
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