RE: Is this the future of technical writing?

Subject: RE: Is this the future of technical writing?
From: "Sweet, Gregory (HEALTH)" <gregory -dot- sweet -at- health -dot- ny -dot- gov>
To: Julie Stickler <jstickler -at- gmail -dot- com>, "Cardimon, Craig" <ccardimon -at- m-s-g -dot- com>
Date: Tue, 28 Oct 2014 16:30:03 +0000

I am not sure I agree with his take. A lot of it does seem to be headed backwards and stripping out features in the name of simplicity. It seems like between this and the article a few days ago about WordPerfect that the pendulum is swinging back toward simpler more focused tools.

For the last few decades or so the trend has been for tools to build in more and more and more features to the point where Word, PowerPoint, Publisher, etc. are almost interchangeable on the standard office desktop. Now it appears that people are tiring of the heavy Swiss Army apps, and are looking for tools that specialize again. I see the point of that.

The problem is that the specialized tools are starting to have the same old feature creep:
"I love the Zen mode of this text editor! I can just focus on my text!"
"Hmm...What is this going to look like when I print it? Oh cool a plugin to show me that."
"Hey Zen-mode-text-editor-plugin-developers, you know what would be neat? If I could just tweak the layout a little while I am in the preview."

-Greg

> -----Original Message-----
> From: techwr-l-bounces+gregory -dot- sweet=health -dot- ny -dot- gov -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
> [mailto:techwr-l-bounces+gregory -dot- sweet=health -dot- ny -dot- gov -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com]
> On Behalf Of Julie Stickler
> Sent: Tuesday, October 28, 2014 10:41 AM
> To: Cardimon, Craig
> Cc: techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
> Subject: Re: Is this the future of technical writing?
>
> Oh sweet baby Jeebus I hope not. I'm not sure if he's the fellow that wrote
> the base Git documentation or not (http://git-scm.com/documentation),
> but I can tell you, it's atrocious. I have struggled for the past two years to
> learn my way around Git. I have read and re-read their documentation as I
> struggled to resolve issues I've had with Git, and as many times as I've read
> it, half of it still doesn't make any sense to me because it's so full of jargon
> and makes huge assumptions about what the
> audience understands. And I don't think it has anything to do with the
> fact that I'm a technical writer and not a developer. because many of our
> developers and QA engineers seem to have trouble doing more than the
> basic functions in Git. We rely a lot on our couple of in-house Git experts to
> troubleshoot problems.
>
> Honestly, I don't care what tool chain you used to write your doc, if the doc
> that you produce is not helpful to your users, then you've wasted everyone's
> time. Yours as a writer, and your audience's as a reader.


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References:
Is this the future of technical writing?: From: Cardimon, Craig
Re: Is this the future of technical writing?: From: Julie Stickler

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