Re: spec writing

Subject: Re: spec writing
From: Chuck Banks <chuck -at- ASL -dot- DL -dot- NEC -dot- COM>
Date: Fri, 14 Jan 1994 07:20:21 CST

For Jill Shapiro, et al:

To get you started, you might try doing three separate specs or
sections to the one spec:

1 - Feature Spec (or section) -- In this spec/section, describe
the user interface and the user's view of what the new
new software will do. This becomes a negotiating tool between
those wanting the software and those writing it.

2 - Functional Spec (or section) - In this spec/section, describe
how the software will function internally to achieve the
external results described in the Feature Spec/section. Be as
detailed as possible. Include flow charts and memory maps.

3 - Software Spec (or section) - In this spec/section, detail the
actual code written to carry out the functions and results
defined in the preceeding specs/sections.

As for format, we use an outline paragraph numbering system:

Section 1, Subsection A, Paragraph 1.1, 1.2, etc., Subparagraph
a., b., etc.

Make your writing style as minimal as possible. Leave out the
indefinite and definite articles as much as possible. Stay away from
passive voice except when emphasizing the object of an action. Keep
sentences short. Use bulleted lists, tables, and figures whenever
possible. Provide a list of figures and a list of tables as well as a
table of contents. Most important, provide comprehensive glossary,
and bibliography or list of references. DON'T USE FOOTNOTES! Put
references in the text. Refer to outside references by TITLE not by
their number in your list of references.

In succeeding issues of the spec(s), provide a list of changes
at the front (put it in a table), and use change bars only to indicate
technical changes. Turn off the change bars when dotting an 'i' or
crossing a 't.'

I hope this helps,

Best Regards!

Chuck Banksx
__ ________ ______
|\\ | || // Chuck Banks
| \\ | ||_______ || Senior Technical Writer
| \\ | || || NEC America, Inc.
| \\| \\______ \\______ E-Mail: chuck -at- asl -dot- dl -dot- nec -dot- com
America, Incorporated CompuServe: 72520,411

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