Re: Limitations where?

Subject: Re: Limitations where?
From: Mike Pope <mikep -at- ASYMETRIX -dot- COM>
Date: Mon, 11 Apr 1994 11:45:00 PDT

It's always useful to have someplace the list of legal limits or whatever --
max size of this, minimum requirement for that. That type of information
tends to be a little abstract, however, and what's probably useful is to
note as you go what the effect is of that limit. Not just "maximum size of
string in a variable = 64K", but "you can join strings together with the
xxxxx operator, up to the maxiumum variable-size limit of 64K". You know,
stuff like that. Even slightly more abstract, and less popular yet with the
marketeers, is anticipating where they *might* have problems and trying
to warn them. A mythical example that would probably not be allowed:
"Display bitmaps with the xxxxxx command. This process requires substantial
memory, so if you do not have at least xxxxxxx of RAM, you might experience
out-of-memory errors when attempting it." Nonetheless, technical support
is always grateful when you've attempted to tell people where they might
approach limits.

-- Mike Pope
mikep -at- asymetrix -dot- com
>To: Multiple recipients of list TECHWR-L
>Subject: Limitations where?
>Date: Sunday, April 10, 1994 9:38AM

>When writing about a product or a program, where do you normally
>include its limitations?

>** All kinds of places, depending on when the user needs to be told or
> reminded of the limitation. Examples:

> "This is a kosher turbo-oven and will reject all pork products."
> -- Right up front. Someone may want to return the
> machine immediately. Put the note at the start of the
> manual, prominently in the ReadMe, and/or even in the marketing
> materials.

> "For health reasons, be sure not to undercook pork products."
> -- Some relevant place in the body of the instructions, such as
> the timer. Could be in the ReadMe too.

> "If the pig won't fit into the oven, don't climb in and try to
> pull it after you."
> -- Appendix or ReadMe.

> The midground is where the issue gets tricky. On the one hand, some
> operational provisos could be relevant to many different procedures
> and can seem too prominent if you repeat or reference them too many
> times, while on the other hand an "Always Remember The Following Stuff"
> section on page 5 won't help the user on page 87.

> Also, marketing people may tell you to downplay the limitations, while
> R&D people may warn you (or worse yet, may not warn you) that the
> limitations are difficult to calculate and subject to change during
> the life of the manual.
>Mark L. Levinson, SEE Technologies, Box 544, Herzlia, Israel
>mark -at- dcl-see -dot- co -dot- il | voice +972-9-584684, ext. 230 | fax +972-9-543917

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