os/2 docs

Subject: os/2 docs
From: mpriestley -at- VNET -dot- IBM -dot- COM
Date: Tue, 26 Apr 1994 13:30:38 EDT

Karen (karenk -at- netcom -dot- com) wrote:
>mpriestley -at- VNET -dot- IBM -dot- COM said:
>> As far as users feeling ripped off by an application that ships as disks
>> with no manual, look at OS/2. Nearly all of the information is online.

>Funny you should mention this. It was the OS/2 documentation that
>convinced me I could be a technical writer. I haven't used it now
>for ten months, but the documentation (both paper and online) struck
>me as woefully inadquate and poorly presented.

While I'm glad OS/2 had such a positive influence on your career choice,
I thought perhaps I should clarify my original post somewhat.

1) I definitely agree that the OS/2 documentation could be and should be
improved. It needed a final proofread that it evidently didn't get, and
they made a number of choices that I disagree with. The OS/2 docs _should_
have been a showcase for what IPF can do, and they weren't.

2) My main point was that, despite this, OS/2's documentations received
good reviews. This probably reflects the industry standards at the time,
and now that better examples of online help are available, the original
OS/2 help doesn't look quite so revolutionary.

3) All that being said, I don't think we should let the documentation's
faults blind us to its virtues, especially as they relate to the
possibilities of online documentation in general. As examples: a search
facility that can search the index, the topic, the whole manual, or
_all_the_manuals_ for a key word or phrase; a Master Help Index that
automatically includes specified entries from all help libraries on the
systemand back; system-wide help, always available; help for every system
message; etc. If they weren't perfectly implemented, they were at least
implemented, and I _still_ think they're _great_ ideas!

As an additional disclaimer here, I write help on the OS/2 platform, but
you haven't seen any of it; all my work up till now has been on
IUO (Internal Use Only) applications. Just making sure I don't get
the blame (or credit) for the work of others.

Take care,

Michael Priestley
mpriestley -at- vnet -dot- ibm -dot- com
Disclaimer: I'm speaking on my own behalf, not on behalf of IBM.

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