Re: Why manuals?

Subject: Re: Why manuals?
From: Matt Hicks <matt -at- UNIDATA -dot- UCAR -dot- EDU>
Date: Wed, 21 Sep 1994 11:51:21 -0600

On Wed, 21 Sep 1994, Richard Mateosian wrote:

> The paper software manual is dead.

> Nobody has ever learned FrameMaker4 or Word6 or Photoshop3 or any other
> major package by reading the paper documentation supplied with it.

Bzzzzzt! Sorry, thanks for playing. I learned FrameMaker by taking the
Reference Guide and Users Manual and reading them before I ever touched
the software. I've never seen online help that I felt was as useful as a
well-written, well-indexed paper manual. Generally, unless you have a lot
of screen real estate to work with, online help is at least as cumbersome
to work with as a good offline manual. And once I'm familiar with a
package and its docs, I can't flip to the section of the manual that I
need much more quickly than I can navigate to the right window. I
*rarely* refer to online help for anything, and most times that I have I
found that I still needed to grab the manual for a complete explanation.
I fully expect that someday the shortcomings of online help will be
overcome and its true potential will be realized, but it ain't happened
yet, not by a far cry.

See Johnny backstage. We have some lovely parting gifts for you.

Matt Hicks, Tech. Writer, Unidata * I may not agree with what you
Boulder, CO, (303)497-8676, ******* say, but I'll defend to the
matt -at- unidata -dot- ucar -dot- edu ************* death my right to mock you.

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