Re: Sam Clemens is dead

Subject: Re: Sam Clemens is dead
From: Richard Mateosian <srm -at- C2 -dot- ORG>
Date: Tue, 4 Oct 1994 09:10:47 -0700

>Simple truth is that the technology required for online documentation to truly
>replace paper isn't here yet. Paper still does a good number of things better
>than online does, perhaps better in these areas than online ever will.

>[Analogy with mountain bike sales. Newer doesn't mean better.]

Many of the responses to "the paper software manual is dead" take the form
of "but online documentation presents the following problems..."

I never said that online documentation would replace paper software manuals.
What I tried to convey is that the essentially linear and passive medium of
paper (or online) manuals cannot represent the complexity of modern software

Some who replied understood this but took it to mean that the burden would
have to move to the software developer. This is true, but help authoring
tools have allowed technical communicators to get their noses under this
tent. Far more powerful tools will follow. We should take a hand in defining
them, because we'll be the ones who have to use them. ...RM

Richard Mateosian Technical Writer in Berkeley CA srm -at- c2 -dot- org

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