Re: Advice for manuals

Subject: Re: Advice for manuals
From: "Doug, Data Librarian at Ext 4225" <engstromdd -at- PHIBRED -dot- COM>
Date: Thu, 15 Dec 1994 09:18:55 -0600


This is written in reply to:

[Explanation of the highly-customized nature of her employer's products]

...Ideally, they'd like to produce manuals that are *only what the customer
ordered*... The idea is that I will write it, and someone else will build
the software will have a part number for the text
associated with Z,A,M, and R...Well, what about a table of contents?

Tools: Today I'm using Word for Windows 2.0c. The rumor is that by
1995, Word for Windows 6.0 will be loaded....

I attacked a similar problem at another employer, but left before the
solution could be implemented. My tool was WordPerfect, but Word may be
even better-suited to the task.

Get into WordBasic, Microsoft's wonderful macro language. Also, get Word
6.0 as soon as humanly possible; it has extensions you will need.

Assuming your manuals are highly modular (your message implies this)
break the modules for each feature down into separate files. Then,
create a master file for each combination of features, including the front
matter and other material common to that combination, and insert the
feature module files via code. Generate the file by updating the codes
and print. Depending on the variability of your product, you can either
print up a copy for each combination, put them in a storage rack and have
your doc distributor Xerox as needed, or you can generate them on demand,
based on customer orders. WordBasic can help you with this by generating
custom menus and interactive dialog boxes, etc.

Budget: None. I'm often expected to produce blood from stone, and
unfortunately, I've done that. I was too young; I hadn't learned that
once you stay and work an extra 20 hours to meet the crisis, that the
crisis will occur every month and you're expected to pull it off.

You can't implement this on no budget and no time. Becoming familiar with
WordBasic takes time, and using the solution requires lots of processing
power and acres of disk space. You admit that you've goofed up once in
the working day department by overcommitting; don't do it again in capital
budget. In business, commitment equals money; if management truly cares
about this, they will be willing to pay for it. If they don't care, why
should you kill yourself over the issue? Stand firm.


Doug "Farm policy, although it's complex,
ENGSTROMDD -at- phibred -dot- com can be explained. What it can't be
is believed."
- P.J. O'Rourke

Previous by Author: Re: Salary Question
Next by Author: Re: Reasons for online
Previous by Thread: Re: Advice for manuals
Next by Thread: Re: Advice for manuals

What this post helpful? Share it with friends and colleagues:

Sponsored Ads