Re: Windows help article in Feb. Dr. Dobb's Journal

Subject: Re: Windows help article in Feb. Dr. Dobb's Journal
From: "D. Citron" <dcitron -at- GATE -dot- NET>
Date: Tue, 10 Jan 1995 07:03:44 GMT

Fred Wersan (wersan -at- zeus -dot- ma30 -dot- bull -dot- com) wrote:
: original and comments from Dave Citron:
: ----------------------------------
: : To me, writing Help is a one-step process for software developers:
: : 1. Hire a good technical writer.
: You said it!
: : Feedback and comments are appreciated.
: If the excerpts quoted weren't so insulting and stupid, they'd be funny.
: And they wonder why software documentation has such a poor reputation!
: ------------------------------

: Well, yes and no....

: I'm all for developers hiring writers, but I'm thinking about the shareware
: developer selling a product for $15 - 30. Can this person afford a writer?
: If a greater variety of tools will give the developer more options for
creating
: Help files, is that so bad? The Help file will probably be the only documen-
: tation that ships with the product. Anything that gets the developer to spend
: less time on the mechanics and more time on the writing will be to the benefit
: of the file.

Good point, but... People don't have high expectations for shareware docs!

: The proliferation of Help authoring tools is a challenge to all writers. Where
: even a year or two ago, building help files was an arcane task, the differen-
: tiator now is not so much your understanding of secret codes, but your ability
: to produce well written and organized Help. We all have to compete on the
: quality of the end product. There is enough poor Help out there that this
: shouldn't be too daunting a task. Companies that are truly user oriented will
: find their way to the one-step process mentioned in the original posting.

David

"The very purpose of the First Amendment is to foreclose public
authority from assuming a guardianship of the public mind. ... In this
field every person must be his own watchman for the truth, because the
forefathers did not trust any government to separate the truth from
the false for us."
...Thomas v Collins, 323 U.S. 516 (1945)


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