Platforms

Subject: Platforms
From: Chuck Melikian <chuckm -at- TEKADM1 -dot- CSE -dot- TEK -dot- COM>
Date: Wed, 12 Apr 1995 11:12:45 PDT

The questions were asked:

>What hardware and software do your companies provide?
>What computer brand do you feel more comfortable using at home and at work?
>What computer do tech writers use most often, Macs or PCs?
>Is either the PC or the Mac more appropriate for creating on-line
documentation?

Our company uses Interleaf running on Sun Sparcstations to create
documentation. Our group provides all the documentation for a division
that does several hundred million dollars of business a year and
we support hundreds products.

We have PCs and Macs in the area, though the Macs are not being replaced
when they die (hard disks primarily). We have a few PCs to support the
Windows software we sell.

As far as which platform the writers feel most comfortable with, it
depends. I have a Mac at home and rarely need to use the PCs at work.
Some writers have PCs at home and naturally, feel very comfortable
with those. No one has a Sparcstation at home. :-) Though we all use
the Unix workstations, we have few that I would say are really
comfortable using Unix; folks just learn to do what needs to be done.
(You know the old adage about Unix: "Manuals? Son, this is Unix, you
just gotta know.)

Though we use Interleaf for our documentation, Marketing uses mostly
Macs. Engineers use Suns and PCs. We frequently need to transfer files
between platforms, so being comfortable enough to move files between
machines (with all that entails) is a necessity.

We do two types of online help. The largest percentage of online help
is simple text that is incorporated into the code for the instrument.
How it is accessed depends on the instrument (oscilloscopes primarily).
The other type of online help is Windows-based. For the Windows help,
we use RoboHelp to create the files and then give the files to the
programmers. Which platform is best depends on how the help will be
implemented. If the help is for a Windows product, develop it on a PC.
The same for a Mac. But, if all you will provide to the programmers is
ASCII text, it doesn't make any difference.

Chuck Melikian
Customer Documentation
Tektronix, Inc.


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