Re: Comments on On-Line Docs

Subject: Re: Comments on On-Line Docs
From: Bev Freed <bfreed -at- FASTTAX -dot- COM>
Date: Fri, 12 May 1995 11:57:32 CENTRAL

In article <01HQDN2904AQ000JU3 -at- CORE -dot- Corp -dot- JCI -dot- Com> Arlen -dot- P -dot- Walker -at- jci -dot- com writes:

>Info World carries a letter this week from Hector Santos on the problems with
>On_line Docs. Here they are: (comments, anyone?)

>These are (as near as my typo-laden fingers will allow) the words of Hector
>1) I believe most documentation is completed after the software product is
>finished. So for many vendors there is a tendency and a temptation to release
>the software product without the manual.

>2) There is a major difference between a new product release and an upgrade or
>mature product release without manuals.

>3) On-line documentation increases illegal duplication.

>4) Support costs are higher when manuals are removed. Increased phone support
>required, and you will find an increase in on-line forum messages with
>rudimentary questions.
>Here endeth the quote.

>(I will take responsibility for typos, but the thoughts are straight from Mr.
>What do you think, all ye SW doc-ers out there? Has he a point, or has he only
>exposed the one on his head?

I have had dealings with Mr. Santos in the past. Having dealt with him face
to face, I can assure you that the point on his head is very prominent. Mr.
Santos has a real bugaboo about his manuals. He seethes if anyone takes one
of his formats and runs with it. (See point #3.) And yes, support costs jump
when printed manuals are not replaced by online documentation. However, they
decrease dramatically when online docs are in place. Mr. Santos is a

My two and a half cents.

Bev Freed
Advanced Technology Group, CLR Fast-Tax
Dallas, TX
e-mail: bfreed -at- fasttax -dot- com, bev -at- nss -dot- org

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