Platform-specific writing styles

Subject: Platform-specific writing styles
From: Barbara Hallnan <barbara -at- EJV -dot- COM>
Date: Fri, 27 Oct 1995 09:04:06 -0400

Bill asks whether there's a specific writing style
for documenting Windows applications, and for each

As far as I know, the Macintosh is the only platform
that has a specific style one must adhere to when
documenting Mac software products. It's detailed in
the Apple Publications Style Guide. You can get a copy
Apple Computer, Inc.
PO Box 319
Buffalo, NY 14207-0319
APDA -at- applelink -dot- apple -dot- com

I've written a few Apple guides. The style is less formal
and there are naming and usage conventions for using
Apple widgets. Even after studying the style guide, I
was edited to death by the Apple editor, so they are
pretty serious about it.

I've never worked for IBM, but I understand that they have
a more formal style. Maybe someone else can comment.

I've never heard of a style guide for Windows applications.
I always browse a few existing guides for similar types of
applications on whatever platform I'm working on to see what
kind of style other folks use. Style depends on the type of
documentation you're doing, too. Right now I document APIs
for UNIX/Motif environment, and I mimic OSF's API doc style.
Program documentation is by nature a bit more formal than
end-user stuff, so as always, keep the audience in mind.

Hope this helps.

barbara -at- ejv -dot- com

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