Re: What's with the new docs?

Subject: Re: What's with the new docs?
From: Kent Newton <KentN -at- METRIX-INC -dot- COM>
Date: Tue, 23 Jan 1996 12:32:00 PST

>On 22 Jan 1996 04:29:37 -0600, Shauna Jeanne Jones wrote:

>Probably we are getting phased out ... we're barely part of the projects
>now! And as companies keep searching for ways to cut costs ... why
should
>they keep a tech writer around while they're replacing programmers with
>cheaper foreign labor? Of course, *someone* has to write the online help
>text, and translate the programmers' docs into comprehensible language
...

>We are encouraged by the way Steven Wolfram did Mathematica ... he wrote
and
>published the entire user manual, then made the development team make
the
>software work the way the manual said it did ... Maybe we should be
prepared
>to get more involved in the software design end.

At my company, I work closely with the programming staff during
development. If I run across a problem with the design or simply have a
suggestion on how the interface may be improved for the user, the
programmers are quick to act on it.

>BTW, why not *write* a book for Picture Publisher or Designer? We don't
know
>about PicPub, but Designer has a healthy number of users who might be
>eagerly waiting for a book on their favorite illustration program!

The problem with this is the publishers will only publish books for
software that have a set number of users. They won't publish a book
unless a large enough market exists for it. I don't know if Picture
Publisher or Designer has a sufficient user base to warrant a book. If
it did, a book would probably already be underway.

True, mass market developers may cut back on documentation because of the
glut of third party documentation. Plenty of developers, however,
produce large-ticket items they sell directly to their customers.
Because it isn't a mass market product, there will never be a third
party documentation industry growing out of our product. If our product
is to be documented, we must produce it ourselves.

Kent Newton
Senior Technical Writer
Metrix, Inc.
kentn -at- metrix-inc -dot- com


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