Re. Customizing manuals with databases

Subject: Re. Customizing manuals with databases
From: geoff-h -at- MTL -dot- FERIC -dot- CA
Date: Tue, 20 Feb 1996 11:08:49 -0600

Bonni Graham wrote about a solution for customizing manuals
for software that can itself be customized by shipping
various combinations of modules. The solution involved
using a database approach to assemble customized manuals
based on the specific combination of modules.

A great idea, but one very big CAUTION: I once received a
GM car owner's manual that had been produced this way, and
somebody got careless at the assembly stage. Several times,
the manual referred to an entirely different vehicle, and
thus the information was worthless to me. (The reference
was not intended as a point of comparison: it was simply a
case of inserting the wrong chunk of text and graphics into
the manual.)

Bottom line? The database approach is a great production
tool, but make sure someone reads through (edits!) the
final manual to be sure that everything is correct _and_
that it makes sense in the specific custom context.

--Geoff Hart @8^{)}
geoff-h -at- mtl -dot- feric -dot- ca

Disclaimer: If I didn't commit it in print in one of our
reports, it don't represent FERIC's opinion.


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