Which is first: online or paper?

Subject: Which is first: online or paper?
From: Gwen Barnes <gwen -dot- barnes -at- MUSTANG -dot- COM>
Date: Mon, 4 Mar 1996 16:09:51 GMT

I've done it both ways.Previous projects have always started with paper
manuals, which were then tweaked and massaged into help files after the
books went to print.

We did the help first with the current project, because we had an
interim "preview" release on CD-ROM that needed documentation, but
wouldn't get paper manuals. We then took the help, turned it into paper
manuals, then turned that back into help once the books were done.

-> I use Word and Doc-to-Help, and try as I might, I simply cannot use
-> the same "entity" for both as Wextech suggests. I've tried starting

The two modes require a different approach, both in content and in
presentation. I think you can base one on the other well enough, and
with sufficient planning beforehand, you can minimize the amount of
rewriting that will be required. I do not believe there is a
"pushbutton" solution to creating help from paper, or vice versa, it's
like the difference between writing for print and writing for
broadcast, to use an analogy some of our more worldly cohorts can
relate to.

My methodology is to outline the subject thoroughly before I start -- in
fact I do a large proportion of my writing in the outliner. A good
outline enforces consistency in treatment, helps eliminate oversights
and missing information, and helps organize your document. The worst way
to write a manual, or a help system, is to start at the beginning and
keep going till you get to the end.

Cheers, 805-873-2500
Gwen gwen -dot- barnes -at- mustang -dot- com
MSI * Connecting the world WWW, Telnet, FTP: bbs.mustang.com
@DISCLAIMER@ ` Free speech online `

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