Re: Which is first: online or paper?

Subject: Re: Which is first: online or paper?
From: Brett -dot- Peruzzi -at- FDC-INVEST -dot- COM
Date: Tue, 5 Mar 1996 07:52:41 -0500

My group does much of what Peter Kent said, for similar reasons. However,
although we start with a a "paper" file (MS Word .DOC file), we actually
*publish* the Winhelp file first. The print user guide is completed later in the
development cycle, since it typically takes longer than a help file, and the
engineers and testers want the online help during beta so it can be tested with
the rest of the software.

Our process, summarized, is as follows:

Use Word to write help topics, in the hierarchical structure the help file will
need, using a Doc-to-Help template, and do some basic formatting of heading
levels, etc.

Print .DOC file and distribute for editorial and technical review.

After text is revised, insert remaining Winhelp codes and hyperlinks, build
comprehensive search list of terms.

Compile help file, test and debug as necessary.

*Then,* to construct a user guide, we'll go back to the .DOC file and cut and
paste much of the material into a new .DOC file.

I was especially heartened to hear Peter state the reality behind the myth of
single-source help/user guides. We've never done it, despite Wex-Tech's
marketing claims that it can be done. Why should we use a shortcut to produce an
information product that doesn't meet the audience's needs?

Brett Peruzzi
First Data Investor Services
Boston, MA
Brett -dot- Peruzzi -at- fdc-invest -dot- com

"Speaking for myself only"


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