Re: Programming Tools -- How Prevalent Are They? - LONG

Subject: Re: Programming Tools -- How Prevalent Are They? - LONG
From: Bill Bledsoe <bill -at- ENVISION -dot- COM>
Date: Fri, 31 May 1996 12:07:31 -0500

Don, List,

Well speaking for those of us who document OO projects with Journalism
degrees... (Soapbox appearing from under the desk cubicle... staff
members running for their lives....)

I DON'T think you need (nor I would argue want) a programming background to
document any sort of
development effort. What I feel you DO need is an aptitiude for this stuff,
and to not shut-out new concepts and
information as "too techie."

Why you ask? I have seen too many engineers turned tech comms who
couldn't communicate their
way out of a wet paper bag. In addition, I have found a direct correlation
between the skill level and the inadequacy of their communications skills:
The higher the skill level of engineer, the more their writing style
resembles
a text book.

When authoring reference information, the text book doesn't cover it any
more gang. The younger gens (like gen X and below... to which I belong by
the way) don't have the attention span to pour over reams of DBC's (dense
blocks of crap) to find out how to sub-class a function. And, lets face
facts. The people pioneering and using the newer techniques (especially
true OO, not VB or other screen scapers) are from the younger
"tv-visual-driven" generations. (Bill Gates, Scott McNeely, Marc
Andressen, the guys at Yahoo are just a few examples.)

This problem/trend will only continue to grow as the legions of now
school-aged children transition into the real world, with completely
visually-driven, scanner-reading patterns that have them virtually ignoring
text books all together. Bottom line, the Civics book can't compete with a
"history of gov't in the US" CD produced by Disney or some other multimedia
conglomerate, when it comes to effectiveness of communication. The visual
stuff satisfies more senses... equalling more direct retention and complete
communication. Most engineers do not have the education/training to
communicate visually, to design documents for easy scanning, high retention
and flatter, less confusing hiearchies.

Bottom line to this rant: While I certainly respect greatly the skill it
takes to develop truly portable objects for reuse, I do not think anyone on
the development team I sit with would want me to code high-end CORBA/C++
stuff. I am not trained to accomplish this, and my efforts would injure
the team's overall performance.

In turn, I don't want to have the documentation we produce lessened by
people who are not trained to communicate effectively. It is a team
approach, you do what you do best, I'll do what I do best. Together, as a
team, fulfilling our roles, we will succeed.

Let the flame games begin!!! ;-) (soapbox returns to the underside of the
cube.... the folks here at Envision are quietly returning to their
cubes...)

cheers,
------------------------------------------------------------------------
-----
Bill Bledsoe "Junk moved on line is still junk. You can
Documentation Specialist bet that if they didn't read the printed
Envision version, they won't read the online version
bill -at- envision -dot- com either." Dr. Conrad Gottfredson, online
or documentation guru-guy
intlidocs -at- mo -dot- net
------------------------------------------------------------------------
-----


----------
From: Don Sargent[SMTP:don -dot- sargent -at- TEMPLATE -dot- COM]
Sent: Friday, May 31, 1996 10:10 AM
To: Multiple recipients of list TECHWR-L
Subject: Re: Programming Tools -- How Prevalent Are They?

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