Handling multiple platforms, OSs

Subject: Handling multiple platforms, OSs
From: Pamela Shannon <pam -at- WORKGROUP -dot- COM>
Date: Fri, 14 Jun 1996 08:56:42 EDT

We are facing what must be a common problem, and I wonder
whether anyone can suggest guidelines to help bring order out
of chaos.

We document a software product that runs on many platforms,
under several different operating systems. Functionality is
more or less the same, and some topics apply to all configurations.
But many do not.

The problem is how to structure a book, or chapter, that deals
with information which is different, in part, for one or more
platforms, or for one or more OSs. When the difference is just
between say, UNIX and Windows, we can handle that in text. Or,
if only SGI machines need a special command, we can explain it
as a special case. But when the numbers of possibilities get
big, (e.g. UNIX server, NT client, running on Intel, etc.) the
chapter becomes a maze of headings and exceptions that
just isn't effective.

There is the option of creating separate manuals, or separate
chapters, for each configuration. But this would involve a lot of
repetition -- ergo, maintenance headaches and room for error.

Does anyone out there have a solution?

Pam Shannon
pam -at- workgroup -dot- com
Workgroup Technology Corp.

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