Re: The user guide prescribes the program

Subject: Re: The user guide prescribes the program
From: Elna Tymes <etymes -at- LTS -dot- COM>
Date: Mon, 6 Jan 1997 14:03:17 -0800

joe rapp wrote:
> An experienced engineer/manager at NYNEX told me that
> he believes that "The documentation IS the program." This
> means that, for example, on a $60 million software project, they
> FIRST wrote the user guide and designed the screens. Then
> the users tested the guide for usefulness, clarity, etc. This
> first phase took a year and a half. AFTER this was done, the
> programmers were told to write the code -- which they did in
> two weeks.
> This engineer told me it is standard thinking that the
> computer program IS the user guide, while the code is just
> the code. If the program "doesn't work" properly, then
> changes are made to the code -- not vice versa.
Ohpleaseohpleaseohplease -- give us the name of this person, so that his
sainthood can be preserved for future generations!!

No, unfortunately, it is NOT standard to do the docs first and the
coding afterwards. Would that there were more engineering firms who
believed as your friend at NYNEX does - it would cut down on programming
costs and make the job of documenting a program much easier.

As it is, most of us run around chasing programmers and system
designers, or playing with opaque interfaces, trying to figure out what
the program is supposed to do and writing up-beat verbal patch-arounds
when the program is rough or not working right.

<busily erecting a desktop shrine to your NYNEX engineer>

Elna Tymes
Los Trancos Systems

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