Re: Size of a programming manual

Subject: Re: Size of a programming manual
From: Elna Tymes <etymes -at- LTS -dot- COM>
Date: Mon, 7 Apr 1997 10:46:03 -0700

Pete--

Lucky you! In addition to content, you get to play that famous game
called "Turf Wars!"

Re: the binding -- there have been LOTS of battles fought over binders
vs. perfect binding or other solutions. The basic argument for binders
is that people can easily upgrade the manuals with update sheets. The
truth is that people rarely do that. Users generally don't like to have
to go through the find-and-replace exercise, so they put the update
pages aside and eventually forget them.

There is, at least in Silicon Valley, an option to perfect binding
called "lay flat binding." This method allows the pages of the book to
be bound together, but actually be separate from the cover spine. I've
had a printer drop one such book to the floor to demonstrate how it will
open to a random pair of pages and stay open - i.e., 'lay flat' on the
floor. However, that and other forms of perfect binding cannot be
folded back so that only one page shows. Which scores a point for
spiral binding. But a lot of people believe that spiral binding is not
as professional a look as perfect binding. So there are pluses and
minues to each approach.

> 3) The timeline for this project is 6 weeks. I've been told to allow
> for 2 weeks for printing, narrowing down the horizon to 4 weeks.
> Am I dreaming to think little old me can reorganize, redesign,
> and copy edit 170 pages (in the 81/2x11 format) in 4 weeks? I
> can't find any benchmarks for this kind of activity.

This is called "leaping tall buildings in a single bound." Tech writers
do it all the time. <g> Actually, if you have a good template (in Word
or Frame) you can accomplish much of the reformatting by just opening
the old files in the new template and saving each file under a new
name. You'll still need to check each file for other mistakes, but it's
theoretically possible to get all 170 pages done in 4 weeks, if your
template is complete enough before you start.

Good luck!

Elna Tymes
Los Trancos Systems

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