Re: Doc for multiple interfaces

Subject: Re: Doc for multiple interfaces
From: Janet_Valade -at- SYSTECH -dot- COM
Date: Thu, 24 Apr 1997 10:56:37 PST

Produce a separate doc for each style of screen?
Produce one doc that includes all styles of screens?
Pick one style of screen and produce doc using it, not showing others?
Produce doc that does not have any screen images?

I think it depends to some extent on how different the interfaces are.
If the interfaces are almost identical and would just require an
occasional note saying, "if you are using this, press this instead",
one doc could work. If the screen when you first call it up isn't
even similar, separate docs might be best. Personally, I think if
there is very much difference, the separate doc avoids confusion and
frustration. SPSS and/or SAS do this, or used to. They have a
reference manual for the language commands, which you can even enter
in your own ASCII editor and run batch if you want, and those are
basically the same on all platforms. Then they have different manuals
for using the front end to manipulate and analyze the data without
directly editing the language commands themselves or to edit them
using the SPSS/SAS front end. Using the front ends on UNIX or Windows
or Mac used to hardly resemble each other at all, so that was the best
way. However, SPSS and SAS have been working hard toward the goal of
having the same interface on all platforms so that the separate manual
thing may not be needed any more.

It also depends on how complex your software is. If the software only
does 3 or 4 things, separate manuals are probably not required even if
you need to provide 2 or 3 different instruction sets for each of
those 3 or 4 things.


Janet Valade
Technical Writer
Systech Corp, San Diego, CA
janet_valade -at- systech -dot- com

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