Re: Chapter Numbering

Subject: Re: Chapter Numbering
From: Stuart Burnfield <slb -at- FS -dot- COM -dot- AU>
Date: Wed, 15 Oct 1997 16:51:57 +0800

This, slightly paraphrased, is what I was told by a friend (now one
of our tech support guys, formerly a kernel-hacking propellerhead):

"Stuff before the TOC is crap. Stuff after the TOC is meat.
Make the meat as meaty as possible. Make the crap as short
as possible. If I need to read and type at the same time,
make sure the book folds in half and lays flat."

John's advice resulted in my changing to wire-O binding and cutting
the preparatory material (manual title and copyright notices) to a
single sheet of paper. I also cut a lot of fluff from Chapter 1,
'Getting Started', which now contains:

About this manual
Who should use this guide
Management Overview
Benefits of <product>
<product> modules
Technical Overview
Installation, configuration & licensing
Starting <product>
Software environment & user interface
For More Information

This runs to about 13-15 pages or 2000-2500 words, depending on the
product. I'd like it to be even shorter but I can live with that.
Previously I had a one-page preface/overview, then an Intro chapter,
then an Overview chapter, then zzzzzzzzzzzzz......

The idea is that with a five minute skim a manager could learn roughly
what the software is for and why it's worth all the money they paid,
and a techo/end user could learn "how much of a hassle is this going
to be to install? How badly is it going to mess up my nice tidy system?
What does it do anyway?"

Yours tersely
Stuart Burnfield
Functional Software Pty Ltd
mailto:slb -at- fs -dot- com -dot- au

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