Re: What exactly is minimalist documentation?

Subject: Re: What exactly is minimalist documentation?
From: Len Olszewski <saslpo -at- UNX -dot- SAS -dot- COM>
Date: Tue, 28 Oct 1997 13:46:41 GMT

In article <0825653D -dot- 007F078C -dot- 00 -at- svdatsmtpmta -dot- dp -dot- beckman -dot- com>, Carma C Allen
<ccallen -at- BECKMAN -dot- COM> writes:


|> The purpose of minimalist documentation is to save money and increase
|> profits. That's not necessarily a bad thing, but let's be frank about it.

Well, yes and no.

My understanding of minimalism, at least as it applies to software
products, is that the design of the software itself must serve as
documentation to the largest extent possible. The interface should be
intuitive; implicitly and explicitly self-documenting. The idea is that
if your design makes it obvious what your customers need to do, why
document it elsewhere?

To me, this implies that the software design phase takes usability into
account, which means it is probably more expensive to develop than
software that doesn't. And consciously building minimal documentation
hints into the software, if you do it effectively, seems like it would
be more difficult, and more expensive, as well. It is certainly easier
to write lots and lots of details that users have to plow through than
it is to write just enough for them to do what they need, and put it in
just the places they will look for it.

If you do it right, you probably *deserve* to save a couple of bucks on
Len O. May the farce be with you.
saslpo -at- unx -dot- sas -dot- com - Old Irish Toast

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