Re: what are the best books in our field?

Subject: Re: what are the best books in our field?
From: Anthony Markatos <tonymar -at- HOTMAIL -dot- COM>
Date: Sat, 18 Apr 1998 12:39:27 PDT

>
>
>
>Mark asked:

"If you had the money, I mean really had the money,
>like a thousand dollar budget, and then some, to spend on books, what
>books would you get? "

>
Tony Markatos Replies:

BY FAR the best book that I have read in the area of technical
communications is STRUCTURED SYSTEMS ANALYSIS AND SPECIFICATION by Tom
DeMarco (Yourdon Press, 1979). I first read this book in conjunction
with a company class that I took in 1982. The book had a big impact on
me then and ahs had significant impact on me each of the several times
that I have reread it since.

The book is about creating software requirements specifications -
probably the most difficult task in software engineering. And yet, it
is so clear and concise that a 10th grader can understand it. It is a
truly remarkable work.

Technically, the book is about systems analysis (not technical writing).
However, at its root, it is about technical communications. The primary
topic is how to create flow chart like diagrams (called data flow
diagrams) that very uniquely focus on capturing the flow of data in a
software system.

Its main message is that "only by following the flow of data is it
possible to understand the underlying logic of a system". And, as I
have clearly discovered in the work world, this understanding is THE key
input to any software technical communications project (whether it be
software requirements specs, end user manuals, operational procedures,
or system test procedures).

Striving to implement the methods proposed in this book has always been
my career focus. I find that having its principles in the fore-front of
my mine to be of great benefit in either systems analysis or technical
writing projects.

Tony Markatos
(tonymar -at- hotmail -dot- com)

"SHOW ME YOUR DFD'S"


>
>Check out topic summaries at
http://www.raycomm.com/techwhirl/topics.htm
>
>
>


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