Re: one manual for two ...?

Subject: Re: one manual for two ...?
From: "Bergen, Jane" <janeb -at- ANSWERSOFT -dot- COM>
Date: Tue, 12 May 1998 14:10:07 -0500

> -----Original Message-----
> From: JONESC [mailto:JONESC -at- DSTM -dot- COM]

> Our company developed an html-based product that interfaces with our
> flagship product line (5 versions). 90% of the new
> application is identical
> across all editions of the main product. However, in one
> version, we added a
> single feature that makes the last 10% different in one of
> the versions.
> This difference equates to a single screen shot, paragraph, and field
> addition.
> My question is this:
> Would it be better to (a) create one manual that covers all
> option including
> the version differences within each section as notes to the
> user, (b) create
> one manual that covers all option including the version differences as
> separate sections, or (c) create another manual for the
> different version.


I vote for option b above. If you bury the version differences in the
text (your option A), it's a nightmare to maintain and it's confusing to
the readers who are NOT using that version. You can put cross-references
in the text (something like, "See Appendix B - Whatever Title" for
version specific information), but to put the whole thing there causes
your readers to have to stumble around to pick up the thread again. If
you produce separate manuals (option C), you're in for lots of extra
work to keep the general sections synchronized when you update your

Been there, done that!

Jane Bergen, Technical Writer
AnswerSoft, Inc.
Richardson, TX (972)997-8355

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