Online documentation: Introductory information

Subject: Online documentation: Introductory information
From: Kibbutz Hannaton <hannaton -at- ACTCOM -dot- CO -dot- IL>
Date: Tue, 15 Sep 1998 11:14:57 +0300

Dear gurus :~)

I am new to the field (although I've been lurking here for
about nine months and have even posted a few times).

My work experience so far has been one SW printed user manual and
I've just finished an installation and operating guide for a
piece of HW (also printed). As much as I can I try to get experience
in various tools and formats (downloading demos of HATs and SW, lots
of reading of TechWhirl archives and many of the resource sites listed
at various web sites).

While I have learned (and read about) online documentation
(font choices, page size, content structure), I still need a better
overview of the subject.

Here's what I'd like to know (thanks for reading this far to get to my
1. What do you think should be considered when deciding how to produce
online docs (PDF, HTML, ?)? What are the general advantages of the
various formats? For example, my company wants to place an HTML file
on their web site for people to download and print out. What are the
stumbling blocks that I should prepare myself for? Are there better
ways to produce online documentation for the web that users will
print out.

2. There are so many questions floating out here with problems
getting PDF files to print the way that they are onscreen. Are
there general issues (not all the specific problems obviously)
that can be summarized to prevent (anticipate?) problems before the
documentation writing begins?

3. With all the newer tools/approaches related to web site construction
out there: where do you think the future of online documentation is
going (I know that this is a personal opinion perhaps, but I'm
trying to gather objective information as much as possible).

I know that my questions are open and basic. Probably I am missing some
basic point here entirely. So educate me. I have gone to the archives, but
nothing that I've found seems to give me the introductory overview that
I'm looking for.

I am ordering Horton's "Designing and Writing Online Documentation," so I'm
not asking for a book here. Just a good "from the trenches" overview

I turn to you busy people to ask if you would please take a few
moments to help me out. I'd be thrilled to summarize to the list.

Thank you,

Debbie Pesach
hannaton -at- actcom -dot- co -dot- il
Kibbutz Hannaton

From ??? -at- ??? Sun Jan 00 00:00:00 0000=

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