System Documentation

Subject: System Documentation
From: Bruce McCowan <bmccowan -at- GR8DANE -dot- COM>
Date: Wed, 23 Sep 1998 14:20:41 -0400

I am hoping for some opinions on what constitutes good system documentation
for a Windows application. That is, this very technical documentation is
intended to support the maintenance and enhancement of the application by
programmers (say Visual Basic).

Should the writer assume that all users of the document are expert VB
programmers who are familiar with every slick coding routine that your
programmer could possibly have included in the application? (In otherwords,
how do you decide which sections of code really cry out for explanation?)
How much info should accompany an API call? Is a hard copy manual even
advisable -- should the documentation be on-line with links to the VB Help?
Does anyone know of a software tool / add-in that extracts the procedures /
arguments from the Visual Basic code (thus punching out a skeleton for the
systems document)? Or is it better to show simply and graphically how the
application supports the business requirements: major inputs, macro
processes, databases (thus largely ignoring the details)? (But then, are
these graphic representations more to help reassure the business owners /
managers that the programmer has done what they were paying for?)

Many Thanks for your comments and opinions.

Bruce McCowan, P.Eng.
Great Dane Consultants
Fax 485-3136
bmccowan -at- gr8dane -dot- com

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