Re: CD-ROM and Internet Documentation

Subject: Re: CD-ROM and Internet Documentation
From: Janet Valade <janetv -at- MAIL -dot- SYSTECH -dot- COM>
Date: Wed, 30 Sep 1998 09:27:59 -0700

> Becky Roberts wrote:
> <snip>We are interested in knowing if you deliver documentation by both
> CD-ROM and over the internet. <snip>
We provide our documentation by both CD-ROM and over the Internet.
We provide two formats on both--HTML and PDF. Our belief is that PDF is for
those who want to print the info and HTML is for those who want to use it
online, with searching, hyperlinks, etc.

The Internet HTML version is the most up-to-date. If I find any
changes that need to be made, I make them immediately in that version. I
describe that version as based on The XYZ Guide, Revision B, with the
following changes: I then list the differences between the print version
and the Internet on-line version. The other versions have to wait for the
revisions until the next official release of the manual and the CD.

Our software is updated at least quarterly. Depending on the
significance of the changes, I will do a revision of the manual or a new
document called release notes. These new manuals can be made available much
faster over the Internet than by CD. Once they are ready, they can be loaded
onto the Internet immediately, but the CD has to go off to be duplicated and
packaged which takes some time.

In general, our existing customers get software updates from the
Internet, downloading them and installing them into our hardware themselves.
Our software and docs are targeted to system administrators who can do these
things. Thus, existing customers are unlikely to even get the new, updated
CD. The Internet docs are pretty essential for these customers. New
customers who buy our hardware are the ones who get the CD, along with the
hardware. These customers need the docs to be on the CD. They get a small,
getting started paper doc that fits inside the CD case that provides just
enough info to connect and configure the hardware. This is our only doc that
actually gets printed any more.

I can't seem to decide what to call the "print" version since we
don't actually print it any more. It seems inacurate to just talk about the
on-line version and the print version. I seem to have started calling it the
"print version in PDF format". Any better ideas?


Janet Valade
Technical Writer
Systech Corp, San Diego, CA
mailto:janetv -at- systech -dot- com

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