Re: USA Today article demands printed documentation

Subject: Re: USA Today article demands printed documentation
From: chris <caxdj -at- EARTHLINK -dot- NET>
Date: Tue, 16 Feb 1999 15:14:44 -0500

With all due respect to Garret, this is just one guy's opinion. I'm not
saying he's the only one who holds that opinion, but the article doesn't
give me anything useful one way or the other in terms of decision
making.

While dumping the manuals altogether just to save a few bucks is kind of
foolhardy, there are some instances in which online documentation in
leiu of printed doc isn't so bad.

In my previous job, we included a series of APIs that allowed
programmers to seemlessly work our product into their product. Our goal
was to do away with the paper documentation and replace it with an
HTML-based online solution. I watched how our programmers worked and saw
that they rarely cracked a manual. Instead they used the online help
that was integrated into their development tools. They said that the
design of the tool made the online information more useful than paper.

And, considering the fact that we had several hundred pages of technical
reference documentation about the APIs, that would have been a major
decision.

So if your goal is to get Aunt Martha up and running on her Windows '95
computer, a big old bunch of paper documentation probably isn't a bad
thing. But not everyone is Aunt Martha.

(Good thing, too. That would make Uncle Harvey a bigamist.)

--
Chris Hamilton
Technical Writer
Tampa, FL
caxdj -at- earthlink -dot- net

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