Re: Single Source Documentation

Subject: Re: Single Source Documentation
From: Jodi Israel <jisrael -at- PCIWIZ -dot- COM>
Date: Fri, 19 Feb 1999 17:00:31 -0500


My current firm is not doing printed user manuals anymore. We do have
printed training manuals (and training is required). We create the manuals
(currently in Pagemaker, soon to be Frame ((yay! Thanks to all who helped me
out!) and then create pdfs which we ship along with the Acrobat reader. We
know that many of our customers won't already have the software. We put it
all on our proprietary program CD. Unfortunately the documentation can't be
read directly from the CD, it has to be installed along with the program. I
do not believe that the manuals are available from our website.

At my last company, we had hard copy manuals but included a pdf version and
Acrobat reader (for Mac, Win, and Unix) on our software CD. I know that we
got a license from Adobe (or signed something) that gave us the right to
redistribute Acrobat. We also had an ftp site and we did make documentation
available, but I can't remember in what format. I know for our UNIX product,
we only had ascii text.

We didn't go the HTML route because we wouldn't be able to control how the
electronic version looked to all users.

This is not to say that we didn't have context-sensitive HTML help for our
web-based applications, but not the user manual.

I am not sure whether we tweaked the pdf.

Good luck,

Jodi Israel
Software Trainer and Documentation Writer
PCi Services, Inc.
Boston, MA
jisrael -at- pciwiz -dot- com

> -----Original Message-----
> From: Robin Whitmore [SMTP:robin -dot- whitmore -at- BLUEDOTSYSTEMS -dot- COM]
> Sent: Thursday, February 18, 1999 7:07 PM
> To: TECHWR-L -at- LISTSERV -dot- OKSTATE -dot- EDU
> Subject: Single Source Documentation
> I am the lone tech writer at a very small start-up. I have been given
> complete autonomy in deciding what docs to create and their method of
> delivery. The only requirement is that they be available in both print
> (meaning professionally printed and bound) and electronic format.
> I've decided what docs to create, I'm just not sold on a delivery
> method. I am wondering how other Techwrlers have approached this
> situation. Do you create a PDF version of the printed manual? If so, do
> you revise the PDF to be more user-friendly on screen?
> Do you use HTML instead of PDF? If so, why?
> Any suggestions/comments would be greatly appreciated.
> TIA,
> Robin Whitmore
> BlueDot Systems, Inc.
> San Francisco, CA
> From ??? -at- ??? Sun Jan 00 00:00:00 0000=
> =

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

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