We can't make stuff up?

Subject: We can't make stuff up?
From: David Hickey <DHICKEY -at- ALIS -dot- COM>
Date: Tue, 13 Jul 1999 16:22:30 -0400


> From: Merrick, Tim [mailto:tim -dot- merrick -at- LSIL -dot- COM]
> I don't mean to sound like a jerk here, but is "Task Menu" a
> documented name?
> I reiterate my point. If it doesn't have a name, don't make
> one up for it.
> But it's not documentation if we start making things up.

This is an interesting point... What if the doodad that you're documenting
doesn't have an official title? Or the only official title is something
cryptic like HungarianWidgetThatPopsUpUnexpectedly, you can't give it a more
user-friendly name?

Lots of doo-hickeys in software have different types of labels. What
programmers called combo boxes, users may call drop-down lists or pull-down
lists. What one book may call a pointer, another book may call a cursor.
Who's right?

I think that as long as you're consistent in your own documentation, you can
occasionally invent your own terms for components that suit your

I know the bevy of ills that last statement can breed, but I would urge
caution at the same time. If there's a standard for a specific type of
component in your chosen industry, use that term. But if after some
research, you can't find a name for it, make one up and use it consistently.

Sometimes, when we writing our documentation, we get to be creative with our
labels 'cause it's what we do! <g>
Be seeing you,

John David Hickey
Montreal, Quebec, Canada eh?

dhickey -at- alis -dot- com
wk: 514-747-2542 ext.: 317
pg: 514-205-9209

No trees were harmed in the writing of this email.
My emails are made from elephant tusks and dolphin meat.
Don't confuse my opinion with my employer's.
Each exists in blissful ignorance of the other.

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