Re: Is Java a good class to take for technical wr

Subject: Re: Is Java a good class to take for technical wr
From: Chuck <writer -at- best -dot- com>
To: techwr-l
Date: Mon, 30 Aug 1999 23:01:16 -0700

Julie,

Not to say that your approach doesn't work for what you do, but I want
to offer a counterpoint that I think illustrates why I think knowing
those things can be useful.

Because I'm advocating for end users, stiving to make the program as
easy to use as possible, I would not only want to explain the program as
it exists, but want to improve the program to make it better for those
end users. If I knew the programming language (at least the basics), I'd
not only be able to suggest to the programming team what changes to
make, I'd have a good idea of (a) whether the changes I recommend would
be technically feasible (as well as economically feasible), and (b) how
some of the changes might be made. I might even take some time to write
some quick n dirty demos to illustrate my ideas.

I'd also be able to understand why some programming decisions were
made--especially when those decisions were made in the interests of
making the programming easier, rather than making the program itself
easier.

Part of it may be me too. I may not know how to work on my car's engine,
but I *do* know how most of it works, the technical aspects--because I
want to know those things.

jboskey -at- wheels -dot- com wrote:
>
> Chris - The answer to this is: It Depends. :)
>
> I am sure there are tech writers who greatly benefit from knowing
> Visual Basic and Java. Personally, I document programs created with
> Visual Basic, don't know a thing about it, and haven't had problems
> because I don't know it. I write the documentation for end-users of
> the systems, so I meet with the programmers who explain the system,
> then I work with the system on my computer, and then I start writing
> about it. The best analogy I can give (don't know where I heard it -
> probably this list years ago) is: You don't have to know how a car's
> engine works to be able to write directions for driving it. But for
> some documentation, knowing what's under the hood probably helps.
>
> I think Visual Basic and Java would be interesting to know, but for my
> job, I don't need them. I don't know if this will help you in your
> decision to drop the class, but I just wanted to assure you that you
> could find a job even if you don't know Java. :)

>
> Hi! I have a question to the list; I'm taking a Java
> class as well as a Visual Basic programming class. They are
> both
> fascinating, but my Java professor is quite the expert but not a
> very good instructor (to put it mildly).
> There are a million and one classes to take, so I wanted to
> check since I'm having second thoughts about this class. Also,
> I am starting my academic teaching year,next week, and am going
> to write a newsletter directed at teachers. It will
> consist of professional development facts and upcoming events.
> So dropping the class may afford me more time to volunteer,
> anyway. Just wanted to check with the list, because you are the
> ones who will know if Java is a good skill to know in your job.
> Any advice would be appreciated. Have a great week everyone!
>

--
"Online help should ignore first-time users and concentrate
on those people who are already successful using the
product, but who want to expand their horizons."
- Alan Cooper
"About Face: The Essentials of User Interface Design"

Chuck Martin
writer"at"best.com www.writeforyou.com

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