Re: Programmer/Writer?

Subject: Re: Programmer/Writer?
From: "Susan W. Gallagher" <sgallagher -at- expersoft -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Wed, 29 Sep 1999 13:41:11 -0700

At 09:49 AM 9/29/99 -0700, Anthony Markatos wrote:

>I have noticed an increase in job listings for combination
>Programmer/(Technical) Writers. ... write end user
>documentation directly off of code.
>What is the demand for such people? Is this some sort of major new trend?
>Can you recommend any good written materials on this?
>... I had a job where ... the interface
>was so ... poorly designed...I had to tear apart the code to
>figure out what the thing did! ... this a real step backwards.


One would hope that the requirement for writers with programming
skills was not for the reasons you describe. Here's my take on
the issue that makes the requirement a couple of steps forward.

Increasingly, companies are packaging their code to share with
other companies. Object-oriented programming allows a development
team to package up their code in discrete modules and sell it to
other companies. The nature of the code stops the purchasing
team from nosing around, making changes, and pirating the code.

More and more writers are being called upon to produce API and
SDK documentation, and they are unprepared. A company that
anticipates generating multiple APIs may look to a combination
programmer/writer as the best fit for the job.

(Note to STC'ers -- I'll be delivering a session on creating
API docs at the upcoming Region 8 conference. I've also submitted
the session for presentation at Orlando, but acceptance notices
are not due out until December.)

Then too, programmer/writers have an advantage when it comes
to embedding documentation within an application. They're the
folks that get to do wizards and cue cards and the like because
they don't need much in the way of development-team support
to get the job done.

And then there are the writers who actually produce docs for
programmer end users...

Just my two cents.

-Sue Gallagher
sgallagher -at- expersoft -dot- com

The _Guide_ is definitive.
Reality is frequently inaccurate. --Douglas Adams

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