Thoughs on reproducing what's on screen

Subject: Thoughs on reproducing what's on screen
From: "Brierley, Sean" <Brierley -at- Quodata -dot- Com>
To: TECHWR-L <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Fri, 1 Oct 1999 11:44:47 -0400


On one of my current projects I have a dilemma.

One feature of the software is a report generator. The software includes
some 35 standard reports and the capability of making customer-defined
reports. The development team wants to help the customer determine whether
their needs are met by one of the included standard reports before the
customer goes to the trouble of making a cusomized report.

The development team wants, included in the book, the first page of each of
the 35 reports, so the customer can browse the book and look at the reports
to see what information each includes. The thought is that the customer
would browse these 35 pages to determine whether a customized report is
really needed.

I am balking at this and would like to know whether you guys think me
reasonable, or not.

The reports are designed to print to a default printer at US-letter size. I
woulod capture each by printing to a PS file and making a PDF, which I would
subsequently import into FrameMaker. I print my my FrameMaker book to PDF
for creation of a hardcopy book that ships with the software and send the
PDF as an electronic book. As a company, we provide updates to the
electronic books on our web sites. In addition, using WebWorks Publisher, I
then convert the printed material to HTML help.

Because the reports are page-sized, I must reduce each to fit in the
FrameMaker publication. Additionally, each PDF must be about 30k, time 35
files. The PDF without these reports is 6MB. I would probably use
conditional text to exclude these report pictures from the CHM (HTML help).

Nonetheless, I am opposed to adding the 35 pictures because of the file
bloat they cause and because I dislike reproducing what a user sees on their
computer screen. Instead, I prefer to add a short, bulletted, admittedly
unexciting text list of key information each report provides. Am I
unreasonable in this? What do you guys think? Reproduce the first page of
the report, as described, or no?

Also, I am "technically" working on another "must-have-tomorrow" project
<vbg>. This information on reports came to me this a.m., for a release . . .
this afternoon. Obviously, it's . . . er . . . not doable for this release,
as I have pointed out. Otherwise, the book for the product in question, and
the online help, has been done for two weeks now (developers are still, as I
write this, tweaking the software <huge grin>). I understand, fully, that
this deadline activity is par for the course.

Anyway, I look forward to hearing your thoughts.

sean -at- quodata -dot- com

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