Re: Worries about tools

Subject: Re: Worries about tools
From: "Sharon Burton-Hardin" <sharonburton -at- earthlink -dot- net>
To: "Chris Despopoulos" <cud -at- arrakis -dot- es>, "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Thu, 9 Dec 1999 08:06:57 -0800

I have just started with my first cup of coffee, but let me re-phrase the
original question a little:

" I am a programmer. I have used Visual C++ Studio (or whatever it is called
now) in all of my previous jobs. I am thinking about a job in a company that
uses a text editor to write C++. Should I be worried about this? "

While many of us are not programmers, I think we would all agree this is a
silly question and we would tell the programmer to run like hell. Using the
appropriate tool is part of the level of professionalism of the shop.

After having to step in a finish a Word project recently that my writer
completely blew, I can now say with confidence that Word has got to be the
worst tool for writing complex technical manuals on the market. I could not
believe how difficult it was to use, how unstable it was and how frightening
the large, nearly complete manual was. The design of Word allowed my writer
to be lazy and have very bad habits, many of which will eventually corrupt
the manual we gave the client. Word seemed to reinforce the bad habits. -
Note here: Please don't send me flames off or online about how you have used
Word to create thousands of pages of manual and never had a problem. All you
had to do was very complicated things that took 30% of the total project
time, etc...

I say that a shop that refuses to allow the writers to use professional
writing tools has a lack of respect for what the writers are doing. A shop
that only gave Paint to the graphic artist also would show a lack of respect
for the artist, and so on. Word is completely the wrong tool for what we do.
Does my company take clients who want to use it? Yes. Do we charge more for
that effort? Yes. Do we plan more time to deal with Word? Yes. Do I hate
Word for tech writing. Yes.

Now I need more vanilla caramel coffee.


Sharon Burton-Hardin
President of the Inland Empire chapter of the STC
Anthrobytes Consulting
Check out!

----- Original Message -----
From: Chris Despopoulos <cud -at- arrakis -dot- es>
To: TECHWR-L <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Sent: Thursday, 09 December, 1999 1:54 AM
Subject: Re: Worries about tools

| First let me say, I'm a FrameMaker weenie all the way.
| Rather than worries about tools, I would worry about overall
| process. If you think the tools indicate process problems,
| then you might have something to worry about... Nobody
| wants to work for a company that forces him/her into a
| process that is inefficient, full of make-work, or just
| plain insulting to the human spirit. But all that is purely
| subjective, and I would rely more on the "vibe" I got from
| the interview than on a list of tools. That, plus maybe
| some answers to pointed questions about, um, process.

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