RE: "Two-tracked documentation"

Subject: RE: "Two-tracked documentation"
From: "John Locke" <john -at- freelock -dot- com>
To: "'Mark Baker'" <mbaker -at- omnimark -dot- com>, "'TECHWR-L'" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Tue, 14 Dec 1999 12:28:00 -0800

Mark Baker writes:
>If you want ham and eggs, you needs ham, and you need eggs. It is pointless
>to argue which is more important. The whole point of ham and eggs is that
>you have both ham and eggs. Sine qua non.

Yes, this is true... my point is, though, you cook the eggs separately from
the ham.

If you cook them all together, you get some unidentifiable breakfast, with
either burnt eggs or raw ham.

Typically, a complete set of documents has several parts. Marketing may need
an overall description of a product that DOES NOT NEED technical accuracy
beyond a certain level of specificity-in fact, too much detail may give away
trade secrets. But there needs to be enough accurate technical information
for potential buyers to assess whether the product will address their needs.

Then, you may need a set of instructions for administrators to install and
configure a complex program, step-by-step, covering information that end
users of the product never need to know.

A users guide may cover a completely different part of a product, and not go
into the technical administration.

A reference manual may cover all features and all configuration details of a
product, and should be organized however it makes sense. This type of
document may not need to consider the audience at all.

These are all technical writing... we, as technical communicators, need to
assess the purpose of each document, and choose what is most important for
that document.

--John Locke

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