Through the manual meat grinder

Subject: Through the manual meat grinder
From: Marc Paquette <paquette -at- INFINITY -dot- METROWERKS -dot- CA>
Date: Wed, 26 Jul 1995 09:39:40 -0400

Hello, all,

The doc team I work in has some interesting challenges (don't we all?).

The company I work for produces a software development system. It has tools
that run on the Macintosh to develop software for many platforms
(Macintosh, Power Macintosh, Win32/x86, Magic Cap) and languages (C, C++,
Pascal, Magic Cap). All these tools run under a common environment. The
environment provides a text editor, file management, printing, options, and
so on, for all tools.

The challenges come from the documentation perspective. How do we document
the common elements in the environment and the platform- and
language-specific tools without being redundant?

When the common environment only played host for one platform and language,
Pascal for Power Macintosh for example, we had:

* User's Guide: how to use the environment
* A language manual: language syntax and rules
* A library reference: descriptions of routines

Now many platforms and languages under the same roof. With the former
organization, the User's Guide has the potential to grow to an unusable,
huge size.

Any ideas, suggestions, questions? How have my other tech writing brothers
and sisters conquered similar problems?



Marc Paquette internet: paquette -at- metrowerks -dot- ca
Technical Writer, "Lead Lead Pipe Fitter" voice: (514) 747-5999 ext. 232
metrowerks inc. fax: (514) 747-2822

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