Re: The size of a programming manual

Subject: Re: The size of a programming manual
From: Jane Bergen <janeb -at- ANSWERSOFT -dot- COM>
Date: Mon, 7 Apr 1997 11:24:33 +0000

On 7 Apr 97 at 11:53, Pete Kloppenburg wrote:

> Hi all, I need some help here.
> I've just been handed responsibility for the documentation for our
> flagship product. This product happens to be a collection of C
> libraries implementing some proprietary algorithms - there's no
> interface to document. It's just straight up tech-talk for
> developers.
> recommendations. The first thing I thought looking at the manual
> was "Man, why in hell did they put this in oversized three ring
> binders?"
> Yes, they've designed all the documentation on 81/2x11" paper and
> stuck it in a big bulky, totally unusable binder. Now, I want to go
> back to the industry standard for these sorts of manuals: 7x9". I
> would also rather we spiral bind the results, so that the manual can
> be flipped back over on itself to occupy the minimum deskspace.


I'm not so sure that 9 x7 is actually the industry standard for the
programmer's reference...we've found that 8.5 x 11 is more preferred,
but you are right about the spiral binding. It's much easier to work
with...fold-over, lay flat, etc.

One of the reasons we stick to the larger page size is that we
include samples of codes and scripts. The samples should not wrap, so
using the larger page sizes allows us to show these lines of text
more correctly. It also gives the page a little extra white space,
which programmers find helpful when they want to make notes in the
margins. Our reference guides are for telephony script commands, so
it may not parallel to yours exactly. My latest version is nearly
600 pages.... if I were to use 7 x 9 pages, I'd have to add lots more
pages! That's another plus for the larger size pages.

Just 2 cents worth,

Jane Bergen

Jane Bergen, Technical Writer
janeb -at- answersoft -dot- com
AnswerSoft, Inc. Dallas, TX

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