Re: Microsoft Manual of Style

Subject: Re: Microsoft Manual of Style
From: Janice Gelb <janiceg -at- MARVIN -dot- ENG -dot- SUN -dot- COM>
Date: Wed, 16 Apr 1997 13:36:17 -0700

Steve Shewchuk wrote:
> I think part of the problem is that Microsoft made no attempt to adjust
> their style guide for "public consumption". By which I mean, they left a
> whole bunch of information in the style guide that's very specific to their
> own outlook, and that most of us in the "general public" of the tech
> writing world don't care about.

This is a good point. Sun's style guide won awards at the regional
and international STC competition levels and we got a lot of requests
for it but we weren't allowed to give it to people because it contained
some proprietary information. When we realized that the number of
requests indicated that there was a need for a style guide geared
specifically toward the technical communication community, we got a
contract to publish it outside.

Because we'd been disappointed that the commercially available
Metaphor, IBM, Microsoft, and DEC style guides contained so much
information that was specific to their own companies and doc
departments but was useless outside, one of the things we decided right
away was that we would take out any Sun-specific information or
recommendations and make our external style guide as generic as
possible, plus add more general information that wasn't needed
internally (like how to develop a pubs department) but would be useful
in a third-party guide.

To be fair, though, if you want to use Microsoft-approved terminology
for Windows products, it's not a bad idea to have their style guide.
However, I wouldn't dream of trying to use it as a style guide for
my own writing outside of that aspect.

Janice Gelb | The only connection Sun has with this
janiceg -at- marvin -dot- eng -dot- sun -dot- com | message is the return address.

"These are my opinions. If they were the Biblical truth, your bushes
would be burning"
-- Randy Lander


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