Help or User Manual First?

Subject: Help or User Manual First?
From: Gurudutt Kamath/Technical Writing Centre <guruk -at- GIASBM01 -dot- VSNL -dot- NET -dot- IN>
Date: Wed, 30 Apr 1997 07:35:44 +0530

Greetings from India!

I have been asked to write a user manual and help for a banking
application (PowerBuilder). Normally, I feel the user manual
should be written first and then the Help can be created by using
the stuff from the user manual. I am interested in knowing what
is the best way to handle this situation. I am not familiar with
RoboHelp or any such tool. Here are some questions for which I
require answers.

1. Can one create the Help first in RoboHelp and then turn it
into a user manual? I would appreciate some broad guidelines and
tips on how to do this. Specially, how to avoid any pitfalls.

2. Or should I write the user manual first in Word and then turn
that into Help files? Here too, any tips and suggestions would
be welcome.

I do feel that this is a chicken and egg question. But as one
Indian actor had responded: "To me at least the egg came first
and then the chicken. I had egg for breakfast and then had
chicken for lunch."

(I did search the archives but was not able to get the answer.)

Thanks to all of you for being a part of this wonderful mailing
list. I look forward to any suggestions/tips that you can offer.
I love being on this list!

Best wishes.


guruk -at- giasbm01 -dot- vsnl -dot- net -dot- in
(read my article on the technical writing scenario in India)

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