2 Replies - 1031 Views - Last Post: 05 June 2012 - 10:14 AM

#1 GunnerInc  Icon User is offline

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Software Documentation - Do you use it?

Posted 04 June 2012 - 02:27 PM

So you have created a great program for work or personal, do you create help documentation for it? If so, what do you use/prefer:
  • Good old fashioned .hlp files
  • chm files
  • pdf
  • Online help
  • Word file
  • rtf file
  • something else

I have come across very simple to use and/or complex software with amazing help documents and I have come across crappy help documentation. There is nothing like trying to use a piece of software and the documentation is non-existent or poorly laid out. Some have broken links, websites that don't exist anymore, colors and fonts the developer thought were kewl, or html pages online with no option to download a package.

What do you use to create help documentation?

What are your thoughts on documentation.

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Replies To: Software Documentation - Do you use it?

#2 mccabec123  Icon User is offline

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Re: Software Documentation - Do you use it?

Posted 04 June 2012 - 04:46 PM

There's a lot more to documentation than just the User Guide when it comes to software development my friend, I think what you meant was the User Manual/Technical Guide, as Documentation should be carried out throughout the entire software lifecycle, including algorithms, normalisation, your RSD, structure charts, everything down to every last detail about your software.

If you consider yourself a serious/dedicated programmer, and you have released a project which is open to people, then you should always create your User Manual/Technical guide as it is part of the standard waterfall life cycle of software development. How often do you buy a product from a shop which requires assembly or some sort of involvement without instructions? The answer is almost never, the times that there is none is due to losing them or damaged packaging etc. Software is no different when it comes to instructions, people don't naturally think the way you've thought, what seems logical to you may be completely alien to somebody else, so we have User Guides/Technical Guides which make sure that everybody understands your train of thought, etc.

In terms of the User Manual I'd say that you can't go wrong with PDF's or Word Documents as they're fairly simple and pretty much everybody has access to them. In terms of web manuals, they're a good idea, but as you said the domains can expire if they're no longer in use and various things can happen along their life. You want something static that's going to last.
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#3 modi123_1  Icon User is offline

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Re: Software Documentation - Do you use it?

Posted 05 June 2012 - 10:14 AM

In the same vein - an amusing look into the commit messages of Github.

Exploring Expressions of Emotions in GitHub Commit Messages
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