19. February 2003 12:59
With my impending departure sometime in the next few months to Chicago, I'm having to work on documentation here at my current job. I hate doing documentation. Maybe that makes me a bad programmer. I understand it's a necessary evil and I'm even pretty good at doing it. Just not my favorite way to pass the time. It's not sexy. It's not cutting edge. It's not exciting.
One of the problems I always face is "who is the audience?" for this stuff. I mean, will they know most of what I know. Will they be a beginner? Will they know how to turn on a computer? Since I'm at a small company, I've been largely responsible for network and sys admin stuff, security, installs, etc. as well. I shouldn't have to reproduce the help file for somebody. Let's face it, the stuff specific to my company is limited. Most of what you need to know is in the manual. I had to read the manual, the next guy should have to as well.
I've never had very good luck with people who are step-followers. It's like those tech support people you call who follow some convoluted script, like a choose your own adventure story. The minute you start talking about something remotely approaching understanding of their product, they are like deer in the headlights. Half the time I just use a bunch of big technical words and jargon so they'll hand me off to the guy above them who actually knows something. But I digress. Documentation is like this. If something goes wrong that I forget to put in step 1 - 10, then what? I can't possibly predict every issue that might pop up.
Oh well, I'll get off this rant, but after doing documentation for 2 solid days I'm a bit testy.