Late Night in the Pocket Monday, November 07, 2005

Looks like I’ll be joining Craig Crossman on his Computer America radio program Monday, November 14th, from 11pm to Midnight, EDT.

Don’t know what we’ll be talking about, but you can listen online or at various stations across the country—hope you can tune in!

Scribble, scribble… Monday, November 07, 2005

I’m deep into the documentation for SuperDuper! v2.0, and have already reworked my original plan significantly, which is both a good and bad thing.

Let me explain.

The original SuperDuper! User’s Guide tried to follow the UI, in the sense that it was relatively narrative, and encouraged you to read the whole thing. Rather old school, and while this worked well for many, it required a lot of reading to get to the point where you were actually making a backup.

A short while later, given the feedback we were receiving, I extensively rewrote the early sections (3-5) to be more task oriented, and so tweaked it worked pretty well for most.

But still, there was a need for more task oriented material—basically, a “How Do I?” guide (something I’d also written years ago for our Track Record product). So, as v2.0 progressed, I looked through our support database and worked on various task-based bits of this new “Quick Start” guide, intending to have two completely separate manuals—one quick, one detailed—covering both learning styles, and most common tasks.

Given the number of individual tasks and screen shots needed to illustrate the process, it wasn’t long before the “Quick Start” guide ended up with well over 30 pages. Not so Quick any more.

I decided at this point that the two manual idea is basically unworkable, so I re-integrated the two, retaining the task-based approach for most of the Guide, concentrating on various common activities. The latter part goes through the various UI elements in more detail, and has advanced topics like the Sandbox, shell scripts and the like.

I’m also trying to make everything easier to navigate, which involves a lot of tweaking with Acrobat: unfortunately, the Mac version doesn’t extract the structure of the document from Word (the PC version does), so all the links and tags need to be created by hand—something that’s best left to the end of the writing. Don’t want to do it more than once!

It seems to be coming along, though there’s more writing and screen shots and layout and the rest. But, the fact that the documentation is being finalized also means that we’re quite close to release, and that’s a good feeling—now, there’s not just a single gull: there’s a whole flock of them!

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