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December 94 - Editor's Note

EDITOR'S NOTE

CAROLINE ROSE

[IMAGE 002_Editorial_html1.GIF]

At the Worldwide Developers Conference in May, hundreds of developers volunteered comments on develop , the Developer CD, and related products, writing them either on a big board we set up for that purpose or in a comments box in our electronic survey. The remarks were collated and handed out to the people in Apple's Developer Press group who are responsible for those products. (Our Able Assistant Meredith Best, whom you can see hard at work with other develop team members on page 111, typed up all those comments that were scrawled on the big board -- even the complaints about the conference food and the unique "At what elevation do deer turn into elk?")

So what results come out of this, if any? That's harder to answer. Of course it depends on the nature of the comment. The result of all the great feedback on develop is that I'll have the pleasure of doing this job for a while longer. (Thanks especially to the person who wrote "develop is brilliant! Give Caroline a raise now!"; it was hard convincing my boss I didn't enter that one myself.) The answers to some questions are really easy. For example, "How about a guest developer column?" is a no-brainer; we've always accepted columns from developers (and articles too!) and would be happy to send our author's guidelines to anyone who's interested.

Most of the comments from the conference are in the process of being assimilated, and what they'll yield is uncertain, but we do want to thank you for sharing, as we sayin California. In turn we'll share with you some feedback that was among the strongestand that applies to many of you out there as well as to us at Apple: documentation shouldnot be electronic-only. (OK, a couple of developers disagreed, and one said "Ehh, who cares," but we're talking overwhelming majority here.) Paper was praised.

But it's clear from other feedback that developers also hold up THINK Reference as a model for viewing documentation on-line. Does this contradict their praise of paper? I think not. They're recognizing the difference between reference and other types of documentation. They want paper for conceptual information but would like good (fast!) on-line access for reference materials. I for one am happy to see this distinction being made. Not only are the different types of materials too often lumped together when the big question of on-line versus off-line presentation arises, but this separation isn't being realized enough in printed books either. The first thing I polled developers on when planning NeXT's technical documentation (in a past life) was this very question, and as a result, the reference-type descriptions were placed in an entirely separate book. Read-once versus read-many -- simple.

What I'd like to know is, if so many hundreds of you took the time to give us feedback at the conference, why don't more of you write todevelop ? You know where to find us . . .

CAROLINE ROSE (AppleLink CROSE) has been writing about software ever since the Internet was the ARPAnet. She was originally hired because they wanted the fresh approach of someone new to the industry, which in those days wasn't hard to find. Now she has to leave town to find someone new to the industry. Caroline loves her job but seems to enjoy leaving town most of all. Her big trip this year was to England, where she especially enjoyed the green rolling hills and quaint old towns of the Cotswolds. She was also crazy about British desserts, particularly the banoffi pie (she lacked the courage, however, to try the Spotted Dick). *

 

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