Carl Burks is a software developer for a global financial institution. With over ten years experience in technology and software development for financial organizations and over twenty years of software experience, Carl Burks provides articles, musings and insight into technology issues, software development, and other selected topics.

Good Documentation

2014-10-01T06:02:00.001-07:00

Authors:
Carl Burks

If you develop an application with a significant degree of complexity and a vast amount of user input choices then documentation is essential to your product.
Consider the humble shell interface. It doesn't matter if you are using Windows PowerShell or a UNIX shell, the terse command prompt gives the user an empty page. Knowing what options are available is key to using any product. Man pages allow *NIX users to find the directions and PowerShell offers Get-Help. Imagine trying to use either shell without those, or the vast online documentation online.
Your application might not be as freeform as a shell interface, but if the number of buttons, icons and menu items is large then the user is back to an irritating choose your own adventure through your UI.