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From: Roger Johansson
Subject: Re: More advice for programmers
Date: Tue, 15 Oct 2002 09:06:55 +0200
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Eric Bohlman wrote:
>If you're documenting a system you've designed, you more or less have to
>have other people "coach" you on the documentation practically from the
>start, because you've internalized so many little details of how the system
>works that a) you're going to take many of them for granted and b) you're
>going to have a practically irresistible temptation to structure your
>writing around the system's internal structure, which is usually *not* the
>structure that the reader needs.
Yes, to detect and fix such problems it is essential to maintain a
user group which is active and lets the new users talk freely about
their problems with the program.
These users are helping the programmer to find problems he cannot see
himself because he is so used to his own ways of thinking and how he
has built up the program.
The user group, in a mailing list for example, also helps the
programmer by taking care of a lot of questions from newbies instead
of them bothering the programmer.
The more advanced users answer questions from new users and give the
programmer ideas for further development.
A good specification of a program is (at least) half the design.
If you know exactly what is needed the rest of the work consists of
transforming these specs into a program.
A group of dedicated end users could actually "write" a program
themselves by carefully building up the specifications for a program.
They only have to know what is possible and not possible in a computer
When the specs are complete they only need to find somebody who can
transform the specs into a real program.
Or they could learn enough of visual programming to do it themselves.
With the help of some newsgroups about programming this would not be
The only problem is how to gather these interested end users in a
project around a yet not existing program.
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