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Documentation

“The mUser” documentation consists of both an “operator's manual” and a “technical manual”, which are available in printed form, as on-line help, and in HTML format. The manuals, combined, are around 350 pages in length, and getting longer.

The division of information between these manuals is based on whether the information relates directly to the operator interface or more generally to the system.

Both manuals include extensive cross referencing. The operator's manual includes several detailed tutorials, and discussions of the basic concepts, prior to presenting the more formal descriptions of the various windows.

We use our own non-WYSIWYG word processor, “wp” which allows us to take a single source document and from it produce individual manuals and help systems for all sites and operating systems, as well as the HTML version of the operator's manual, the technical manual and the “word processor manual”.

What we don't like about WYSIWYG word processors, is the fact that the entire document must be seen for you to know what you get. However, the main reason we wrote our own word processor was so that we could write a single, but configurable manual, with site-specific sections, which would enable us to maintain the individual manuals for all sites at once. In the context of “The mUser”, this enables us to document customer-specific features without needing to issue supplemental documentation. This, along with the bonus features of providing the on-line help system, and producing an HTML version, has made it a vital tool.