Technical Publishing with FrameMaker:
Project Announce

In "project announce," you define the project you are going to do. Specifically, you find something to document: for example, a hardware component or a software application.

Select a Hardware Component or Software Application

Ideally, that component or application will have inadequate documentation or none at all. Don't be too concerned about trying to cover everything a user guide for that product might need. Our goal is quality not quantity.

What to document? First, consider the various hardware components—display monitors, keyboards, mice, modems, joysticks, CD devices, sound cards, speakers, and so on. You would discuss some combination of installation, configuration, operation, and troubleshooting for devices like these. You might also include specifications, perhaps even some technical background on the device. Consider also software applications. Check the Internet for possibilities such as shareware and freeware applications.

You might be interested in checking with your instructor for ideas. Your instructor may be looking for tutorial and user-guide information for things like advanced FrameMaker tasks, difficult MS Word tasks, XML development tools, entry-level SVG procedures, FrameScript methods, AuthorIT tasks, macros with Emacs.

An interesting possibility can be seen at FreeCode where you will see descriptions of new beta-level applications and can contact the developers directly. Take a look at LView Pro, PaintShop Pro, GifIcon, or other such applications and find 3 to 4 tasks that are "basic" and interesting enough to warrant careful documentation. Get a copy of Professional File Editor (PFE) and document some of its basic tasks such as creating and saving a file, recording a macro, and saving the macro to a keystroke sequence. WinZip is a handy tool for compressing and consolidating files, unencoding files, and encrypting files. You could document some of WinZip's basic tasks (as well as how to get it and how to install it). Actually, there are many archive/compression tools; find one that lacks decent documentation.

Go to the Internet and see if you can find shareware to download. Take a look at what is available at The Home & Personal area has a lot of good possibilities. Try to find some useful little utility like an online calendar program, reminder application, online phone number/address book, biorhythms charter, fortune-cookie program, large-file-splitting program, or to-do list manager, Typically, because these are shareware items, the documentation is poor or nonexistent. Contact the shareware developer and see how you can work with that person to develop the documentation.


Writing Resources

Develop an Audience Description and Outline

When you define your audience, remember that you must identify skills and knowledge you are assuming that they have as well as skills and knowledge you are assuming they do not have. You must be able to list the tasks they'll use the component or application for.

Listing tasks will lead directly into the outline for the document (or documents) you or your team produces. This outline needs to have at least two levels and include entries for front and back matter.

Post Project Info

To enable your instructor to follow your progess, enter the details of your project on your project page. If you have not yet set up your project page, use one of the following links:

Solo projects
Team projects

When you've decided on a project and have developed a project description, post this information your project page for all to see (and on or before the due date).

When you've developed an audience description and an outline, post this information your solo or team page for all to see (and on or before the due date).

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