Apple Final Cut Studio and the Excitement of Documentation
By dlindt on Aug 06, 2006
Finally broke down and got Apple Final Cut Studio, and my initial impressions have got me thinking enough to write a blog entry. My first impression of the product box is that it is heavy. And why is it heavy? Because the box contains books, lots and lots of books. A Getting Started Guide, a four volume User Manual, plus manuals for Motion 2, Soundtrack Pro, and DVD Studio Pro. But there is more. If you pause while looking at the books, you get the positive sensation of holding a book in your hands, of being able to turn the pages, skipping through the book without entering keywords in a search box. There is a value and excitement to a good book, and I consider a well-written piece of product documentation to be a good book.
Now don't get me wrong, before you dismiss my enjoyment of a good, hardcopy version of product documentation as being so 1990's, I am an avid proponent of delivering docs online, and delivering different types of information. It's not just about books anymore, and it's not just about content or information in any one form. It's not just about a group of tech writers that provides you with information. It's about how you participate in a related collection of information that spans groups, products, technologies, and information types. It's about working together to get you the information you need to be productive.
As we open source more of our software, more information comes from you, and we are actively trying to build communities of users who contribute content about our products and technologies. That content can be anything from a forum post, technical article, retail book (yes there is a big emphasis on writing more retail books), tutorial, how to, FAQ, Flash demo, podcast, and the whole Web 2.0 support where you will have an even greater number of options to select and organize the information that is relevant to you.
Still, I don't want to forget about the excitement of a good book, and I haven't even described my perceptions of the joy of removing the shrink wrap from a new book. Now that's another couple of paragraphs .....