...for technical writers. Normally, when you're writing help topics, you try to decide what the tasks are that the user will want to do. And then you create a help topic for each task. And then you write the steps for each help topic. You try and make things as simple as possible, with as few steps as possible—but enough steps to make the task taskworthy. Everything should always be clear, concise, and correct. However, plug-in module development in NetBeans 5.0 is so
"good", that many of the most crucial tasks consist of only one step
. This is really annoying, if you're a technical writer. (Also because you feel a little bit obsolete.) Writing tasks with one step is kind of weird (some writers cheat and break one step into two, which also looks weird).
For example, here are some topics I'd like to write for plug-in modules:
- Create an NBM File
- Install a Module
- Reload a Module
And here are some of my topics for applications built on top of the NetBeans Platform:
- Build a ZIP Distribution
- Build a JNLP Application
- Run a JNLP Application
But, firstly, here's all you need to do to create an NBM file (an NBM file is a binary of your plug-in, which can be installed via the Update Center):
And then stuff happens in the background and two seconds later you have an NBM file (which you can immediately install via the Update Center):
Secondly, here's what you do to run a JNLP application (read Deploying Software with JNLP and Java Web Start for details on JNLP):
And then lots of stuff happens in the background, and six seconds later your JNLP application is run:
So do you see the problem? One step! All of the tasks listed above consist of one tiny little step. So, if you see topics that take three steps to do what should really be done in one, providing silly instructions like this...
- Open the Projects window (Ctrl-Shift-1).
- Right-click the module project node.
- Choose Create NBM.
...instead of this...
- Open the Projects window (Ctrl-Shift-1), right-click the module project node, and choose Create NBM.
...then you'll know that I tried, I really tried...