This project is really exciting for a number of reasons. The extensions to Fileman are exciting. The improvements to Lab are exciting. The opportunity to engage OSEHRA is exciting. Developing a project for VA outside of VA is exciting.
I, alas, am working on the non-exciting part of the project. I’m doing the documentation. I’m working on the afterthought, the bit that nobody really finds all that interesting.
Oh, I know. It’s considered bad form to say out loud that documentation is boring and stupid and nobody likes it. It’s more polite to protest that of course everybody cares about documentation. Which is why so many projects do documentation at the last possible second by throwing a bunch of stuff together more-or-less randomly. Because they care so much.
I’m mostly just teasing here. Yes, documentation is often an afterthought, but I think that, in principal, most developers would rather have good documentation than not have it. They just don’t want to be the ones to have to do it.
And, from the point of view of somebody who writes stuff for a living, they shouldn’t have to. Okay, they need to write down the basic information, but the task of organizing it, formatting it, and making it accessible to its target audience? That stuff should be done by a writer, not a developer. Developers have some pretty awesome skills, but explaining things to people usually isn’t in their skill-set.
It makes sense, then, to bring in somebody like me. Somebody who isn’t a developer, but who (usually) can follow what they’re saying. Somebody who nevertheless is more of a writer than a techie. Somebody who, unfortunately, will be invisible most of the time, because the really interesting stuff is happening elsewhere.
I’m looking forward to producing the documentation for this project, and I think our results will be worth looking at. Hopefully even worth imitating.
In the meantime, I’ll be over here. Invisible.