I started working at AMI GE almost two years ago. I've tackled everything I could, but there is this one that's been pestering me ever since I got there... the DigitARC PX3 User Manual. Created in a single monstrous MS Office Word Document, intended to be a single push by someone at the beginning and edited by someone else later on. Sadly, when time came, no one wanted to edit the manual. Heavy lies the crown of pushing your words in something that everyone will judge you, never really understood that feeling, why would someone feel afraid of giving back into the word? why would you fear your own fear?
Now after so much dedication I took the project into my wing entirely, crafting a new one slowly. It's been days of writing, most of the graphics in the Word document were just plastered there. Oh no, images send a message, images clarify features, images should be self explanatory, like you are talking to your user right besides him.
Now I know I shouldn't be doing this manual. I am a software developer, but I'll be damned if our products don't deserve an awesome looking manual. To hell with the job descriptions, this has to be done.
And this is the vision in the coming weeks...
Look at the manual, it's tender lines, it's carefully selected text, click on those hyperlinks that will help you navigate it if you open it digitally. Look how slender it has become, reducing about 50% of it's size by changing the white space for some beautifully annotated images using the TiKz package.
You may think editing will be hassle, but oh no it isn't, adding a new page in between doesn't move anything in the rest of the document. The typesetting, the geometry, everything carefully selected to grow this manual to epic proportions. Alas, editing can't be done by a simple high schooler, laTeX knowledge is required, but that is why you have internet at the workplace.
Why not Word? It took me 6 months of try-fail to come to the conclusion that MS Office Word was not up to the task, and I truly wanted to use Word, but for a document of 400 plus pages filled with images word just doesn't cut it. Macros were filled with horrible static code, opening the word with Python made a mess depending if it was saved in Spanish or English. Reading entire pages about the MS Office objects of Visual Basic. Exporting to HTML gave me 2 weeks of HTML parsing pain. If I was having a hard time, the guy that would come next would have it worse.
It's been 28 hours of crunching laTeX code into a magnificent manual and it is Sunday, and I'm reaching that beautiful 30% of progress. Whatever it takes, I will see this through. For in 14 hours I need to go back to C++, time is short, one last push into oblivion, one more zip of coffee. Hold on brain, just until we hit that 50% progress, I'll make it up to you.
I may not be able to show you the progress, I may not be able to give you a fork of the project. But in the end, I will be able to give you the manual, and you shall learn about the product, because the manual is just so pretty you'll want to navigate through it.