Definition of system documentation
System documentation is written text or a collection of documents that accompanies computer system. It either explains how it operates or how to use it, and may mean different things to people in different roles.
It is intended to promote effective and informed use of the system; It includes not only what decisions were made, but also why they were made, and provides information that will be useful for future development and implementation of the same statistical activity or a similar or redesigned activity.
Documentation may be intended for various target audiences, such as management, technical staff, planners of other quarters, and users. It should be readily accessible, up to date, timely as to ensure relevance, and comprehensible to its main audience. It can be multimedia format (e.g. hard copy, electronic format and visual presentation). Care must be taken to preserve the integrity of the documents.
Purpose of System Documentation
Software engineers are usually responsible for producing most of this documentation although professional technical writers may assist with the final polishing of externally released information.
Documentation produced during a software project normally falls into two classes:
Guidelines for creating a system documentation.
Users of a system are not all the same. The producer of documentation must structure it to cater for different user tasks and different levels of expertise and experience. It is particularly important to distinguish between end-users and system administrators:
System documentation includes all of the documents describing the system itself from the requirements specification to the final acceptance test plan. Documents describing the design, implementation and testing of a system are essential if the program is to be understood and maintained. Like user documentation, it is important that system documentation is structured, with overviews leading the reader into more formal and detailed descriptions of each aspect of the system.
Standards and quality assessment are essential if good documentation is to be produced but document quality is fundamentally dependent on the writer’s ability to construct clear and concise technical prose. In short, good documentation requires good writing.
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