"Usability, the Soul of Python"
steve at holdenweb.com
Wed Mar 31 02:12:54 CEST 2010
Jonathan Hayward wrote:
> I've posted "Usability, the Soul of Python: An Introduction to the
> Python Programming Language Through the Eyes of Usability", at:
> The basic suggestion is that much of what works well in Python has
> something to do with the usability it offers programmers.
Now try another one called "Brevity, the Soul of Technical Writing: An
Introduction to Making Yourself Understood Through the Eyes of Readability".
What I managed to read seemed to be making worthwhile points, but I felt
a bit like I was wading through a steaming pile of irrelevant verbiage
that actually made it more difficult to extract the useful nuggets.
Bravo for undertaking this task, but I do feel the treatment needs work
from a good copy editor.
Of course you have to take into account my allergy to folksy metaphors
and meandering discourse. Had I chosen your style I might instead have
written the criticism above as:
I would like to begin my critique of this paper with a feature that many
competent technical writers completely fail to appreciate: why brevity
is desirable in technical writing.
Technical writing is not, of course, the only form of writing that there
is. People have been writing ever since the first caveman decided he
could leave marks on the wall of a cave to indicate that food could be
had in the vicinity. The basic concept of brevity is that you should
not, as a writer, use superfluous words because if you do then the
reader will always be in doubt about which parts of your discourse are
meaningful and which are merely decoration.
And so on. As I say, this may be criticism dictated by my personal
taste, but I feel you could condense the presentation considerably to
good effect. Sorry if this offends. It's meant to help.
Steve Holden +1 571 484 6266 +1 800 494 3119
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