Ben Langhinrichs

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Sometimes, a sense of humor helps with technical documentation

Sun 27 Aug 2006, 11:29 PM

by Ben Langhinrichs
As we all know, reading technical documentation is not always entertaining.  Lots of lists of parameters and options, and your head can start spinning.  For example, I am reading through Chapter 3. Text Document Basics, which is part of the OASIS OpenDocument Essentials book (still a heck of a lot less painful than the official ODF specs), and there are lots of entries such as:

    This attribute is used to create superscripts and subscripts. It can have two values; the first value is either sub or super, or a number which is the percentage of the line height (positive for superscripts, negative for subscripts). An optional second value gives the text height as a percentage of the current font height. Examples: style:text-position="super" produces normal superscripts, and style:text-position="-30 50" produces a subscript at 30% of the font height below the baseline, with letters 50% of the current font height.
Erp!  But mixed in with the more dry entries, there are a few which show a healthy sense of humor peeking through, such as

    Oy, you wouldn’t believe how many underlining styles you have available to you! none, single, double, dotted, dash, long-dash, dot-dash, dot-dot-dash, wave, bold, bold-dotted, bold-dash, bold-long-dash, bold-dot-dash, bold-dot-dot-dash, bold-wave, double-wave, and small-wave. The style:text-underline-color is specified as in fo:color and has the additional value of font-color, which makes the underline color the same as the current text color.
or one of my favorites,

    Set to true if you want the readers of your document to hate you forever.
Now, that is truth in advertising!

Copyright 2006 Genii Software Ltd.

What has been said:

483.1. Det Prins
(08/29/2006 01:38 PM)

If anyone made my text blink, I'd probably hunt them down and make them regret it in a socially unacceptable manner.

483.2. Gregg Eldred
(08/31/2006 08:31 AM)

I have found some humor in Lotus Designer Help. If you know some of the developers, some of the @Functions reference real Lotus/Iris people