To be honest, this project scared me!
SmartPropertyGrid.Net is a cool, user-friendly, easy-to-deploy replacement for the Microsoft Property Grid, familiar from applications and programming environments. As a techwriter, I’m thrilled by the product – it locks out a lot of UI issues, and ensures consistent layout.
The snag is that, though I’ve done some coding in the past – and boast that I’m a wizard with VBA – I have no experience of .Net.
Thankfully, all Nicolas wanted was a Basic Edit. Though he communicates effectively in English, his first language is French. He needed somebody to make the manual read as if written by a native speaker, and to give the presentation a polish, for example turning paragraphs into numbered instructions.
From the outset, we agreed that this would only work if we acted like an in-house team…. though actually, it was a bit like playing that children’s game, “Battleships and Cruisers”.
Whenever I got stuck – which was often at first – I mailed Nicolas with two or three guesses. Sometimes one of my guesses was “on target”. Other times, I was so wrong it was funny!
Thankfully, my misunderstandings enabled Nicolas to supply new – clearer – draft copy which I could then edit. Mostly, we nailed queries in one iteration. However, there was one pesky paragraph which I think went to ten emails!
In the end, it was all worthwhile. Nicolas got the manual he needed, and was happy to say so in a public forum:
He just finished reviewing/fixing my 50+ pages Programmers’guide and the result is excellent with already positive feedback from my customers. I’m french and my doc was a poor word for word translation…