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Writing for DBTech

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I thought I'd take a few minutes to put together a blog relating to the work on the manuals that I've been doing for DBTech, to give you a chance to understand how the development process works, and give you a bit of background about myself...

First of all, Hi, and welcome to my blog. My username is Mokonzi, but my real name is Matt. I've been a user of DBTech's products for a while now, and have been running my own vBulletin forum for several years, initially using SMF, then phpBB2 and finally with vBulletin. DBTech quite quickly came on the radar especially with not just the quality of the products (not so hard in the ribs Decado), but also their keen understanding in the sort of products users want. Having the Lite version helped get familiar with a lot of them, before making that final decision on purchasing them.

Several months back DBTech asked for a few people to put forward their names to help with developing the manuals for their products. For the developers, writing the manuals can be as time consuming (and sometimes more) as writing the software itself. It was understandable then that they had decided to find someone to help develop and maintain their product manuals. Myself and another user were initially asked to develop the manuals, one of us looking after the admin side, the other after the user side of things. After a few initial discussions and proposals on the layout of the manuals (including submitting an early version of the vBActivity manual) the other writer had to withdraw from helping, and I was left with the daunting task of writing manuals completely for all of the DBTech projects... when you consider how many mods are available already, and with more always in the pipeline, the task was a big one.

We spent several weeks developing a standard layout via the vBActivity manual, and then looked at how we could dispense that to the DBTech customers. Eventually @Dylan put together an online version of the manual, and we decided to go ahead with that final format, which would allow us to also link to the manual from within the download of a product.

After that I got on with finishing the vBActivity manual, as well as setting to work on the vBNotifications manual with @David. With vBMail beginning development as well, it was suggested that we try to aim to get each new product released with it's manual wherever possible. So with a few long evenings of work on the two manuals for vBNotifications and vBMail we got the manuals just about released in time for the gold versions.

Dylan had also been working on his vBQuiz manual as well, which meant we were able to release four of the manuals at the same time, dramatically increasing the support for those DBTech products.

Since the release of the first four manuals, I've endeavored to keep up to date with any slight changes to the existing manuals (where that has been possible) and have also continued working on the vBCredits and Postbit Tabs manual. vBCredits is one of the most complex manuals to write, as the software contains such a great deal of versatility and power, not to mention content. In writing the content for it, @Darkwaltz4 has been fantastic in helping me understand much of the underlying principles and content, and has made the writing of it considerably easier that I expected. The Postbit Tabs manual is almost ready for release as well, so pending one or two last minute changes, that should be available within the next week.

The next targets on the list include vBShop as well as Forumon, both two of the potentially bigger manuals to write, with their feature rich options.

I'm also looking for any suggestions on FAQ entries that you would like me to include in any of the manuals. We've added as many logical questions in as we can see is needed so far, but if you feel something should be added, feel free to mention it in a visitor message, or a personal message atm, while we setup a more formal location for FAQ suggestions.
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  1. Ozzy47's Avatar
    I sure appreciate the work you do to write the documentation, and the Developers in assisting you in getting them released, Thanks for the excellent job!!
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  2. chipy100's Avatar
    Thanks. Documenting is definitely a resource extensive aspect of software development and I really appreciate all the great efforts you guys have been putting into your products. I'm definitely a DBTech fan.
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