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Software documentation is a distinct specialty within the larger discipline of Technical Writing. It’s a world with its own rules, processes and lingo.
Here are some more software industry terms you should be familiar with as a technical writer…
Testing – All software are tested thoroughly by a team of testers before approved for final release to the market.
There are different types of tests, like “unit testing” which tests whether a single software component is working properly or not, and “system integration testing” which checks out whether different components of a software system are working well together or not.
There are “stress” and “load” tests which measure how well the software performs under heavy usage. Does the software break down, for example, when a thousand or 10,000 users log in simultaneously? That would be found out in a stress/load test.
Quality Control (QC) or Quality Assurance (QA) – two other terms used to refer to different types and modes of testing.
QA is a comprehensive sort of testing in which testers measure the degree to which a product delivers what it’s supposed to deliver. Although they are used separately, in my personal experience, they both refer basically to the same process.
The distinction is that QA is usually regarded a more extensive, global and comprehensive review of product’s market suitability whereas QC is generally regarded a more limited, local, component-by-component examination.
Build – Software development is a continuous process during which the developers change, add, correct, and delete pieces of code all the time, on a daily basis, depending on the feedback they get both from the project management and also from the testing, marketing, sales, and other departments.
The software is compiled on a daily, bi-weekly, or weekly basis to see how the product works with the new changes incorporated. Each of such individual compilations are called a “Build.”