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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 and lingo. Here is the fourth set of software industry terms you should be familiar with as a technical writer and communicator…
Driver – Driver is a piece of software thanks to which your computer can use peripheral hardware devices like printers, scanners, etc.
PCs that use Windows OS (Operating System) work with drivers that usually come with the ubiquitous “.dll” (Dynamic Link Library) extension.
If you are using a Mac, usually you do not need to download or install a driver. Usually, a Mac automatically recognizes your hardware and knows how to use it and that’s why some people would not use anything but a Mac. However, if and when you need to install a driver for a Mac, it comes as a “.kext” file.
Command Prompt – There are times when a developer will tell you to “pull up” your “command prompt” and run an “IP config” check to find out the IP address of your machine.
What she is referring to is the DOS-based text-only black-screen interface where you can type in various commands and either get system information or (if you’re a hard-core programmer) perform any kind of file manipulation and configuration task you like.
In this screen you type in a “command” that follows the strict syntax rules of the “DOS Command” language. In return, your computer follows your command, performs the procedure you ask it to perform, and prints back a response.
You need to study and learn the basic “Command Prompt” commands before you can use this functionality.
A little bit of cyber history… This was the way how all file handling and system configuration functions were handled before the advent of the graphic interface and the Mouse. Back in those good-old bad/old days, there was nothing to click-on on your computer monitor. Whenever you needed your computer to do something, you just typed its command into the “Command Prompt” screen and hit Enter.
Someone said “if the regular graphic interface is like driving a car with an automatic transmission, using Command Prompt is like driving a stick-shift.” I think that’s a wonderful and very appropriate analogy indeed.