Blackboard Documentation

John Fontaine, Senior Director of Engineering at Blackboard, upped the ante a bit after my November 8th posting about documentation issues around installation vs upgrades. In an email  to me, he copied one of Blackboard’s technical writers, Andrew Toussaint, and John said of Andrew, “He would very much like to talk with you in more detail about the problems you see with it.  He would also be interested in any other system admins you might suggest as contacts for gathering improved feedback on the CE/Vista technical documentation.”

That was so cool.  Blackboard is listening.

And the very next day Andrew Toussaint emailed me. I’m now providing his email address here so that you can contact him directly with any thoughts you may have on improving the documentation.

Feedback I’ve given already :

  • consistency problems with directions on what is done on the admin node and which actions are performed on managed nodes
  • AppPack2 SP1 and SP2 documentation typos and consistency
  • My new Admin also pointed out that not taking the time to put all the steps into an upgrade guide indicates Bb has the assumption that an administrator doing an upgrade is far more experienced than what may be the case (she found it necessary to reference the install guide AND the upgrade text document together). We would recommend Upgrade guides contain much of the same detail as the installation guides, that one is told to select “Upgrade” vs “Install”, and why one might choose to upgrade the database but not the application…
  • “As to the issues in the blog [Nov. 8th] and whether they are fixed or not… what you may realize happens in the field is that when we encounter something broken or missing (say, a key file didn’t install for example) in one upgrade, we tend to do our own validation of all of those same items for several service packs to come. So, even though they may be fixed,  I still exercise a higher degree of rigor in my install validations (and encourage others to do so to) than I might have if there had never been such an issue….”