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The Workbook Approach:
Getting New Users up to Speed in a HEP Offline Environment

CERN Computing Seminar, 1 September 1999
Joseph Perl - SLAC Computing Services


Abstract

The Workbook approach is an efficient way to introduce members of a HEP collaboration to their collaboration's offline environment. It was first developed in SLD where offline experts were losing too much time on individual user assistance. The approach was extremely successful there and has since been replicated for BaBar.

Information is presented in the form of a workbook, a connected series of exercises. Imagine the world of offline software as a workshop full of tools. The workbook has the user pick up each tool in turn, do something simple and useful with that tool, and then put that tool down and move on to the next.


Origins

  • SLD
  • BaBar

Introduction

  • Purpose
  • How to use
  • Commitment

Tour of the Workbook

  • The Quick Tour section
  • Each subsequent major section takes the user to a new level of detail
  • Meta sections

Style Guide

Implements the Commitment to the User
  • Keep the user moving along
  • Keep the examples as simple and uncluttered as possible
  • Show the expected output
  • Use simple language

Development Process

  • If done correctly, the document pays off before the main writing has even begun

Conclusions

Done correctly, the Workbook quickly becomes the most useful software document in the collaboration
  • It frees experienced users from teaching duties
  • It gives new users satisfaction where before they had frustration
  • It unifies the user base, teaching common methods of working
  • It provides a useful reference for experienced users
  • It provides a useful suite of reference jobs both for the collaboration and for the individual user

References:


Back to Workbook Front Page

Author:
Joseph Perl
Last edited by:
Jenny Williams

Last modification: 11 Mar 2001
Last significant update: 30 August 1999