In the ongoing search for a decent documentation tool we’re testing several products.
The first one I tested was RWD uPerform ( http://www.rwd.com/products/rwduperform/)
The company RWD has an alliance with SAP Education and is therefore very suited for creating documentation for SAP applications. Unfortunately when using the tool with Mozilla Firefox or other ‘exotic’ (the quotes are meant to be ironic)it doesn’t recognise any labels and your resulting document is filled with very strangeterms.
In short, it creates a written manual (documentation) that describes all the actions for a particular use case, every step accompanied by a screenshot (full screen or label).The document is a .udc file (uPerform document) but can be ‘published’ (not exported) as a Word document, Powerpoint file, PDF, XML and some other formats.
As an example I tried to create a short document that explains how you add a page to a Plone site. Plone is an open source web content management system (http://plone.org) that we’re currently setting up and adapting for the K.U.Leuven. You can see the result in the attachment uPerform Work Instruction
- Click Start - All Programs – RWD uPerform – RWD uPerform Express
- Click New – Recording (upperleft red button)
- Press the ‘Record’ button on the small window
- After recording the action you want documented click the ‘Stop’ button (right next to the record button)
- You will be redirected to the ‘Simulation’ tab, at the bottom of the application scree, change this to the tab ‘Document’
- There you will see several parts (Purpose, Configuration information, Test information, ASAP BPP, Exercise/Data Sheet, Screen flow and Procedure)
- For the manual you’ll probably only need the Procedure part. I tried deleting the content I didn’t need, but it’s easier just to select the right block when publishing and then deleting the content in another application like Word (at least if you’re unfamiliar with the program lika I am).
- To get this .udc file into another format, click File – Publish filename.udc
- Then you get a list of every block and it’s format (export) options. Select ‘Work Instruction’ , this will give you just the purpose, screenflow, procedure and result blocks.
- Select the destination and click ‘Publish’.
It should also be possible to publish a simulation (like a short film of what you did) but for some reason the export to Flash didn’t work on my computer. I might report on this later on.
Overall I didn’t think it was very ‘user-friendly’, I had to click around a lot to find even the simplest thing. When you finally find out the right workflow it does what it needs to do (and also a lot of stuff it doesn’t but those are called features
If you’re starting documentation on something web-based in Internet Explorer it might be usefull to save you some time in creating all those screenshots needed for manuals, but for me that was about the only thing I needed it do, so there…