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A standard for software documentation

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1 Author(s)
Phoha, V. ; Dept. of Comput. Sci., Northeastern State Univ., Tahlequah, OK, USA

While there is no universally recognized standard for software documentation, there is a standard for documenting engineering and scientific software. Developed by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) and the American Nuclear Society (ANS) in 1995, it is called the ANSI/ANS 10.3-1995 Standard for Documentation of Computer Software. The standard provides a flexible, robust framework for documentation needs. One of its goals is to encourage better communication between developer and user and to facilitate effective selection, usage, transfer, conversion and modification of computer software. The standard is not a rigid set of specifications but a guide that can apply to most software projects intended for internal or external use. While the standard cannot cover all documentation problems, it is a good starting point, even for the most complex software. Similarly, while the standard provides recommendations for documenting scientific and engineering software, it doesn't offer guidance for online monitoring, control or safety systems, and doesn't specifically address the unique requirements of consumer-oriented software. As a general guideline for clear, well-organized documentation, however, the ANSI/ANS 10.3-1995 standard can serve as a place for developers to begin a documentation methodology. The standard is fairly comprehensive, and it allows for individual developer differences and unique software documentation problems

Published in:

Computer  (Volume:30 ,  Issue: 10 )