For end users, software documentation includes the documents and instructions that come with the software. It is often referred to as the technical manual or user’s manual. It helps end users understand how to implement and use their software. This documentation details the capabilities of the software as well as certain limitations or system requirements necessary to run it. It may be included with the software as a booklet or it may be built into the program, delivered on a USB drive, or downloaded online.
Software documentation can also be much more technical and may even include source code and other information. It provides enough information so that the user or someone who wants to build on the software can do so without having to start from scratch each time. It may also include information regarding error codes and troubleshooting.
Software documentation sometimes includes information on how to market the product or information related to the design of the software as well. Depending on how the software is used or licensed, the documentation that accompanies it can vary significantly.
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