I for one think that OSS did a fabulous job with documentation. Of course, writing technical manuals is difficult and their manuals are not perfect. In the Action! manual, many technical details of the language are not discussed -- it would be great to get an "under-the-hood" guide to Action! put together at some point. Nevertheless, compare any of the OSS manuals to those of any other language that came out for the Atari 8-bit computers (especially the very sparse manuals from Atari!). The BASIC XL manual in particular was probably the best manual ever produced for an Atari programming language.
One of my major gripes about these manuals, however, is the incredibly cheap and flimsy binding. I'm glad that OSS didn't come out with classy bindings and reduce the quality of the rest of their work, but something has to be done when pages begin to fall out after opening the thing for the third time ever (I try to be *real* careful too!).
This is what I've come up with:
I took the manuals down to Kinko's (for those who don't know, this is sort of a printing and self-service office store offering a multitude of great services). I had kinkos cut the binding off of the manuals up to about 1/8 inch, then had the manuals custom-drilled for my small binder. Now I can fit two OSS manuals (Action! and MAC/65 as seen above), plus Toolkit/Runtime booklets into this little binder. I couldn't find any day-glow yellow ones, so I opted for bright blue. Now its much more comfortable to glance at the manual when programming, since it stays open to any page!
html-ized by Dan Vernon -- January 2001