Starting with the development of Caterpillar Fundamental English in the 1970's, industry has made several attempts to formalize and standardize the writing process, both to promote consistency and quality for the
reader and to improve the possibilities for automatic text processing (e.g. translation to other languages). In this presentation, I will review the work we have done at the Language Technologies Institute on a
software environment for automatic document checking, specifically to address the issue of how such environments can be productive (and hence useful) for the technical writer.