The Book Is Out


Let’s flash back to 2001/2002. I was working for Solutech, which is now called Quilogy, when the manager got me in touch with the people at IDG. They wanted someone to write a book called ADO.NET and XML: ASP.NET on the Edge. Never heard of it? It’s okay, neither has most of the civilized world. 🙂
 
There are a couple of major problems with ADO.NET and XML: ASP.NET on the Edge.
  • IDG became Hungry Minds and then sold out to Wiley who were really courting for Dummies.
  • Microsoft constantly changed the technology. Anyone who remembers System.Data.ADO will understand.
  • I was a perfectionist at the time and constantly trying to get everything perfect.
  • Some technical editors do not know what they are teching. Fortunately, after firing a few, we found a wonderful technical editor who helped me get through the maze of book writing.
  • I missed some deadlines. When you miss deadlines, no matter how good the reasons are, the book is late.
What is writing a book on beta technology like? Imagine spending all of your waking hours thinking about a future version of the same tools you use at work. Now, picture the tools constantly changing at the whim of somebody else (most times for good reasons) and having to rewrite your content over and over again. Finally, realize you are not going to get paid much for any of the hours you have spent writing and rewriting your book.
 
The smart authors get things working and release one of the first books, even if the product is still beta. In general, the books are not that great, but they make quite a bit of money. The next group of authors take time to write proper primers, which unfortunately sell very few books. These are fairly decent works, but have low sales figures because they did not get out first. The next step is major mental masturbation where authors spew out their own personal musings on application building as if they were inventing a cure to cancer. Some of these books truly push the envelope, although most end up in the pile of mediocrity.
 
After this first experience, I swore I would never write a book on beta technology … again.
 
So, someone please explain this …
 
 
For anyone planning on writing a book about technology while it is still in beta, here are a few lessons learned…
  1. Co-write – It is much less taxing to update a couple of chapters when the final release. Microsoft WILL change things at the last minute and it is much nicer to have a few hours of sleep before heading in to work.
  2. Write on something that truly is new – This reduces the tedium
  3. Get your chapters in on time – Once you figure out how to do this, email me with the secret. 🙂

In all sincerity, this was a fun project. I am still swearing I will not write on a beta technology ever again, but … damn, what did I just say. Ooh, look, Visual Studio Orcas. 🙂

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One Response to The Book Is Out

  1. Rob says:

    VERY well worded! Great advice!

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