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#21 2012-12-14 10:10:29

gaekwad
Admin
From: People's Republic of Cornwall
Registered: 2005-11-19
Posts: 2,514

Re: I'm writing a Textpattern book - what should it include?

Bloke wrote:

Nope, but Els wouldn’t let me change it :-)

Els makes a good point. I’ll start the Hasbro legal defence fund :)

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#22 2012-12-14 11:55:41

Els
Admin
From: The Netherlands
Registered: 2004-06-06
Posts: 7,458

Re: I'm writing a Textpattern book - what should it include?

gaekwad wrote:

I’ll start the Hasbro legal defence fund :)

:)

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#23 2012-12-14 16:10:12

gavnosis
Member
From: Milton Keynes, UK
Registered: 2005-03-12
Posts: 137
Website

Re: I'm writing a Textpattern book - what should it include?

Seconding (third-ing?)a few opinions here. Printed book(s) = good, multiple volumes = good also, common tasks = good, good, good! …and to make my intentions clear, I would as happily buy a book as write it myself, and hopefully that might yet come to pass (I too doubt there’s any money to be made in tech books, but a TXP book should at least wash its own face).

I did write to Stef before things made it to the forum, and some of the points I made are really quite relevant to here (And really should’ve copied Destry in, too, so everything is out in the open :-)

I know there’s a wealth of online resources, but I think it would be great to have a slim book (with a nice, friendly yellow cover), as an updated quick start and cookbook. (I really quite like the size of the ‘A Book Apart’ volumes – so something like that is what I have in mind – lean CMS = lean book!).

The FAQ would be great as a source… but just something to pick up and flick through, and maybe even give to a client. This is type of book is perhaps what Tye hinted at, too.

I too bought the Textpattern Solutions book when it came out – it’s well thumbed but is somehow dated (and a bit thick).

I strongly believe there’s a really good opportunity to share Textpattern as the really elegant thing that is really is : neither big guns as per Drupal and Joomla!, nor just a blogging platform on speed with a billion beautiful themes (as some other CMS the name of which eludes me). The very wealth of books on these is almost the barrier to getting to know them. Where to start?

Whilst I can’t challenge on the technical know-how, I’m happy to help on ideas/writing/pruning

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#24 2012-12-14 17:10:29

philwareham
Core designer
From: Farnham, Surrey, UK
Registered: 2009-06-11
Posts: 3,196
Website

Re: I'm writing a Textpattern book - what should it include?

Well it looks like the interest in a new book is there.

I’ll also been keen to re-examine the idea of a Textpattern store when I finalise the plans for the next version of Textpattern.com (I’m starting work on that over Christmas), we could promote all your book(s) there too if the store gets green-lit.

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#25 2012-12-14 19:56:27

kevinpotts
Member
From: Kansas City
Registered: 2004-12-07
Posts: 364
Website

Re: I'm writing a Textpattern book - what should it include?

Wonder if Kevin Potts has some helpful guidance to give on your new book, since he’s the only member of the Textpattern Solutions book still on the scene.

Here’s what I can tell you as both an author of my own book and a co-author of another book. At the time, using a Big Publisher seemed like just the way of doing things and all part of the natural evolution of an aspiring webnerd, from bystander to pundit to blog to book to speaker to zeldman. ebooks hadn’t really grabbed the market. If I were to re-write this book, I’d change a few things:

  • I would have written it myself, or given it to someone else to write by themselves. Nathan is an awesome guy and way, WAY smarter than me (honestly), but I’ve learned that there is no substitute for The Vision, and one person with benevolent dictatorial editorial control is better than three really smart people approaching things differently and writing in different styles.
  • I would have published an ebook, for $10, and let people order their own hard copy via lulu.com or something. But ebook first.
  • I would have published the content to a website, in full, and let registered users have access for life.

Keep in mind you will never make real money publishing web books. Maybe publishers do, but authors don’t. If you’re not doing it as a labor of love … well, you’re in for a real downer in about a year. That being said, where you could make money (and where I profitted eventually), was prospective clients seeing your name on a book and assuming you knew what you were talking about and paying you to maintain that front of competence.

Regarding the ebook series. I see this as a far more successful proposition. They could be priced $2 each, and cover topics like:

  • Textpattern for Sys Admins. (Platform, security, upgrade path, data migration, server optimization, user management, MySQL tricks, core skills required for maintenance, etc.)
  • Textpattern for Content Authors (As an owner of content, what do you need to know? Textile basics, WYSIWYG options, category concepts, tagging, custom fields and custom content schemas, what you can do with links, managing comments, images, etc.)
  • Textpattern for Web Designers. (Getting a site off the ground with core tags and maybe a plugin or two. Templates, content management strategy, best practices in development, semi-advanced tag usage. Maybe a few example sites like a blog, photo gallery site, etc.)
  • Programming Best Practices Applied to Textpattern. (Advanced stuff. Applying KISS, DRY and OO concepts, with examples. When to call MySQL directly, where to use native PHP. Advanced tag usage with those wacky outliers if_different, yield, and variable.)
  • How to Write a Plugin and Influence People (Everyone is yelling for this. Someone, please write it.)

Then there could be a series of shorter ebooks that take a deep dive into misc topics:

  • Advanced Event Management and Calendaring
  • How to Build a Complete E-Commerce Frontend
  • Complete Admin Interface Customization to Keep Idiots from Doing Dumb Shit and to Make the Colors Brand-Compliant to Shut the CMO Up
  • Frontend Authentication, User Management, and Serving Content Based on Your Name, Role, or Whatever Which is Currently Near-Impossible in Textpattern Without Significant Development Effort Despite Years of Asking for Richer Out-of-the-Box Tools

You get the idea.

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#26 2013-01-06 15:17:32

gaekwad
Admin
From: People's Republic of Cornwall
Registered: 2005-11-19
Posts: 2,514

Re: I'm writing a Textpattern book - what should it include?

kevinpotts wrote:

Here’s what I can tell you as both an author of my own book and a co-author of another book.

Thanks, Kevin — very useful.

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#27 2013-01-10 14:34:25

Destry
Moderator
From: Haut-Rhin
Registered: 2004-08-04
Posts: 4,210
Website

Re: I'm writing a Textpattern book - what should it include?

I seem to have lost the ability to get notifications from this forum anymore. No matter what thread I’m subscribed to, I don’t get email notifs of new posts. Nothing going to trash either. I don’t get it, but that will certainly spell doom for this forum as far as I’m concerned.

In any case, Kevin, thanks for taking the time to give that excellent feedback. I pretty much agree down the line. And the larger vs. smaller ebooks idea would suggest there’s enough topic material here to go around. Pete’s got his operation. Phil’s talking about a potential store at .com. The magazine has been kicking around the idea of ebooks for a while (as people on the editorial side know), so it looks like there are options (and likely others) for both sourcing and distribution.

One comment with regard to .com FAQs. Many are irrelevant or outdated. The FAQs need to be audited. That’s something I started a while ago and just can’t find the time to finish. The FAQ topics could easily be written into documentation content. That was the original idea. I still think that’s an important first step there because keeping all those FAQs in .com is pointless. There are way too many and out of context of anything. That’s just a content strategy issue, not really a need for an ebook.

And I agree with the notion that the wiki is more reference and not explanatory. But again, that’s an editorial challenge, not one of decision making. The wiki has been open to tutorial contributions since day 1 in 2004. What has that achieved? Not much. So why would an ebook be different? Only one reason for motivation: money for the effort.

Ebook sales are one thing (better than nothing), but I saw someone mention donations too, and that’s a perfectly good idea for “kickstarting” an ebook series. Donations to authors and editors to get them written, and then sales for added incentive to authors. Sounds like a good approach as far as the financial side of things go.

The questions, then, are who is writing each ebook, what’s the distribution process and tech, etc. and so forth.


The text persuades, the *notes prove。

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#28 2013-07-13 14:37:57

hapihakr
New Member
Registered: 2013-07-13
Posts: 1

Re: I'm writing a Textpattern book - what should it include?

How’s the book coming along? I look forward to reading it. I am new to Textpattern and would gladly purchase a good reference book.

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#29 2013-07-13 14:52:35

gaekwad
Admin
From: People's Republic of Cornwall
Registered: 2005-11-19
Posts: 2,514

Re: I'm writing a Textpattern book - what should it include?

It’s coming. I’m in the midst of a tricky/expensive divorce that’s taking up far more brain cycles than I ever thought possible. No date in mind, currently.

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#30 2013-07-13 19:27:59

bici
Member
From: vancouver
Registered: 2004-02-24
Posts: 1,479
Website

Re: I'm writing a Textpattern book - what should it include?

gaekwad wrote:

It’s coming. I’m in the midst of a tricky/expensive divorce that’s taking up far more brain cycles than I ever thought possible. No date in mind, currently.

my condolences. hope it gets resolved soon


…. texted postive

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