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

kevinpotts
Member
From: Kansas City
Registered: 2004-12-07
Posts: 366
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
Server grease monkey
From: People's Republic of Cornwall
Registered: 2005-11-19
Posts: 3,581
GitHub

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
Member
From: Haut-Rhin
Registered: 2004-08-04
Posts: 4,751
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.

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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
Server grease monkey
From: People's Republic of Cornwall
Registered: 2005-11-19
Posts: 3,581
GitHub

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: 1,852
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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#31 2014-01-11 05:07:51

monicahu
Member
From: Sydney NSW
Registered: 2009-03-07
Posts: 69

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

Wondering if this project is still going or not.

For a time I was undecided to continue my site (for the church) development on Textpattern or migrate it to some other CMS which may have more people (not necessarily techie) know who to support. This is because I may retire or move house and so move to another church. If there is not enough resources for me to show to the people who would continue my work on the website, there is a real risk created to the congregation.

I bought the book Textpattern Solutions back in 2007 after I had started the website in 2006. I even adopted 960.gs and a fan of Nathan Smith. Without much background in PHP or any web developement, having a good book (prefer both e- and p- versions) to help me on Textpattern is a real blessing. Due to my day-time demanding job I have once stopped the design of the site for several years and now I need to come back to upgrade the site. An easy access to a structural references, examples and tips will ease my learning path when I only have a small amount of spare time to offer.

The topics and ideas in preceding posts are all what I want to learn more. I also wish to see more resources given to non-profit making organisations, e.g. small churches, which cannot afford to hire professionals to set up decent websites for easy management. I am also a casual helper to support one website constructed with over 10 pages of pure HTML codes and not on any CMS. I have been asked to migrate the site to WordPress which I hesitate to do so. If the future of Textpattern is promising, I may then convert this website to TXP. Good resources and support (this forum) are what the community needs.


Monica
Life with God is the purpose.

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#32 2014-01-11 08:54:21

gaekwad
Server grease monkey
From: People's Republic of Cornwall
Registered: 2005-11-19
Posts: 3,581
GitHub

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

It’s still on my radar, yes. Am I working on it right now? Not actively. Making money to pay my rent has taken the top priority slot. I haven’t taken dibs on being the sole author of a book, so if anyone’s reading this and wants to put pen to paper, go right ahead,

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#33 2014-01-19 13:35:03

philwareham
Core designer
From: Haslemere, Surrey, UK
Registered: 2009-06-11
Posts: 3,532
Website GitHub Twitter

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

Regarding your book Pete, this might help once I’ve fleshed it out a bit further.

Basically, as part of the redesign of the brand sites I’m currently deciding whether to scrap the Textpattern.net wiki platform entirely and look at whether there’s a better way of hosting the collaborative documentation efforts. I’m thinking host the docs on GitHub and then pull them back to a Textpattern installation on the textpattern.net domain somehow. To this end, I’m extracting the (viable) wiki docs and rewriting them on GitHub as Textile documents (they may one day become Markdown documents depending on how we decide to serve up these pages).

I’m also taking this opportunity to improve some of the info – but that is a long-term thing which hopefully I’ll get other people helping me on. There’s a lot of out-of-date docs on the wiki.

That also gives the benefit of portability, and using the docs for other things, such as part of a book maybe…

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#34 2014-01-19 16:19:51

els
Moderator
From: The Netherlands
Registered: 2004-06-06
Posts: 7,458

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

philwareham wrote #278277:

to scrap the Textpattern.net wiki platform entirely

Not wanting to hijack this thread I posted something here.

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#35 2014-01-20 11:24:32

monicahu
Member
From: Sydney NSW
Registered: 2009-03-07
Posts: 69

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

philwareham wrote #278277:

I’m also taking this opportunity to improve some of the info – but that is a long-term thing which hopefully I’ll get other people helping me on. There’s a lot of out-of-date docs on the wiki.

What kind of help you need? As a “not so technical” user of TXP, I wish to see more useful and updated documentation – tag references, examples, tutorials on specific subjects etc. If there is something I can help I will help. After all, I want to use Textpattern for the sites which I volunteer to support. I wish to see Textpattern to go strong.


Monica
Life with God is the purpose.

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#36 2014-01-20 11:42:28

philwareham
Core designer
From: Haslemere, Surrey, UK
Registered: 2009-06-11
Posts: 3,532
Website GitHub Twitter

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

Thanks Monica,

When I’ve got the docs collected together in one place I’ll let you know.

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