Monday, June 27, 2011

Simplicity vs. Depth

During  chapter technical reviews, the question of technical depth has come up time and again.  Essentially, in every single chapter.

In the older Building Skills in Python book, there are a number of topics that feel "digressive" to the reviewer and editor.  Too much depth.

However, there are a number of Python tutorials, many of which are very shallow.  I'd like to find a way to retain the technical depth, without it feeling "digressive".

Choice 1.  Split each chapter into different "basic" and "advanced" sections.  This would retain a sensible outline of parts (Language Fundamentals, Data Structures, Classes, Modules and a bunch of advanced projects) and chapters within each part.  Some chapters would still have to be split because a number of "advanced" concepts (i.e. alternative function argument passing with * and **) really has to be delayed until after an appropriate data structure chapter.

Choice 2.  Separate material two kinds of chapters "basic" and "pro".  This would lead to a "basics" thread for n00bz (read all the "basics" chapters) and an "pro" thread for professionals where you'd just read all the chapters in order without skipping.    This would create some more chapters, but each chapter would be shorter and more focused.