Tuesday, March 31, 2015

This is awkward

Years ago -- many years ago -- I self-published three books on Python.

I also set up a Google Group, Building Skills Books, for a discussion area.

For a while, I check my download logs carefully to see how the book was being received.

Then I became a tech nomad, and commenced traveling and working from coffee shops and cellular network hotspots with my phone. The discussion group went from a luxury to a complexity to a near impossibility.

Now that I have steady connectivity, it's really kind of embarrassingly awkward that I ignored my readers like that.

For years.

I submit my apology to all of the folks who hoped for a more responsive author.

What can I do about it?

Nothing to fix the past, obviously. For the moment, while working for Packt, most of my writing goes to them.

However.

I hope to revisit these Building Skills Books in some depth in the not-too-distant future. I see three stories on my "As a Reader, I want..." storyboard.

1) Typos Fixed so the books are readable. Gather all the typos and corrections from the discussions.

2) Clarifications so the books are more useful. Gather all the questions, comments, suggestions. Fold those into the rewrites.

3) Python3. The beginner-level Intro to Programming book needs further revision. (I tried to publish an iBook for the Python3 rewrite and am not happy with the process or the results.) I think I'll revise it (yet again) and post it as GitHub pages.

4) Python3. The Intro to Python book needs to be rewritten. It's a HUGE project, but, I feel that it still has some value because it's chock-full of exercises and attempts to be really complete. I think I'll drop the reference material, however. Back in '02 -- when I started the first draft -- that seemed like it was beneficial. Now it's approximately worthless.

The OO Design book is a real hand-wringer. The approach of a strict parallelism between Python and Java can be seen as a disservice to both languages. On the other hand, I think it's good to focus on lowest-common denominator features that are common to all OO languages. I'm undecided on what to do here. I think I'd like to drop Java and add some additional refactoring exercises.

I need to pick one of these two:

4a) Python Focus for OO Design.

4b) Lowest Common Denominator Focus for OO Design.

There's no precise schedule for this; it's mostly a kind of placeholder and discussion jumping-off point. Maybe I should start a proper https://trello.com board for this.