I’ve mentioned it on Google+ and Twitter. I should probably mention it here: Beginning HTML and CSS is out. It came out yesterday.
The book looks great. I’m really happy with it.
Are there things I wish I could redo? Sure. Of course. But overall, based on what I had to work with in terms of existing material, time and other obligations, I don’t think I could improve on what’s on the shelves in any significant way.
I’m very proud of the introduction to jQuery chapter. It was written towards the end of the book and was one of the things I was most interested in writing when I started the project. I think the combination of my own interest in the subject and the fact that I had a solid foundation of cranking out 2-4 pages a day for months at a time made for some really good writing. Easy writing to do, but still pretty good.
The Next One
Both books I’ve written (and the other book I was writing that got shelved) have had other authors involved. With Professional jQuery I came in, late in the project, with the goal of finishing it off. I spent the whole time on that book reacting to what was there. I think I did some good work there, but it’s not the book I would write if the project were 100% mine. I would have approached it differently from the first chapter. And even putting structure aside, the chapters that I normally would be most interested in writing (the chapters introducing the jQuery API) were already done when I started in on the book. It was a great experience, just not an optimal one.
This book had existing material as well, so I was once again reacting to the structure and content that was already there. The good thing about this experience is that I was able to use what I wanted and had carte blanche to tear things apart if I felt like it would make a better book.
So, with all that in mind, the next book I write is going to be mine from the ground up. That’s really important to me. While I’ll always listen to opportunities in this space, and I try not to say “never” (although… I’d really to say that I’m never using ExtJS again and know that it will be the gospel truth;) I really don’t want to go through this process again unless the book is wholly mine. Too much is invested in this kind of work to not be able to steer the content to the greatest possible degree. Obviously, writing books is collaborative and I’m not just being polite when I thank all the people involved (notably Carol Long, Katherine Burt and Dan Maharry here) there’s still a level of control I’ve yet to achieve having never truly been the sole author of one of these things.
I’d like to do that.
I’d also like it to be shorter. I’d love to write a thinner volume since it’s difficult to maintain book writing pace over a long period of time. 2-300 pages sounds pretty good to me right now.
Not that I know what it would be.
(Rob runs off to think about the next thing)