Kuro5hin.org: technology and culture, from the trenches
create account | help/FAQ | contact | links | search | IRC | site news
[ Everything | Diaries | Technology | Science | Culture | Politics | Media | News | Internet | Op-Ed | Fiction | Meta | MLP ]
We need your support: buy an ad | premium membership

[P]
Feedback on a book proposal

By eries in Culture
Thu Jun 15, 2000 at 12:29:33 PM EST
Tags: Round Table (all tags)
Round Table

I'm still new to K5, but I really like what I've seen so far. In particualar, I've seen a bit of discussion about using this forum as a place for peer review/feedback on articles and publications of various kinds. So, I thought I'd post a bit about a book proposal I'm working on, and see if there's any interest in discussing it here. However, I'm not really sure if this is right of K5, so if you don't like it, please just vote it down and skip the flames, OK? Thanks.


For the past year, I have been working on a commerical web site called Catalyst Recruiting. I have overseen all aspects of its software design, which was accomplished using exclusively free software tools, including PHP and PHPLIB. Recently, we decided to try and create an open-source project based on the quite extensive code that we had assembled. That project, called Enzyme, is now hosted on Sourceforge at Enzyme.sourceforge.net. Now, along with another developer from the original Catalyst team, I am working on writing a book about the experience we had designing, writing, and then open-sourcing (is that really a verb?) this project. I'd like it to be a hands-on technical book, designed for an advanced audience to learn PHP, PHPLIB, MySQL, CVS, etc.

My question is: is there a market for this kind of book? Are there already good books that you'd recommend on: creating open-source software, learning PHP+MySQL, developing for the web with CVS? What other topics should we address/focus on (we've got a few ideas, but we'd love to hear yours)? Are there publishers (besides the obvious choice of O'Reilly) that we should take this proposal to? I'd like to use comments and feedback garnered here in the proposal itself, and potentially in the book itself if it ever comes to fruition, so I promise to credit any and all posts that we use.

If there's sufficient interest, we'd also consider posting the actual proposal that we're sending around...

Sponsors

Voxel dot net
o Managed Hosting
o VoxCAST Content Delivery
o Raw Infrastructure

Login

Related Links
o Catalyst Recruiting
o Enzyme.sou rceforge.net
o Also by eries


Display: Sort:
Feedback on a book proposal | 29 comments (29 topical, editorial, 0 hidden)
It would be also interesting to str... (none / 0) (#14)
by rafael on Thu Jun 15, 2000 at 02:25:33 AM EST

rafael voted 1 on this story.

It would be also interesting to stress, in this book, why you made the choice to open-source your developments.

I dig this idea. I'm sure some of t... (5.00 / 2) (#1)
by rusty on Thu Jun 15, 2000 at 02:27:36 AM EST

rusty voted 1 on this story.

I dig this idea. I'm sure some of the PHP fanatics who are always pestering me about Scoop being perl (you know who you are!) will have great technical advice for you.

But here's an even better idea: Wanna make a splash? Check out Andrew Leonard's The Free Software Project on Salon. He publishes a chapter online, and then people respond, suggest, critique, etc. Why not do something like that here? Do the whole book online-- you've already started, why not make it a habit? We could run it as an ongoing series, you put chapters, or parts of chapters perhaps, here, and people can proofread, suggest, whatever. When it's all done, print it up, and away you go.

So my advice, if people like the idea, is go for it. Start with the proposal, then when we've torn at it, shop it to publishers. Let us know how that goes. I think O'Reilly might be interested in doing some kind of collaborative online publishing gig. Then write the book, live on the web.

Damn, that would be cool. Please say you think that would be cool! :-)

____
Not the real rusty

Re: Bug in scoop (none / 0) (#22)
by rak3 on Thu Jun 15, 2000 at 12:48:46 PM EST

It seems message number 13 in this page used an italic tag (i don't want to put it cause it will contribute to the problem) and didn't close it, making everything else on the page italicized.

Rich

[ Parent ]
Although I have no intrest in this ... (none / 0) (#3)
by FlinkDelDinky on Thu Jun 15, 2000 at 02:32:54 AM EST

FlinkDelDinky voted 1 on this story.

Although I have no intrest in this the publisher I think of (besides O'Rielly) is WROX. You can actually submit your proposal over their web page. I really like the book I bought from them too.

Submission queue comments ... (none / 0) (#5)
by kmself on Thu Jun 15, 2000 at 03:35:28 AM EST

kmself voted -1 on this story.

Submission queue comments

The idea is worth posting, but it needs cleaning up. Check your spelling, lose the introductory "new to K5" stuff, and state your piece, quietly and clearly.

Outline what you think the book ought to contain. Provide comparisions -- yes there are MySQL and CVS books out there. Covering multiple topics under one cover is going to be tough -- better maybe to identify a collective topic, or to release a series of guides. Have you written anything before (it's more work than you think). Are you looking for hardcopy or electronic distribution.

Not sure if a project diary is going to make anyone's best seller list, but you might want to see if you can change my mind.

--
Karsten M. Self
SCO -- backgrounder on Caldera/SCO vs IBM
Support the EFF!!
There is no K5 cabal.

Yes. I'd buy a few copies to distri... (none / 0) (#11)
by adamsc on Thu Jun 15, 2000 at 04:04:34 AM EST

adamsc voted 1 on this story.

Yes. I'd buy a few copies to distribute around at work.

Sounds like a good idea. Not seen a... (none / 0) (#16)
by martin on Thu Jun 15, 2000 at 05:57:31 AM EST

martin voted 1 on this story.

Sounds like a good idea. Not seen anything that covers t hat whole project & technologies together. Check out 'wrox' as publishers they;ve done quite a bit of PHP stuff before.

Any positive information that can b... (none / 0) (#18)
by w1ldb1ll on Thu Jun 15, 2000 at 06:41:46 AM EST

w1ldb1ll voted 1 on this story.

Any positive information that can be posted or published, to help with the transition from proprietery solutions to open source, are good ideas.

I think it's a brilliant idea just ... (none / 0) (#19)
by Rich on Thu Jun 15, 2000 at 07:14:58 AM EST

Rich voted 1 on this story.

I think it's a brilliant idea just make sure that if you publish the book you make clear what skill level you are aiming at.
I Expect history will be kind to me as i intend to write is. Winston Churchill

hmm, i still don't see the book aro... (none / 0) (#9)
by cavok on Thu Jun 15, 2000 at 07:53:22 AM EST

cavok voted -1 on this story.

hmm, i still don't see the book around...
-= cavok =-

It's good to share experiences abou... (none / 0) (#7)
by jrennie on Thu Jun 15, 2000 at 09:13:46 AM EST

jrennie voted 1 on this story.

It's good to share experiences about the open source process as it isn't always an easy or clear path to follow... Jason

There are already plenty of books o... (4.00 / 2) (#13)
by madams on Thu Jun 15, 2000 at 09:30:56 AM EST

madams voted 1 on this story.

There are already plenty of books on learning the various software packages that you mentioned. It might be more interesting to have a technical book about how to successfully run a commercial project using free software. I'm thinking of something more along the lines of Philip and Alex's Guide to Web Publishing, which is less of a how-to manual than a book designed to get you thinking about the various issues involved in building database backed websites.

Your book would be more useful to the community if it were about the "why's", rather than the "how's".

Your orginal idea is excellent, however. Sure, you can go to the bookstore and buy books about MySQL, PHP, and CVS, but I can't think of any books that tell you how to use them together.

--
Mark Adams
"But pay no attention to anonymous charges, for they are a bad precedent and are not worthy of our age." - Trajan's reply to Pliny the Younger, 112 A.D.

Sounds interesting, but I don't thi... (none / 0) (#17)
by RichN on Thu Jun 15, 2000 at 09:33:11 AM EST

RichN voted 0 on this story.

Sounds interesting, but I don't think many publishers will jump at it. It seems to be a niche topic (i.e. it would appeal to web designers using PHP and MySQL.) If the title has enough buzzwords, however, you may get a publisher interested enough to accept it...

Good luck with it!


-- Rich
You could have provided a link to y... (3.00 / 1) (#2)
by ramses0 on Thu Jun 15, 2000 at 10:07:05 AM EST

ramses0 voted 1 on this story.

You could have provided a link to your proposal in the story, but anyway... Yeah, I think there is definitely a market for this kind of book. You will need to target two audiences, managers considering opening their products, and programmers who are already working on a project who would might want to (or might be forced to) open their source.

In order not to get lost in the noise, don't write a "how to create a website book", or "how to use cvs"... your book will fill a niche if it avoids telling people how to use those products, and instead tells people "how do i open a project?"

Before you get started, I'd really recommend reading Philip and Alex's Guide to Web Publishing, which I considert *THE* definitive codex of technical/web books. It doesn't tell you how to use the tools at a tactics level, it tells you about strategy's to use that might involve some basic tools, which is infinitely more valuable.

Good luck!

--Robert
[ rate all comments , for great justice | sell.com ]

This sounds like it could turn into... (3.00 / 1) (#4)
by Anonymous 242 on Thu Jun 15, 2000 at 10:08:40 AM EST

lee_malatesta voted 1 on this story.

This sounds like it could turn into an interesting book. If I read the blurb right, it would be one third how to configure the tools you need, one third how to program in the PHP/MySQL environment, and one third lessons learned in project management, site design and implementation, and taking an in-house project to the open source community.

I think the timing is right. If you can get the book done soon enough, it will be out in time to ride the still growing eCommerce wave. I can't think of any eCommerce books that have a live sight as a case study. I think that would add a very unique perspective.

Aside from O'Reilly, the publishers I can think of are Wiley and Sons, Addison-Wesley, Wrox, the Waite Group, and IDG.



Re: This sounds like it could turn into... (none / 0) (#24)
by eries on Thu Jun 15, 2000 at 03:27:47 PM EST

Hey, thanks for the feedback. I've actually written for the Waite Group before, but I wasn't sure if it was 100% common-knowledge that Waite was purchased by Macmillan USA. They now own all the rights to all the Waite titles and trademarks, but they have disbanded the actual company and, AFAIK, no Waite people still remain at Macmillan.
Promoting open-source OO code reuse on the web: the Enzyme open-source project
[ Parent ]
Nice use of butt-kissing. ... (none / 0) (#6)
by error 404 on Thu Jun 15, 2000 at 10:25:28 AM EST

error 404 voted 1 on this story.

Nice use of butt-kissing. I really like the idea of you publishing your experience with a commercial open source project. Helps counter the image that open source projects are just a bunch of odd people who are willing to work for free. I also like the idea of kicking book and article ideas around here. Some good cross-polination could come out of it.
..................................
Electrical banana is bound to be the very next phase
- Donovan

I don't think advertising is approp... (none / 0) (#10)
by ishbak on Thu Jun 15, 2000 at 10:28:27 AM EST

ishbak voted -1 on this story.

I don't think advertising is appropriate.

This is refreshing - an actual very... (4.00 / 1) (#12)
by dgay on Thu Jun 15, 2000 at 10:38:08 AM EST

dgay voted 1 on this story.

This is refreshing - an actual very original idea. Go for it - the only recommendation I have is to not get too specific about PHP/MySQL. I would focus more on using CVS and starting an Open Source project. impressed. dgay-at-bungo-dot-com

I'm more interested in hearing/read... (none / 0) (#21)
by thomp on Thu Jun 15, 2000 at 11:07:23 AM EST

thomp voted 1 on this story.

I'm more interested in hearing/reading about problems and solutions of real world implementations than generic textbook examples.

The book has merit, go ahead and wr... (none / 0) (#15)
by iCEBaLM on Thu Jun 15, 2000 at 11:29:32 AM EST

iCEBaLM voted -1 on this story.

The book has merit, go ahead and write it, however I don't think this needs to be on k5, isn't this supposed to be some kind of news site? :P

Sounds like a cool idea, although I... (none / 0) (#8)
by dlc on Thu Jun 15, 2000 at 12:08:26 PM EST

dlc voted 1 on this story.

Sounds like a cool idea, although I don't know if it appropriate for a book on it's own. I like the idea of an article (at least) describing how a project came about, it's growing pains, and what the authors learned.

Now that I think about it, this may be an excellent way to approach the writing of a technical treatise -- by engaging the reader in the story of how a favorite web site or application came to be, and describing in depth the tools used to bring the project to fruition.

My only criticism is that I think an anthology of such stories would be better, especially for a project that is not well-known. A project would have to be the size of Apache or Linux, I think, to warrent a book all on it's own.


(darren)

I've been tinkering with the idea... (none / 0) (#20)
by Boojum on Thu Jun 15, 2000 at 12:19:53 PM EST

Boojum voted 1 on this story.

I've been tinkering with the idea of writing a technical book. (Albiet in another area of programming.) I'm curious as to what sort of ideas people have.

Re: I've been tinkering with the idea... (none / 0) (#26)
by skim123 on Thu Jun 15, 2000 at 05:16:25 PM EST

What topic, if you don't mind me asking? I am just curious... (I have written one technical book and my second will be out shortly.)

Money is in some respects like fire; it is a very excellent servant but a terrible master.
PT Barnum


[ Parent ]
sounds good. (none / 0) (#23)
by dto on Thu Jun 15, 2000 at 01:45:31 PM EST

i've been considering something kind of similar, a documentary of the GNU OCTAL project. Of course, it'll have to wait until the code is finished :-).
--- @@@ dto@gnu.org @@@ GNU OCTAL @@@ http://www.gnu.org/software/octal
Open Source Linux Web Programming (3.00 / 1) (#25)
by Anonymous Hero on Thu Jun 15, 2000 at 04:45:50 PM EST

This sounds similar to "Open Source Linux Web Programming", by Christopher A. Jones and Drew Batchelor (M&T Books/IDG Books 1999), which covered the use of Perl, Java and XML, including several XML application servers, and which I found to be very interesting and useful. I would be very intersted in seeing other similar books, covering differing technology mixes and focusing more specifically on real-world experiences. One issue that comes to mind is timeliness -- as we are all aware, this field is moving so rapidly, that a six-month (I'm guessing) publishing lag can render a book outdated upon debut (I picked up "Open Source" at quite a discount less than 1 year after its publication). The obvious solution is to publish the information via a website itself, so that it could be continuously updated, commented upon by readers, etc. I guess there still is more glory in being able to say "I published a book" than in putting out yet another website, but a site really seems to be the most appropriate form for this kind of material. In any event, good luck!

Re: Open Source Linux Web Programming (none / 0) (#28)
by Anonymous Hero on Fri Jun 16, 2000 at 09:21:31 AM EST

Actually, in my opinion, they might consider writing and publishing a book and also keeping an online version. This appears to work very well in some respects. For example, a book such as "Complete FreeBSD" has been published in a variety of forms. This includes a physical book as well as an html version. The html version contains a few nice points about why they would consider publishing in these two forms: (see the introduction to the book at) http://www.wantabe.com/unix/freeBSD/book.html

[ Parent ]
Post the book on a Web site (none / 0) (#27)
by skim123 on Thu Jun 15, 2000 at 05:20:11 PM EST

Since your tipic applies to a narrow niche, perhaps rather than publishing the book you should just share it on-line. Granted, an on-line work would not be as easy to read as a paper copy, it wouldn't have the benefit of publishers/editors reviewing it, but it would still be neat.

Money is in some respects like fire; it is a very excellent servant but a terrible master.
PT Barnum


Check this book out, see what's already been said (none / 0) (#29)
by Stormbringer on Fri Jun 16, 2000 at 07:54:07 PM EST

Open Source Development with CVS, by Karl Fogel
Coriolis Open Press
ISBN1-57610-490-7

the chapters dealing specifically with CVS-based source management are available free for the download on the Coriolis site as a PDF. The chapters you should familiarize yourself with are the ones which are not posted on the Net.

Good book, btw

stormr


Feedback on a book proposal | 29 comments (29 topical, 0 editorial, 0 hidden)
Display: Sort:

kuro5hin.org

[XML]
All trademarks and copyrights on this page are owned by their respective companies. The Rest 2000 - Present Kuro5hin.org Inc.
See our legalese page for copyright policies. Please also read our Privacy Policy.
Kuro5hin.org is powered by Free Software, including Apache, Perl, and Linux, The Scoop Engine that runs this site is freely available, under the terms of the GPL.
Need some help? Email help@kuro5hin.org.
My heart's the long stairs.

Powered by Scoop create account | help/FAQ | mission | links | search | IRC | YOU choose the stories!