Publishing 5 books this year

April 1st, 2010. Tagged: CSS, JavaScript, News/personal, performance, writing

So I'll be publishing 5 books this year. Isn't that incredible? Is it even possible? And good quality books at that? It's a nice challenge (my last year's challenge failed, I didn't even bother to count how bad it failed). I think it's possible, especially if you bend a little bit the meaning of "5", "year", "publishing" and "me" :)

Book #1 - High-Performance JavaScript


Let's start bending - this is a book where I wrote just one chapter. It's a book by Nicholas Zakas with contributions from:

And I wrote my chapter mainly the last year. My chapter is about the DOM. But the book became available just now, few days ago, so it's published this year (bending, bending...)

Book #2 - JavaScript Patterns

I am hard at work on this one currently (explains the low activity on this blog). I started last year but only finished two chapters in '09. The bending part here is that I've already given presentations on the topic and have been writing a "patterns" column for JSMag for a while, so I can recycle quite a bit of content.

You can see the tentative cover, I hope it stays tentative and we can replace the hen with a nice cute little zebra (a.k.a. donkey with patterns). Between you and me, I think there's a new designer in O'Reilly with a bird fetish.

I expect the first draft for this one to complete within weeks. And no, it's not about implementing the Gang of Four patterns in JavaScript (has been done already by Ross, see above), although there's one chapter on a selected few - Singleton, Factory, Observer, Proxy, Decorator...

Book #3 - Speed Matters

I've contracted with Peachpit Press to write a book about performance targeted mainly at designers. It will be about the business (why go fast), technology (how) and psychology (perception of speed) of web performance. I'm excited about this one for a number of reasons:

  • there's a lot of misconceptions being spread around in designer blogs and books, especially sad when one of the books in question is a sort of a bible for web designers. I mean things like PNG vs. GIF, gzipping and others. I hope I can present a readable, concise and, above all, technically correct text for designers who may find Steve Souders' HPWS, a.k.a. "The Bible" a little too dry because it's from O'Reilly and has no colors
  • the publisher is considering a sort of novel approach to writing the book, fingers crossed, because I believe it's the right way to write technical books.
  • at the very least, the book will be available as early drafts while it's being written, which is new to me, but always wanted to do.
  • the book will be full color - again, new experience to me

The bending here comes from the fact that I'll try to reuse from the perf advent calendar if I can. So some content may be pre-written.

Book #4 - Object-Oriented JavaScript (2nd edition)

The bending here is obvious - it's just a second edition, not a completely new book from scratch. My goal here is:

  • address errata
  • address some excellent critiques (of this otherwise bestselling book!), such as this one by @kangax, which is the article that actually prompted me to pitch a second edition to the publisher. So many thanks to Yuri! Also thanks to Asen who's been sending me invaluable and detailed feedback on the first edition. And now thanks to Asen and Kangax (and also Dmitry) I'm spending some time lurking on comp.lang.javascript mailing list, which is full of great discussions.
  • ECMAScript5 update
  • some concepts such as hoisting, NFE, property attributes, etc
  • one completely new chapter on testing and docs
  • answers to the end-of-chapter exercises - an often-requested update

Hoping this title will not take a lot of time.

And since these 4 books should be finished by the end of August or thereabouts, this will give me whole 4 months (1/3 of an year) to dive into something I've been thinking about, two things actually - CSS and self-publishing.

Book #5 - CSS for web devs

CSS is widely misunderstood by many people, me including. I'm convinced we only use a portion of all that CSS is, and use it badly. I'm not saying it will be CSS: The Good Parts, but I plan to address what I consider bad habits in CSS (mis)use and write a book as a learning experience. This is the best way to learn IMO. It will be self-published and probably available online for free too. And by self-publish I don't mean or some of the other resellers, but working with the printer and distributor directly.

Too ambitious? April Fool's?

Probably, but with all the pre-written stuff and other cheating, it may very well be doable. Then I guess I'll take a 5 year break :)

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