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Re: a crazy idea -- the Book

From: Meskauskas Audrius
Subject: Re: a crazy idea -- the Book
Date: Mon, 16 Jan 2006 14:53:32 +0100
User-agent: Mozilla Thunderbird 1.0.2 (Windows/20050317)

Typically, the best books are written by the authors of the methods or other things that are present in the book. For instance, the "Molecular Cloning: A Laboratory Manual" is present in near every serious biochemical laboratory, despite this book costs several hundreds of dollars. The book is popular because it consists of multiple chapters, written separately mainly by the authors of the described methods. It is more popular than many other books, describing the same methods and costing one order of magnitude less.

If this is true for java also, the really good books can be written either by Sun, by active members of our project and probably by the authors of other Sun API implementations. For parts where the development is no longer active the sections could also be written by somebody else of (if there are enough material) maybe even skipped.

Between the proposed topics of the book it could be (the list is discussible): 1. Advanced use of the standard java API. For simplicity, we can just assume that the reader knows the java language and various simple things like how to display a JFrame or iterate over collection. I suggest to assume that the reader is somebody like Sun Certified Java Programmer (then the program of that exam can be used to check what the reader already knows). We can focus mainly on packages and classes where the topics are difficult and documentation is very incomplete or even missing: advanced networking, swing models, non trivial class loaders and so on.

There are already many - too many - books for "beginners", frequently describing details that can be learned from the web without any book at all. 2. Each free java virtual machine project can contribute a chapter about that virtual machine. These must be the informative, useful chapters, giving the potentially useful technical details - not just the lists of supported platforms. 3. The structure of the GNU Classpath project can be described - that does, that does, how this library is connected to the java virtual machine and so on.

Other ideas can also be suggested.

Hence we can write such book if there are enough persons willing to contribute chapters about the Free Java parts that they have implemented. In the past, I wrote multiple scientific articles for various journals (in English), once needed to write, technically prepare and arrange printing (but not distribution) of the small book and twice was supervising the shared development of the multi-author book where each author was contributing a separate chapter. If required, I can take the co-ordination of this Classpath subproject.

In the first step, we need the chapter proposals (topic and possible date of submission). Using the CVS history information it is easy to set the priorities if several potential contributors want to write chapter about the same (or they can be just told to co-operate).

In the second stage, the book is composed from the received chapters. Normally the authors then receive they sections as they would appear in the book for the additional editing and proofs.

Finally the printing and distribution must be arranged. People probably may be more motivated and write more material if at least part of the profit from that book would be returned back to the authors. If I am wrong with this way thinking here, the better. Surely there are other reasons to contribute.


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