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My Yii Book Update

November 3, 2011

I’ve received a few comments and questions lately about my intentions to write a book on the Yii framework. I’ve never formally discussed the idea, and so it seems like it’s about time I do so.

I first started using the Yii framework about two and half years ago. I’ve never been much of a framework person, but Yii really felt right to me, quite similar to Ruby on Rails, which I also always liked. Being a writer, after learning to use the framework, I wrote an introductory series on the subject, which has been quite popular. In all modesty, many have suggested it’s the best documentation available. In fact, the creator of Yii liked my series so much that he listed it prominently on the official Yii documentation page (it’s now under tutorials). Some time after writing that series, I started thinking about writing a full book on Yii, because that’s what I do.

When I decided to write a book on Yii, I figured I’d self-publish it, for a couple of reasons. First, even though I have a wonderful relationship with Peachpit Press, I’m not sure they’d want to do a book on Yii, as the market is kind of small. Second, even if Peachpit would publish such a book, I doubt I’d make much money on the project, considering the small market. By comparison, if I self-publish, I can make 4-5 times per book what I’d make if I went through a publisher. The higher per copy amount could be enough to make up for the smaller sales, ending up with a project that’s financially worth my time to do (sorry to be crass about the money, but writing a book is a lot of work and I do have bills to pay!). Fourth, I’ve been intrigued about self-publishing for some time. And, fifth, self-publishing would give me the opportunity to distribute the book in unique formats and channels, such as a chapter at a time.

If I had my act together (which is to say, if my life were other than it is, in about ten ways), I would have been on the ball and published this book a year or more ago. Sadly, that has not been the case. I keep fairly busy work-wise, and I don’t actually have the time (due to personal constraints) to put in 40-hour weeks, so it’s really hard to add new projects, especially on the level of an entire book. Moreover, self-publishing means no guaranteed money, so I’d have to not do paying work while not making money working on the Yii book, which is a tough situation to be in.

All that being said, it is still my intention to write and self-publish a book on Yii. The only question is: when? This is the question I’m getting asked a lot lately. Before I do anything towards a book on Yii, I still have to:

  • Finish my Modern JavaScript: Develop and Design book (which I’m weeks late on as is)
  • Write one more article in support of my PHP and MySQL for Dynamic Web Sites: Visual QuickPro Guide (4th Edition) [I’ve written two out of three articles, but I’m weeks late on that, too.]
  • Come up with a list of videos to do in support of my Modern JavaScript: Develop and Design book
  • Actually do those videos
  • Continue doing the Web development and other work I have for my clients

So…yikes. Don’t get my wrong: I’m quite fortunate to be busy, but yikes! I’ll be crying if I haven’t finished all of the above by the end of this year, which means in theory I can begin the Yii book at the beginning of 2012. However, I have the third edition of my PHP 5 Advanced: Visual QuickPro Guide due at the end of April. That does give me four months, but I’d like actually make that deadline for a change (my publisher is wonderfully understanding, but…).

Also, along with writing the Yii book, I’m going to have to come up with a site and an ecommerce system and so forth (I already have the software that can output PDFs, ePubs, and mobis). If I’m being optimistic, perhaps in 2012 I can do two Yii chapters per month, but the PHP 5 Advanced book will need to be my first priority. I also don’t want to start the Yii book, get some people paying for it (in part or in whole), and then have the project drag out. I don’t know. We shall see.

I very much thank everyone for their interest in my writing a book on Yii and I hope to make that happen. If you follow the blog and/or subscribe to my newsletter, you’ll get updates as to how this is progressing, when and if it does actually progress.

In this edition…

Continue Reading…

I’m working on a JavaScript book these days, titled Modern JavaScript: Develop and Design, to be published by Peachpit Press around the end of the year/beginning of 2012. In all modesty, readers have been asking that I write a JavaScript book for a decade now, as there seems to be a lack of good JavaScript books out there (a JavaScript book recommendation is another common request). I believe I’ve read three JavaScript books in the 12 years since I first started using the language:

These are all recommendable books, with their own strengths and weaknesses (I always think of O’Reilly books being technically thorough and excellent, but not great to learn from for beginners.) In skimming some other JavaScript books, not to be named, and working on my own, I’ve been thinking more analytically about why there aren’t more good JavaScript books out there. I’ve come up with two reasons. Continue Reading…

I haven’t been posting as actively lately because all of my time is being spent on my new book, Modern JavaScript: Develop and Design. The progress is going more slowly than I would like, but it’s going, which is something. For those of you interested in the book, here’s a quick status update…

The book has three parts (you can see [intlink id=”2412″ type=”post”]a rough TOC here[/intlink]), with Part 1 laying out the core information, Part 2 teaching the language in itself, and Part 3 introducing more advanced and newer uses of the language (frameworks, HTML5, server-side JS, advanced OOP stuff, etc.). The first draft of Part 1 is done. Chapter 1 explains what JS is and provides some context for using it in today’s environment. Chapter 2 includes a preview of what you’ll learn, and introduces some of the key concepts for using JS in an HTML page (the script tag, handling a simple event, etc.). Chapter 3 introduces the key software you’ll use: text editors and IDEs, browsers, and debugging tools.

Yesterday I submitted Chapter 4, which is the first chapter in Part 2. In it, I talk about how to create variables and assign values to them, and then explain the “simple” types: numbers, strings, and Booleans. The chapter ends with a discussion on type conversion, primarily from strings to numbers, as that can be a common cause of bugs. Tomorrow I’ll start on Chapter 5, which is control structures: conditionals and loops.

Right now the book is slated to be published in January 2012 (yes, yes, sorry for the delay). It should be available to read online as I write it through Safari’s Rough Cuts system. I’ll post those details once I have them.

Thanks again to everyone interested in the book!

I’m pleased to say that on Friday, September 9th, I received my hardcopies of the latest edition of “PHP and MySQL for Dynamic Web Sites: Visual QuickPro Guide”. This would suggest that the book should be available for purchase, or in bookstores, now or very soon. For details about the book, please see its corresponding pages. I’ve also created a new forum for this edition.

Thanks to everyone for their interest in the book!