I'm a big fan of the Pramatic books and I've read five of them so far. I'm definitely looking forward to checking out Ship It!.
Question for you concerning your work on this series. The first three books in the series were written by Andy and Dave, who certainly have established a distinct style for the series (the pragmatic style?). Now they have brought other authors such as yourselves into the series.
What kind of guidance were you guys given in order to maintain the overall tone of the series? As an example, I know that Kathy Sierra and Bert Bates held a workshop for people wanting to write for the Head First series of books, which also has quite a distinct style. Was anything similar done for the Pramatic series? To what extent were Andy and Dave involved with Ship It!?
From what I've seen most of the authors either work mostly with Dave or Andy, not both. We worked with Andy for the most part. We've known Andy for years, he's local, and we've reviewed most of the books they've written.
Andy had a ~very~ heavy influence on the style of quality of the book. Will and I are developers, not writers, so our early drafts were kind of bad. Andy met with us on many occasions to retools sections of the book, writing tips, chapter direction, etc. We spent a lot of time in Carolina Cafe across the street from SAS over supper with free WiFi. We knew what we wanted to say but needed help in figuring out how to say it.
The book is ours and it represents our experience and ideas, but we got a lot of guidance and help from Andy on how present them. As you've said, there are some great books in the PragProg bookshelf already, and we had to meet that standard. I honestly don't think we would've made it without Andy's help. (Thanks Andy!)
When I compare some my current writing to the writing I did before the book and I just shudder. It's been a great experience for me.
How did the idea for the book come up? Did you approach Andy and/or Dave with the idea, or do they have a list of topics they are looking to address in this series?
posted 15 years ago
Originally posted by Jason Menard: How did the idea for the book come up? Did you approach Andy and/or Dave with the idea, or do they have a list of topics they are looking to address in this series?
I met with a friend for lunch and the topic turned to his current project. They were experiencing ~huge~ problems that could've been avoided by using Tracer Bullet Development. Then we started talking about the project's infrastructure and all the problems they were having there as well. Before I knew it we had spent over an hour going over many of the topics that ended up being in the book. These topics came out of the years that Will and I had worked together and the processes that we (and others) had hammered out.
I came back to the office and sat down with Will and discussed it and we decided to write a book. We knew that Andy and Dave had just launched the Pragmatic Bookshelf. Andy had been bugging me for years to write about the work we'd done, so we sat down and wrote up a proposal and pitched it to Andy. Obviously, he liked the idea.