Book Publishing Dilemma, Input Requested

Home » Book Publishing Dilemma, Input Requested

For about a decade now, my ColdFusion Web Application Construction Kit has been the de facto standard used by virtually all new ColdFusion developers, and by many who want to brush up their skills as ColdFusion is updated and enhanced. This book (and its Advanced sequel) in many ways helped define ColdFusion, played an important role in the growth and evolution of the product. Over the years I’ve pulled in respected, trusted, and well-known ColdFusion developers to help with the books (most notably Ray Camden who assumed the role of co-lead author on the most recent CFWACK, and who will be doing so again for the next edition). I am genuinely humbled at how important these books have become to the ColdFusion universe, and honored by how many of you have relied on these books to do what you do.
But now I am faced with dilemma, and I’d love any and all input.
Here’s the deal. The books have grown to be huge. We started with a single volume in ColdFusion 2 and 3 days, and quickly had to move to two volumes as of ColdFusion 4. And then two volumes were not enough, so we tried moving the language reference appendixes to a dedicated little third volume in ColdFusion 5 (a decision that did not go over well with most readers, although some loved it and have asked for that book to be revised and updated). For ColdFusion 6 and 7 we put the appendixes back into the book, and thus had no choice but to remove some lesser used chapters, and also made the very painful decision to make some chapters only available electronically (as PDFs on the accompanying CD).
But now things have gotten worse. The books are now several thousands pages combined (taking into account CFWACK and CFADV as well as all of the electronic chapters). And as I work on the Scorpio updates (Scorpio has so many new features that there are lots of updates, and even more new chapters needed) it is becoming apparent that page count is going to be a massive problem. Consider the following:

  • We’ve reached about the maximum page count that can be physically bound as a single volume.
  • Printing costs industry wide have gone up. I have fought hard against book price increases before, but I am being told that there is no way we can continue to print books of this size at the current price.
  • And, as already stated, I really don’t like electronic only chapters. I am fine with chapters being made available in print AND electronic, heck, I’d like for the whole book to be made available as an e-book on the CD. But I don’t like electronic chapters in lieu of printed chapters.

So, what to do?

  • We can eliminate the language reference appendixes (tags, functions, Verity language, etc.). Those ran about 400 pages in CFWCK7, and will be even bigger in the Scorpio edition. We can consider making those electronic chapters, or perhaps try a separate reference volume as we did back in CF5 days. My big concern with this one is that many users tell me that these are the most used parts of the books, and I regularly see copies with colored tabs and the like plastered all over these sections.
  • We can make additional chapters electronic only. Deciding which ones to pick is painful and never what all users will want. Plus, as already said, I really don’t like this idea.
  • Some users have asked me to do away with the intro material, the first several hundred pages of CFWACK. And the truth is, for all but new readers, those are unnecessary. But, at the same time, I get several e-mails every single week from readers thanking me for just those chapters, in particular the ones that explain basic relational database theory and review SQL language basics.
  • For ColdFusion 7 I had chatted with the publisher about breaking the books into three volumes. That would solve lots of problems by allowing us to create three thinner books with a greater total page count. But, three thinner books will cost readers more than two thicker books, and so I decided not to go with this idea because I felt guilty charging readers more money (especially those who only buy CFWACK who would now need to buy two books to replace it).

As you can see, we have no great ideas, just lots of imperfect options. So, I’d love to hear your thoughts on the subject. If any of these ideas make sense, tell me. If any are flat out wrong, tell me that too. And if you have other ideas we’ve not thought of, please share those as well.

115 responses to “Book Publishing Dilemma, Input Requested”

  1. Raymond Camden Avatar
    Raymond Camden

    Do I get to vote? πŸ™‚ I’m in the "multi-volume" camp. 3 or 4.

  2. Ian Skinner Avatar
    Ian Skinner

    Do I get to vote? πŸ™‚ I’m in the "multi-volume" camp. 3 or 4.
    # Posted By Raymond Camden | 1/26/07 5:08 PM
    But, do we suspect Ray has an ulterior motive. He just wants more covers he can see his name on!

  3. doug Avatar

    I really liked the CFWACK format, but what I have found to be more of use is my nice large ColdFusion reference wall chart. Possibly you could remove the reference section but provide a wall chart insert along with Livedocs in-text references.
    There are more IDEs to develop ColdFusion than just DreamWeaver, Eclipse/CFEclipse for instance. Possibly these sections related to IDE-centric development could be compiled into a separate draft.
    The getting started materials are pretty much duplicated in the CF Getting Started Experience provided in the CF Admin which I would think that anyone who purchases the book will have CF installed. However, in lieu of possibly removing the CF Getting Started Material I think including Installation and setup content would be important. I would also like to see more information on server tuning and maintenance.
    I found it difficult to read and work through the book in print form and much easier to work with the .pdf chapters in a window next to Eclipse. This also allowed me to copy/paste sections of code that I had already worked through as I progressed through the example applications. I would favor an E-book as an alternative to purchasing the print version.

  4. Steve Powell Avatar
    Steve Powell

    I like the 4 volume idea, beginner, intermediate and advnaced, split the lang ref off as a separate book. Cost is a no brainer given how useful they are.

  5. Scott P Avatar
    Scott P

    I voter for more volumes, moving the reference to its own book. Like the old Perl Resource Kit from O’Reilly.
    And I don’t know if you can do it, but a chapter on CFEclipse would be great in one of those books.

  6. James Holmes Avatar
    James Holmes

    4 volumes. The material is all essential, so this has to be the way to go. E.g.: the developer I sit next to wanted a run down of relational databases and was going for my Oracle book – I took it off him and pointed out the into sections in CFWACK. Someone else asked about XML and Xpath – I gave them the Advanced book. Same for regular expressions – I dive into the advanced book every time I have to write one.

  7. Steve Walker Avatar
    Steve Walker

    Not to sound redundant, but I too want more volumes. Reference should be a separate volume. A couple of caveats – more information on advanced topics with real-world examples, Flex integration, plus all the new cool Scorpio features. Also, an complete electronic version so that when I am flying across country and coding on the plane, I have access to all my resources.

  8. Alex Aguilar Avatar
    Alex Aguilar

    "I like the idea of 4 volumes (beginner, intermediate, advanced, and reference). I’d gladly pay for the box set. IMHO the benefits of smaller more specialized books far outweighs that of their counterparts."
    I agree with smaller more portable books.

  9. Patrick McElhaney Avatar
    Patrick McElhaney

    Well it sounds like 4 volumes is winning. I think the beginner version is critical and the stand alone reference is a no-brainer. But why intermediate and advanced? Does that mean I have to look at two or three books to understand a topic thoroughly? What happens when the content outgrows two volumes? Do you make a "somewhat advanced" book?
    Instead, I think I would prefer to a single CFADV "book" split into multiple volumes. Vol. 1 would cover one set of topics and Vol. 2 would cover another set of topics.

  10. Joe Meboe Avatar
    Joe Meboe

    Please, Ben, let content and quality trump all other issues. Issue the books as a three or four volume set, and let them remain the standard which has helped so many of us. While I appreciate the desire to keep costs low, that’s focusing on the wrong value. Focus on the full value that these wonderful books bring to us ColdFusion developers and let us worry about the costs. For many of us, our companies pick up the costs and for the rest of us, the value justifies the cost.
    Thanks for *all* the ways in which you support us.
    Joe Meboe

  11. Jeff Borisch Avatar
    Jeff Borisch

    I like the 3 volume + Language reference idea. Like others have said, these are about the only current CF works ’round these days, so the Advanced volume has license to be total wack-o advanced. I’m thinking more: how to hook into Java, Admin-api, and what you need to do to secure CF in production.
    I favor ebooks and I like .chm files in particular. I use them on the Mac no problem.

  12. Jeff Borisch Avatar
    Jeff Borisch

    I like the 3 volume + Language reference idea. Like others have said, these are about the only current CF works ’round these days, so the Advanced volume has license to be total wack-o advanced. I’m thinking more: how to hook into Java, Admin-api, and what you need to do to secure CF in production.
    I favor ebooks and I like .chm files in particular. I use them on the Mac no problem.

  13. Jeff Borisch Avatar
    Jeff Borisch

    I like the 3 volume + Language reference idea. Like others have said, these are about the only current CF works ’round these days, so the Advanced volume has license to be total wack-o advanced. I’m thinking more: how to hook into Java, Admin-api, and what you need to do to secure CF in production.
    I favor ebooks and I like .chm files in particular. I use them on the Mac no problem.

  14. Jeff Borisch Avatar
    Jeff Borisch

    I like the 3 volume + Language reference idea. Like others have said, these are about the only current CF works ’round these days, so the Advanced volume has license to be total wack-o advanced. I’m thinking more: how to hook into Java, Admin-api, and what you need to do to secure CF in production.
    I favor ebooks and I like .chm files in particular. I use them on the Mac no problem.

  15. Jeff Borisch Avatar
    Jeff Borisch

    I like the 3 volume + Language reference idea. Like others have said, these are about the only current CF works ’round these days, so the Advanced volume has license to be total wack-o advanced. I’m thinking more: how to hook into Java, Admin-api, and what you need to do to secure CF in production.
    I favor ebooks and I like .chm files in particular. I use them on the Mac no problem.

  16. Jeff Borisch Avatar
    Jeff Borisch

    I like the 3 volume + Language reference idea. Like others have said, these are about the only current CF works ’round these days, so the Advanced volume has license to be total wack-o advanced. I’m thinking more: how to hook into Java, Admin-api, and what you need to do to secure CF in production.
    I favor ebooks and I like .chm files in particular. I use them on the Mac no problem.

  17. Jeff Borisch Avatar
    Jeff Borisch

    I like the 3 volume + Language reference idea. Like others have said, these are about the only current CF works ’round these days, so the Advanced volume has license to be total wack-o advanced. I’m thinking more: how to hook into Java, Admin-api, and what you need to do to secure CF in production.
    I favor ebooks and I like .chm files in particular. I use them on the Mac no problem.

  18. Jeff Houser Avatar
    Jeff Houser

    To Dan Sorensen,
    Try cfquickdocs. It loads quicker than livedocs most of the time.
    To Brian Rinaldi,
    There were a ton of CF books published in the CF5 to CFMX era. The market was saturated and most of the books did not sell. I’m sure that many of the authors thank you for their support. But the support was not wide-spread enough, and publishers have no interest in updating those books. As an author of 3 of them, I’ve tried.
    Unless Adobe can promise a huge upswing in CF Developers (which seems unlikely), I wouldn’t expect another massive rush of CF books.
    To Ben’s Dilemma,
    I never use a printed reference anymore. I’d drop those 400 or so pages. The idea of a 3 volume set is intriguing, but I doubt it’d be financially viable from the publisher’s standpoint.
    ( Hey need another co-author / contributor? Let me know! ).

  19. Giancarlo Gomez Avatar
    Giancarlo Gomez

    Hello Ben,
    I have printed material dating back to CF 4.5 and I really loved the CFWACK and CFADV, that I purchased both for CFMX6 and CFMX7, as well as gave away a pair at my local CFUG. Anyways, these books like many other commentors here, gave me the career I have now and I thank you for the work you and the rest of the authors put into them. But now for the future … I WOULD LOVE A SERIES OF BOOKS!!! Who cares about the $$$. If we know this language and it is what we do, I am sure we can afford it. It would be nice to have books that are easier to carry and easier to find what you are interested in (whether it be by level and/or subject). Knowing me I would still by all of them to have. Another option would be to sell them as PDFs as well at a lower cost. Which ever way you end up doing, I am sure they will be great.

  20. Aaron Neff Avatar
    Aaron Neff

    I’d prefer 3-4 books over pdf-only chapters.

  21. Wim Avatar

    Ben, I’ve read your books on several beaches in Europe, and I can tell you it’s really a pain in the *ss to do so. They are just TOO thick. I guess I have the same reaction as about 90% of all people here: split the books! The price is no issue. I’ve ended up printing the electronic chapters and that costs money too.

  22. Brian Avatar

    Ben, people who program in cold fusion make good money. The price won’t matter…don’t feel guilty.

  23. Alexei Avatar

    Divide and conquer. 1 Big basic book, 1 Big Advanced book, 1 Big Reference with examples Book, 1 new in cf8 book. The only problem relies on teaching the basics of the new scorpio stuff. Experienced CF programmes don’t buy the basic books, but since new things will be added, how about a 4th volume only with new stuff from the ground up?
    Volume 1 – Basic of the basic
    Volume 2 – Advanced
    Volume 3 – Performance, Tweaking, clustering, etc.
    Volume 4 – Complete Reference with small examples
    Volume 5 – New in CF8 from the scratch.
    If someone is new at CF s/he won’t need vol 3 and 5. I’d buy 2,3,4,5 for instance.
    I don’t like PDFs like you, i wan them printed. Books aren’t expensive themselves, and developers are used to buy lots of them. I share some books with my co-workers, so the most books the better.

  24. Rachel Maxim Avatar
    Rachel Maxim

    Oh, the WACK holds a warm place in my heart too! I’ve been reading it since CF5. When Adam told me about the dilemma (before I got around to reading this post) my first response was "break it into multiple volumes, like Oracle and Microsoft do".
    To be honest I really hate the chapters that are only on CD. Sure, it’s great to have the books on PDF, but only if they are already in the book. I would advocate a 4-5 volume set, and would be happy to pay for it. Books may be pricey, but considering I’ve basically built a career out of a few $50 books and almost no college training on the subject, it’s well worth it. I also think the multi-volume set enables developers to only purchase the books that apply to them.
    I think Alexei has broken it down pretty well – my slight twist would be:
    Introduction to the language and programming concepts
    Intermediate/Advanced development
    Administration, performance tuning and and clustering
    Language/function reference
    What’s new in CF8 (perhaps some overlap with the prior volumes, but assuming intermediate knowledge of CF 6/7)

  25. David Graham Avatar
    David Graham

    Rather than taking a skill level approach (Intro, Basic, Advanced) why not separate the books by topic? You’d probably still need an intro book, but then how about books focused on databases and SQL, frameworks, CFCs, server tuning, security, a reference book, New In CF8 etc.
    I also absolutely love Steve’s idea of complete electronic versions. We have two offices and some on site work – I love your books, but hate lugging them around.

  26. Alexander Tsoukias Avatar
    Alexander Tsoukias

    Ben… you do not need to feel guilty, as the book price should have been twice or triple from the beggining. We should thank you for holding in so many years on that pricing.
    So setting price aside, you should go to multiple volumes, LiveDocs is cool, but I want to hear Ben explaining it (and I’m sure all you readers will agree).
    So better go to multiple books and explain it as you properly do and forget the electronic stuff etc…
    All the best and thanks again and again for opening my eyes in the cfwwworld!!

  27. Jeff Borisch Avatar
    Jeff Borisch

    Everyone. Sorry about the half dozen identical messages I posted. It seemed like I kept failing the captcha and I repeatedly tried to get past it; trying all the possible combinations where the case of the letters was ambiguous.
    I’ll only try this message once. No Matter What πŸ™‚

  28. Andrew Avatar

    First let me thank you for the CFWACK and CFADV. Without a doubt these have set the standard for web development books and all other books are compared to these.
    I like a series of books focusing on specific content. I am a huge fan of Flash Forms (I know that there are mixed feelings from the Adobe – Macromedia team on the extensive use by some of us) so I would love to have a book on exploiting the many capabilities of this technology. In addition, to Flash Forms I am a huge fan of CFCHART and want to learn more about CFR’s but have not found a reference that goes into much detail on the subject.
    Your concern about cost is admirable, but for people who are really serious about developing they will pay for books if they are helping them be heroes when they develop solutions (happy customers mean more support). One of my knock on Adobe technologies is the lack of books on how to use their products. In comparison to ASP.NET and JAVA, there is really a limited number of books out there for ColdFusion.
    A series is what I’d like to see and would pay for without hesitation.

  29. Kevin Roche Avatar
    Kevin Roche

    I really think there is a need for a printed reference. I guess being an oldie I like sometimes to have the book to hand when I am coding especially somthing I don’t use every day. I also think that its best to have smaller books. I often recommend Sue Hove’s book to new CF users. Sometimes beginners get confused by having so much in one volume. So go for 3 volumes I say. Even 4 might be better.
    The only rider I would suggest is that it would be great to have an idex to all the books in one place so I can find something which is a bit obscure when I can’t remembe where I saw it. How about a google search of the book?

  30. Toby MacLeod Avatar
    Toby MacLeod

    I use the books everyday. I started CF a year ago with no programming skills whatsoever and now I’m starting to build CF Apps fulltime and I couldn’t have done it without the books. From the perspective of a person who started at the beginning and has worked there way to a medium skill set and who is working towards an advanced skill level I suggest the following:
    1. I use the tag and function references the most. I think it would be great to have them in a separate book.
    2. I wouldn’t get rid of the introductory chapters as they are very valuable for someone starting from scratch. (While I don’t like chapters exclusively offered electronically, if any of them had to be I would suggest the intro chapters)
    3. I personally don’t care if the content comes in 2, 3, or 4 books. The cost isn’t an issue if you are serious about learning CF. I think the content organization and usability should be more of a priority than cost.

  31. Joseph DAngelo Avatar
    Joseph DAngelo

    Ben —
    Just to echo what everyone else here has said, I think that more volumes is definitely not a bad thing. Its much easier to hand a 200-page book to a new developer to learn the basics of CF than a 800-page reference manual that is thicker than most desktop dictionaries.
    I learned a lot of new things in this edition of the advanced book, stuff I’d ever find in the online documentation, like utilizing the Apache POI API for creating and controlling MS Excel spreadsheets. I’d hate to think that I would be missing out on stuff like that because of the physical limitations of a book.
    About publishing in electronic format… its great for me here at home, but the facility I work in won’t allow us to bring in external media and I’d hate to have to print out 800 pages of reference to bring into work.
    Thanks for all you do…

  32. Edward T. Avatar
    Edward T.

    These books have been invaluable to me from my start back in 4.0 days all the way up to the present day. They are not only useful to me personally, but form the backbone of my CF training program for new hires. Even the MS in Comp Sci candidates that I get find them invaluable for understanding the practical issues in web development. Heck, I’ve even handed them to a .NET developer switching over to CF and they just -put him at ease- about CF.
    I’m going to echo my thanks and recommendation for a 4-vol. boxed set: beginner, intermediate, advanced, and language reference, and I can guarantee you at least two sales πŸ™‚

  33. J Murphy Avatar
    J Murphy

    Divide it into as many volumes as you need. I use your books quite often and they are worth the price. Usability is the key here. Electronic versions are not convenient and using the web isn’t either. There have been times I’ve been in the car with your book and a laptop figuring out a problem (as a passenger of course). The books always pay for themselves easily.

  34. charlie arehart Avatar
    charlie arehart

    Ben, I have to admit I haven’t got time right now to read the 84 comments that precede me, but I did search to see if any referenced "documentation" and only 2 did, and not as I would, so let me add a couple of ideas.
    As some may guess, they’re both a little "outside the box", but desperate times call for desperate measures. The first involves giving more credence to the docs, and the other is a proposal for a radically different kind of update for the WACKs.
    It sounds like what’s needed is a "getting started guide" to hold the portion devoted to beginners, and then a "reference manual" for the reference. The rest, one could argue, could go into separate "Developers Guide " and "Administrators Guide".
    But, hey, then you’d just be replicating the documentation. Funny that. Each one of the above guides already exists in the documentation. Now, before anyone think I’m bashing Ben for writing the books, please don’t. He knows that I am a co-author of the ColdFusion MX Bible [still on store shelves and often listed as the 2nd book folks recommend πŸ™‚ ].
    Still, I have long wondered why people even buy books when they have the CF documentation, available in both print and online, and they too approach the 2,000 page mark. I believe the doc set can be purchased for $50, which is amazing. And yet people don’t seem to bother.
    Now, I’m really not saying this to discourage people buying Ben’s (or my) book. I’m really just writing in response to this stark reality Ben has put forth. (Indeed, so there’s no confusion, I’ll point out that I’ve also offered myself to Ben for the future books as the publisher of our Bible has not expressed interest in updating it. It’s a tough market for CF books out there.)
    I’d argue that the best solution would be to get the Adobe CF docs into bookstore instead. Heck, rebrand them as co-authored (or perhaps edited) by Ben so that they come up in searches people may do for "the Forta books".
    Whether that idea holds any water or not (and really, that could be done in addition to any other ideas), I have some other thoughts, as naturally I’ve been thinking about this conundrum (of what best books to offer).

    Assuming Ben and his co-authors choose to press on, here’s something I’d propose: only write the new books as updates over the previous ones. In other words, write whatever would be new, whether it’s a new chapter or a new way to do something in an old chapter, and reference back to the sections in the old book that this updates.
    This has multiple benefits. First, those who already have the old books need only by the new ones. And I’m sure many who’ve bought the new ones before have lamented that they had to search around to find out "what’s new" (regardless of any preface explaining new chapters, there may have been minor but functional changes in other chapters that weren’t mentioned).
    Perhaps as important, this would also help those who see only new code be able to better appreciate why folks may use "older techniques". It’s understandable that a new book would drop an "old way", but that doesn’t mean people won’t still come across it in the wild. If they had to go back to the "last complete WACK" to see how that "old way" was described, it would help them know both the old and newer ways.
    Again, I know these may seem a little out of left field. But Ben’s used to that from me by now after 10 years of our working together on some things. I’d love to hear what others think, though I realize that perhaps others will comment (as I did) without having the time to read through all the preceding comments.

  35. Aaron Wolfe Avatar
    Aaron Wolfe

    I say go with 3 Volumes.

  36. Joe Kelly Avatar
    Joe Kelly

    I say go with 3 volumes. The value of the information outweighs the additional cost, IMO. I also like the CFML Reference Handbook – handy! If you feel bad about the additional costs, throw in some extras, like the CFML Language poster/shower curtain.

  37. andy leontovich Avatar
    andy leontovich

    Hi Ben. Why not sell the books as chapters. And include in the set a "business solutions" book or two. I find that I don’t need 70+% of the books and would rather not pay for the chapters I don’t use. If I have a project that requires something different-then I’ll buy the book that gives me what I need.
    Thanks for all of your hard work. I’ve been using your materials for years.

  38. Michael Avatar

    I think 3 or 4 books is fine. Price is whatever you have to pay just like any other support/reference/manual for anything else. It is a tool of the trade. The other thing I would like to see is a couple of complete application produced as part of the book and not just parts of different applications inserted as examples. Also having to carry the books around can be a pain especially since all the changes at airports, so if you also had a cd that contained all of the information as part of the book as well would be good. For those that just want it electronically they should be able to purchase it on-line.

  39. Will Tomlinson Avatar
    Will Tomlinson

    You have no choice but to create 4 volumes ben. It is what the gods command.
    We’re happy to pay the money for one or all of your cherished works.

  40. Clint Avatar

    I think your making a mountain out of a mole hill. Just split up everything into 2 or 3 completely different books. One book is your reference book, one is for beginner-intermediate, and another for advanced. Or any other way you want to split it up. As long as they are completely seperate from each other, but all about Coldfusion. Maybe make a 4th book about extending Coldfusion, stuff that coldfusion uses or can be used by. Such as Flex/Coldfusion integration (not about Flex but the CF side of the equation), and same with other technologies. How to use CF with any DB, or other languages like PHP through other services like HTTP. etc…

  41. Ben Forta Avatar
    Ben Forta

    No Ray, you don’t get a vote. πŸ˜‰
    Charlie, good feedback, much appreciated. And bummer that the Bible book won’t be updated, but it’s my good luck that you are now available πŸ™‚
    Jeff (and others) re the lack of ColdFusion books, that’s a very painful subject, and one I have tried to fight to no avail. The bottom line is that the publishers screwed up. Back in CF3 and CF4 days there was 1 and then 2 books (the second being the Sybex book, which, while I liked, was unfortunatley written for the same users as mine own books). In the CF5 era there were a couple of new additions, including Rob’s excellent O’Reilly title (which was written for a very different audiance). And all of the books did very well (it was the height of the .com era, too, which helped, so lots of customers and readers, and a handful of titles). Then came CFMX, and every publisher under the sun jumped on to the CF bandwagon (New Riders, as an example, had never published a CF book previously and foolishly released at least 6 for CFMX!). That flood of books, coupled with a general decline in software sales post .com, means that none of the books then did well (including mine). So, all (but one) of the publishers backpeddled and decided to publish no more CF books. We went from too many to too few in one release, which is really silly. If there were a few more they would do well (I have the numbers to back that up). I’ve tried to push O’Reilly to update Rob’s book, even though it competes somewhat, but to no avail. It’s feast or famine it seems, and with the publishing industry in the dumps in general (lots of publishers have gone out of business, all publishers are cutting back on title counts, and are trying to only bet on what they see as the sure thing, something overly hyped or new and up-and-coming), CF is getting the raw end of the deal. Which hurts CF, I agree.
    But, back to the issue at hand. Thanks of all of this feedback, and if you have anything to add please do so. I’ll post the plans as soon as we’ve figured them out.
    — Ben

  42. Brian Meloche Avatar
    Brian Meloche

    I’ll throw out the idea of a FIVE… that’s right FIVE… book reference.
    Sam Mitchell, and others, said it earlier in this thread:
    The FIFTH book… or maybe a separate series of books… would put it ALL together. It could have samples (a second stab at the Reality: series idea), ways to solve intermediate to complex problems (cookbook), but also teach things like good fundamental CF application architecture and design. It could possibly be a series of books, not just a single fifth book. I’ve always been a guy more interested in engineering, rather than just pure theory… ways to make things WORK. That’s what I am getting at. Teach people how to become good CF developers, not just the syntax.

  43. Tjarko Rikkerink Avatar
    Tjarko Rikkerink

    One of the reasons I stopped buying the books after version 6 was the fact that 3/4 of the book is exactly the same as the previous version. Now if a new developer comes in the company I let him start with the version 6 book.. and after that show him/her just tutorials on the new stuff in de version 7 of ColdFusion. I plan to do the same for version 8, because i’m only interested in the NEW stuff.. not the old… how do I create a variable etc etc..
    For me an "What’s New, and how to use it, beginner/advanced" version would be the trigger to buy the book again.

  44. Adam Reynolds Avatar
    Adam Reynolds

    Hi Ben,
    I kinda gave up on your books and bought the O’Reilly CF MX book as I was after reference book.
    I do think you need a book on how to programme CF (beginner/intermediate) but I’ve been developing with CF now for 8 years and your books don’t do it for me. However I will quite happily hold my hand up and say that I usually google for answers on specific topics. I don’t think I’ve opened a CF book in over a year now.
    I would suggest though that you need a reference book, possibly in 2 volumes, and a beginners guide to CF, cos it ain’t as simple as it used to be and there are specific thought processes a developer needs to go through if developing a site. Things like ‘securing your application’, ‘Frameworks’.
    On a completely related note, I’d love to see a book on Flex/CF integration covering/development strategies. It’s something I’m getting to grips with, but it isn’t fun at the moment.

  45. Adam Reynolds Avatar
    Adam Reynolds

    Just thought I’d add that if you did release a reference book, then I would buy as it is always useful to have.
    Please note that is one of my homepages in Firefox.

  46. Sam Farmer Avatar
    Sam Farmer

    Charlie makes a very good point about the existing documentation and books that are kinda published by Adobe. I say kinda because you can buy them but they are sold in a way that makes them sounds very dry and I have never seen them in stores. A shame because, for the most part, they are excellent books and on par with CFWACK.

  47. Clint Avatar

    A large consensus seems to favor Beginner, Intermediate, Advanced, Refence, and possible Cookbook (Solutions, examples, architecture, integration..).
    During a developers "lifecycle" he is in one of 5 stages:
    Discovery – Gets most of his information free from the web, tries a few things.
    Beginner – Looks for a starter book or reference, just the very basics, begins building simple apps, no DB’s or integration.
    Intermediate – A narrow and small group, most go from beginner to advanced. Larger apps requiring more planning with DB and webservices etc..
    Advanced – Needs information you usually have to pay for to find, stuff only found in advanced classrooms. Enterprise apps with a high degree of Object Orientation. How to manage CF server and such.
    Maybe you could cover each one every year and you’ll always have an audiance. I would buy an advanced book but would be discouraged if half of it had stuff I already knew and use everyday. Leave that stuff for the beginners. (1. Simple programming, 2. DBs and integration, 3. OO and server management, 4. Reference and/or cookbook.)

  48. Rick Smith Avatar
    Rick Smith

    I’ve seen people mention the O’Reilly book for reference, but it’s so dated now… let alone when Scorpio is released. I do rely on a significant amount of online resources, but the print resource is particularly handy when you work for the federal government and access to online resources is limited.
    I very much support the idea of the three volumes and having a digital e-book for each. I particularly like the idea of breaking the volumes up into beginner, intermediate and advanced volumes. Of course I will purchase all of the new volumes.
    The purchase cost is irrelevant when you consider the cost of frustration developing without it.

  49. James, F.E. Avatar
    James, F.E.

    One more vote for at least a separate reference book.
    After that, the proposed three volumes – beginner, core, and advanced – sounds good. Other books/topics as the need arises (maybe a CF Cookbook?) or a book explaining more CF OOP, or something covering the popular frameworks (Fusebox, Mach-II, Model-Glue, etc.)

  50. Adam Reynolds Avatar
    Adam Reynolds

    I have a real problem with beginner/advanced. You have people that don’t know how to use CF and then you have people who are experienced with CF and need a reference/cookbook.
    That’s it.
    The definition of beginner should encompass best practices, that sort of thing.
    What I would say is that you have developers and server administrators and there is a black art to CF when loadbalancing etc and high availability.
    I honestly think you need a book "Developing Coldfusion: Best Practices". CF can be easy which means you do get some idiotic code that somebody knocked together and causes the perception of CF to be degraded.
    This should go into design approaches, sql injection attacks, frameworks (FB, MG, Mach). It should also discuss RIA integration design considerations.
    You then need a CF Reference/Cookbook.
    I’d love to see a Coldfusion Server Adminstrator book, looking at server hardening, loadbalancing, server analysis (which with CF8 is going to be very good) etc.
    All good fun, but everybody needs something different. πŸ™

Leave a Reply