For those who follow me, you know that I wrote a few books on Java EE.
For those who follow Java EE, you know that there is a version 8 out there.
For those wondering when I’ll be updating my book to Java EE 8, I’ll say “I’ll never write again!”…. But never say never.
I’ll never write again
Involved in J2EE since 1998, I followed its evolution and joined the Java EE expert group from version 6 to version 8. During that time, I wrote a book in French called “Java EE 5“, then turned to an American editor, wrote “Beginning Java EE 6” and a few years later updated it to Java EE 7. I ended up with a “Beginning Java EE 7” book that was 500 pages long. This process of writing got a bit painful (some text editors shouldn’t be used to write books), inflexible (it’s hard to update a paper book frequently) and I also had some arguments with my editor.
Parallel to that, the history of Java EE 8 was also somewhat painful and long. I was still part of the Java EE 8 Expert Group, but nobody really knew why the experts’ mailing list was so quiet. No real exchange, no real vision, no real challenges. That’s when I decided not to waste my time working on a Java EE 8 book. But the community said otherwise. I started receiving emails and Tweets about updating my book. I always met someone at a conference going “Hey, Antonio, when is your next book coming out?” My answer was “No way!“.
I’m writing again
I decided to take stock. What was holding me back from writing? Clearly it was my editor and Java EE 8. So, I decided to get rid of both. I decided to extract only the chapters I wanted from my Java EE 7 book, and update them. That’s where the idea of writing smaller “fascicles”, instead of an entire book, came from. Then, I looked at self-publishing, and here I am at Amazon Kindle Publishing. And guess what? I can update my fascicle as many times as I want (fixing typos, updating code, adding sections etc.). The work was made with Kindle in mind, but if you really really want a paper book, it’s also doable with Amazon.
The first chapter that I turned into a fascicle is about Bean Validation. Bean Validation took up a single chapter of my “Beginning Java EE 7” book and was 34 pages long. It was about Bean Validation 1.1. Since then, this specification has evolved towards a version 2.0, and my fascicle is now 90 pages long (taking out intro-outro). I love Bean Validation so much that I even created an entire online course for PluralSight.
BTW, my fascicles are in English: no translation in French or Portuguese, sorry :o(
How much does the fascicle cost?
Yes, everything has a price (that’s what my banker says). To be honest, that was the toughest piece of the puzzle to solve: How much to charge for a fascicle? I went through different formulas (dividing the number of pages by the number of lines of code multiplied by the number of full moons in a year…) but Amazon Kindle Publish has a tool that gives you estimates. And they estimate my fascicle to $9,98 for the Kindle version. WDYT?
To proof-read the technical part of the book I got a fantastic team: Gunnar Morling (Bean Validation spec lead who also wrote the Foreword), Youness Teimouri and Guillaume Smet. Thank you guys for your time and expertise. This team really helped in getting the level right. Thanks for your precious time!
And a special thanks to Dan Allen. I’ve built a complex tool chain based on Asciidoctor that aggregates bits of Asciidoc files, merge, transfer, copy them… and end up in PDF, EPUB and MOBI. Dan has done a tremendous tool suite that should be used by all book editors, really (BTW you should financially help the project Asciidoctor). And thank you Dan for getting rid of a nasty bug ;o)
I won’t be updating all the chapters of my Java EE 7 book, but there are some chapters that I want to. So the next fascicles should be: JPA, CDI, JAX-RS, JSON-P/JSON-B (and I’m still not sure about JMS or JAX-WS, you’ll let me know).