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[closed] Possible WordPress Book (59 posts)

  1. LarryAyers
    Member
    Posted 9 years ago #

    Hi, all. I'm so tremendously impressed with WordPress's capabilities that it occurred to me that there may be a market for a book, something like "The WordPress Handbook". I e-mailed the O'Reilly editors a brief proposal but haven't received a reply yet. What do you think, would any of you be interested in printed docs? I think I would have bought a book about WordPress when I first tried installing it if one had been available.

    Check out my WordPress blog at:

    http://www.silphium.net/blog

    Larry Ayers

  2. Mark (podz)
    Support Maven
    Posted 9 years ago #

    Why buy a book when you can get all the help you need online ?

    And given what is in these online sources, how would you compile such a book without falling foul of copyright ?

  3. LarryAyers
    Member
    Posted 9 years ago #

    Well, the online help is scattered across several web-sites and is not complete. I wouldn't have any copyright worries because I would write everything from scratch. I'm just thinking that non-technically-inclined users might appreciate a user-friendly guide to making the most of WordPress. A chapter of such a book which I would have greatly appreciated when I was starting out would have been one on Mysql installation and administration. Until I stumbled upon phpmyadmin I was having a heck of a time making WordPress install correctly.

    Larry

  4. davidchait
    Member
    Posted 9 years ago #

    I think you'd be better off doing a 'blogging' book, covering a handful of different options -- you'd hit a wider audience...

    -d
    CHAITGEAR

  5. LarryAyers
    Member
    Posted 9 years ago #

    There are already several blogging books out there. I think that a book which thoroughly covered just one high-quality blogging platform (guess which one!) may have an audience. I don't want to write about Movable Type et al, as I'm a proponent of open-source software and prefer to direct my energies in that direction.

    Larry

  6. gvtexas
    Member
    Posted 9 years ago #

    I think a WP book would be great...if it included more than just the docs/help (since that's available, albeit not in one place, on the 'net). If you added hacks, customizing, custom themes, how-tos, plugin reviews/help, etc., it would help make it more marketable (and useful).

    But...

    WP code/versions are in flux constantly...so a book would tend to become dated pretty fast. If you did a self-publish version you could overcome this by frequent revisions/editions, but a traditionally published piece would have a short shelf life, relatively speaking.

  7. LarryAyers
    Member
    Posted 9 years ago #

    Ideally my book would come out just after the release of non-gamma WP 1.5, and I think once 1.5 is out it will be in general use for a substantial period of time.

    I plan to include chapters on hacks, plug-ins, and theme creation and customizing, plus CSS tutorials.

    Larry

  8. TechGnome
    Moderator
    Posted 9 years ago #

    Plus WP is so dynalic, by the time it went to print, it would be soooo out of date.....

    Maybe an online e-book or some thing.....

    Tg

  9. The soon-to-be-official WP book: http://codex.wordpress.org/Main_Page

  10. LarryAyers
    Member
    Posted 9 years ago #

    The Codex pages are a great resource, but many people (myself included) like to have printed manuals as well as on-line docs.

    Larry

  11. NuclearMoose
    Member
    Posted 9 years ago #

    I say go for it. Knowing what amount of work has gone into the current documentation effort by dozens of people over the last year or so, I don't envy the workload you would be facing, let alone keeping the content current.

    Sidebar comment: If every person who had an issue with WordPress documentation would contribute a single page of improvements, then there wouldn't be a so-called documentation problem. Unfortunately, the documentation work is not a sexy job in comparison to coding work.

    Also, at this time, I'd really like to extend my appreciation to those folks who are currently slugging away on Codex. You are all doing excellent work and on behalf of the WordPress community, I thank you all.

  12. You may want to talk to Matt before you go into production. There may be someone all ready working on something like this. Also, he may want some control in the matter being that a book will reach the public masses easier than the online documentation.

  13. LarryAyers
    Member
    Posted 9 years ago #

    I e-mailed Matt when I first had the idea. He responded that as far as he knew there were no WordPress books underway.

    Larry

  14. help-me-please
    Member
    Posted 9 years ago #

    If every person who had an issue with WordPress documentation would contribute a single page of improvements, then there wouldn't be a so-called documentation problem.

    I think I must be missing something here. Why would anyone have a problem with documentation if they were capable of writing it themselves? If I knew how to answer my own questions I wouldn't be getting on other people's backs about it. Are people really that crazy?

    If there was a WordPress book I would definitely buy it, even if it wasn't 'official'. After all, I doubt Bill Gates was consulted about the many dummies guides to Micro$oft products.

  15. gpshewan
    Member
    Posted 9 years ago #

    I wouldn't have any copyright worries because I would write everything from scratch...Until I stumbled upon phpmyadmin I was having a heck of a time making WordPress install correctly...I plan to include chapters on hacks, plug-ins, and theme creation and customizing, plus CSS tutorials.

    All written yourself? Look carefully at those statements you made above ;) You're saying that you had problems installing WP initially, and yet you're going to write everything from scratch covering every facet of WP? Riiighhht... (Dr Evil style)

    A book like this could not be written from scratch, by one person, without collaboration from a lot of people. Also the speed at which everything you mentioned (and including WP) develops it would be out of date before the first draft was finished.

    Bear in mind that WP may be open source, but a lot of plugins, templates, themes and associated material are released under license by those that created them. The way you knocked copyright aside was worrying...

    Nice idea, but I doubt the practicality :)

  16. help-me-please
    Member
    Posted 9 years ago #

    Aren't all plugins and themes open source? I haven't seen any that aren't, and it's a real surprise to me if the documentation isn't because I thought that was free to use by anyone. Anyway, WordPress doesn't develop that fast, wasn't 1.2 like in May or something?

  17. NuclearMoose
    Member
    Posted 9 years ago #

    Help-me-please,
    Everybody is capable of making a contribution to documentation. If you had a problem, then found the documentation lacking, and eventually found a solution to your problem, then you could contribute that.

    You could simply help edit by looking for typos and spelling mistakes. You could do some research and get information. So, yeah, I guess you were missing something. I don't know anything about coding, but I still write documentation. How did I do that? I educated myself. It's just that easy.

    Also, not all plugins or themes or other hacks are necessarily open source. It's up to the author to determine how they wish to release their work.

  18. gpshewan
    Member
    Posted 9 years ago #

    No they're not. That's a big mistake for anyone to make.

    Documentation exists outside of the codex, also what about the documentation that people produce for their own work (plugins, themes, etc...)

    H-M-P, there is now 1.2.2 which had significant changes and if you think a book like the one proposed takes a couple of months to produce, again you'd be mistaken....or the book wouldn't be worth much.

  19. ryoken
    Member
    Posted 9 years ago #

    i wanna know what matt thinks about this...

  20. mfiszman
    Member
    Posted 9 years ago #

    Is the objection that Larry might make some money off WordPress?

  21. It would be no different that the hundreds of technical authors making money off of PHP.

  22. gpshewan
    Member
    Posted 9 years ago #

    There's no objection is there? I just doubted it could be done by one person alone without collaboration. There's a place for anybody to make money from WP if they want to use their expertise.

  23. mfiszman
    Member
    Posted 9 years ago #

    Perhaps I'm misreading the situation... :)

    But there seems to be some underlying resentment towards Larry because he's looking (I assume) to profit financially from an open source project. I don't see why else people wouldn't be more supportive.

    Personally, I think his book is a good idea. I wouldn't purchase such a book myself, but I think it would be useful for some people. Enough people that it would be worth producing a printed book? Don't know. But in principle, it sounds good.

    It can certainly be helpful to have a nice printed resource which gathers the various bits you might need to make the most of a system.

    As for one person doing it alone, Larry would be perfectly free to conduct appropriate research and include appropriate references.

  24. Mark (podz)
    Support Maven
    Posted 9 years ago #

    "it's a real surprise to me if the documentation isn't because I thought that was free to use by anyone."

    All my work has had a copyright notice attached to it by me.
    Not a creative commons whatever, an all rights reserved notice.

    If someone had copied my site, stuck a couple of googleads on every page and tried to make money out of my work that way, I would be rightly annoyed. I see this as no different at all. Not in the slightest.

    My server logs also tell me who has looked at what, and when.

    " Larry would be perfectly free to conduct appropriate research and include appropriate references."
    If he is violating copyright in anyway shape or form, that is not on.

    Odd.... thread here recently where a member was inspired to release a theme which certain others pointed at and effectively shouted THIEF! ....... yet along walks another guy who aims to make money from others work, and we have a moral wing saying "Hey, y'know that's cool"

    Produce a book ... fine. But I for one would scour that for the very slightest copyright violation. And I would act on that.

  25. jalal
    Member
    Posted 9 years ago #

    I think the book is a great idea Larry.

    You may want to take a look (or talk to) the guys at subversion (http://subversion.tigris.org/). They started the documentation on their project, added to it over the versions until it was enough of a book (http://svn.red-bean.com/) that it is now available through O'Reilly's. They also looked into the issues of who owns what copyright wise and how to deal with the miriad of contributions that were made to the book.

    And, as its under O'Reilly's banner, the whole thing is available under the Creative Commons Attribution License.

  26. LarryAyers
    Member
    Posted 9 years ago #

    Interesting discussion! I'm glad a few people think my idea of a book is worthy of pursuit.

    A couple of years ago I was approached by an acquisitions editor who worked for a now-defunct tech-book publishing house. They were interested in a book about GNU Emacs and XEmacs, two versions of a complex and extensible open-source text editor. I wrote a six-hundred page book for them in about three months, did all the screenshots and produced the ISO image for an accompanying CDROM.

    I was the target of some vehement criticism from certain GNU zealots and idealists, who thought that I should have contributed to the freely-available Emacs documentation rather than making money.

    The fact of the matter is that I have contributed to open-source documentation in the past but the need to make a living mitigates against just sitting down and doing so for three months full-time.

    Larry

  27. Mark (podz)
    Support Maven
    Posted 9 years ago #

    If that is a dig at me, stop.
    I am very simply saying that you must not steal my work.
    You have looked around my site.

  28. NuclearMoose
    Member
    Posted 9 years ago #

    There is absolutely nothing wrong with both wanting and trying to make an income from WordPress. As long as the various licenses and copyright issues are addressed, then it's fair game.

    I don't see much difference between someone putting Google AdSense ads on their WP-powered site or someone creating a complimentary WP-related product. Legitimate products will be welcomed and pirated or plagerised products will be shunned. It's that simple.

  29. LarryAyers
    Member
    Posted 9 years ago #

    A reply to the post above starting with "If that is a dig at me, stop."

    I don't know what you construed as a "dig", don't even know who you are, and don't know which site you refer to.

    Be more explicit, identify yourself and your site (I've visited scores of WordPress sites), and I'll be very careful to not remember anything I see there!

    Larry

  30. mfiszman
    Member
    Posted 9 years ago #

    Larry,

    Apart from the ideas you've already mentioned, it might be interesting to include chapters/sections on:

    -- the history of blogging/its current social significance/expected future social significance, etc.

    -- the different types of blogs (diary, dev, niche news, etc.)

    Feel free to work with these suggestions, no payment required :)

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