Rails Test Prescriptions Blog

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Category Archives: self promotion


Here’s what I’ve got.

2 chapters introducing jQuery and Jasmine via a walkthrough of a simple piece of JavaScript functionality.

1 need to convert all my text from its current proprietary format to something more Markdown based.

1 genuinely silly conceit tying together the application that gets built in the book. And I mean that in the best way. It should be silly, there’s no reason not to be bold. There is even a twist ending. I think.

1 slightly dusty self-publishing tool chain that converts a directory of markdown files into HTML, with syntax colored code. It’s possible that there’s a better library for some of the features these days.

1 chapter on converting that simple piece of jQuery into various patterns of JavaScript object. I quite like this one, actually.

1 website, which is currently hosted by WordPress – at one point, I had to abandon the railsrx.com site that actually sold stuff, and WordPress was easy. I think I’ll need to upgrade that a bit.

1 Intro chapter covering JavaScript basics and the Chrome developer tools. Not sure if this is at the right level for the audience I expect.

1 Prince XML license for converting said HTML files into PDF. No idea if that’s still the best tool for the job. Or even if my license is current.

1 chapter on building a marginally complex auto complete widget in jQuery and Jasmine. I like this example.

1 copy of most of the book’s JavaScript code in CoffeeScript. Not sure when I thought this was the right idea for the book, beyond an excuse to use CoffeeScript.

1 chapter on jQuery and Ajax.

0 toolchains for generating epub and mobi files. I know I can find this.

1 case of impostor’s syndrome, not helped by rereading the harsh review of Rails Test Prescriptions on Amazon. That was dumb, why would I do that?

1 chapter on using JSON. As far as I can remember, this chapter never went to edit.

3 people who mentioned on Twitter that they’d buy a self-published book. Don’t worry, I won’t hold you to it.

1 plan for writing 2 or three chapters on Backbone.js

5 people who reviewed the last version who I feel should get free copies when this comes out. It’s not their fault.

4 viewings of Ze Frank’s “Invocation for Beginnings”

So. Ready to go. Watch this space.

A Brief Announcement About A Book

So… The JavaScript book that I had contracted to do with Pragmatic will no longer be published by them.

I need to be careful as I write about this. I don’t want to be defensive – I’m proud of the work I did, and I like the book I was working on. But I don’t want to be negative either. Everybody that I worked with at Pragmatic was generous with their time and sincere in their enthusiasm for the project. Sometimes it doesn’t work out, despite the best intentions.

I haven’t spoken about this project publicly in a while because it was so up in the air. And also because I’m not sure what to say about it without sounding whiny or mean. And also because I was afraid of jinxing things, which is obviously less of an issue now.

Since November, the book has been in review and I’ve gone through a few cycles with Pragmatic trying to get things just right. The issues had more to do with the structure and presentation of the material then of the content or writing itself. I’m not completely sure what happened, but I think it’s fair to say that the book I was writing did not match the book they wanted in some way or another.

Anyway, that’s all water under the bridge. I have full rights to the text I’ve already produced. Self-publishing is clearly an option, though the phrase “sunk costs” keeps echoing in my head. It’s hard to resist the irony of starting with a Pragmatic contract and moving to self-publishing after having done it the other way around with Rails Test Prescriptions. I’m hoping to blog more – in addition to being a time sink, not being able to write about this book was kind of getting in my head about any blogging.

Thanks for listening, and watch this space for further announcements. I was excited about this project, and while this is disappointing, I’ll be excited about it again in a few days. Thanks to the people I worked with at Pragmatic for the shot, and thanks to all the people who have been supportive of this project.

June 7, 2010: Lot of Conferences Week Begins

Today is the RailsConf tutorial day, with the conference proper starting tomorrow. I was less disappointed than I thought I would be when my talks were not accepted, but I’m more disappointed than I thought I would be not to be going. Have fun, everybody.

On the other side of the country, today is the Apple WWDC keynote, which I’m sure I’ll join the rest of the internet in obsessing over.

Book Status

Over the weekend, worked on the style chapter of the book, largely trying to incorporate the ideas from the Chicago Ruby talk, and also combining some of the short chapters. Need to find out if I have a page limit.

Lots Of Links

Plasma Rails is a new Rails RDoc presentation site that claims to update Rails 3 docs nightly. It’s got a very TextMate-ish dark theme.

The Everyday Rails site has a quick rundown of three Rails Authentication methods, Restful Authentication, Authlogic, and Devise. Devise looks nice, and I’m considering moving the Rails Test Prescription examples to it since it seems to be an easier setup than Authlogic and also Rails 3 compatible.

Not to be outdone, I Suck At Ruby mentions a feature of the the Ruby TextMate bundle that validates Ruby code on save.

Josh Owens at RailsFreak has a suitably quick post with thoughts on how to do a quick launch of a web application.

DHH himself has released Tolk, which is a Rails engine providing a web interface to support translators entering text and converting it to the Rails YAML locale files. I think this was extracted from the recent Basecamp multiple language release, looks like it’d be useful.

Ars Technica named the winners of their design awards. I concur on two of the three apps that I use (Tweetie — please finish the Mac version 2.0 — and Dropbox), I like 1Password, but wouldn’t consider the app itself to have a particularly great design. Don’t use the others, although Soulver is pretty cool.

Finally, In Self Promotion

This has been around for a while, I think, but it just passed back in front of my eyes. Antonio Cangiano has a list of recommended Ruby books, and a separate list of Rails books.

Somewhat flattered to have my Wrox book, Professional Ruby on Rails, be included. There are parts of that book that I think are really great. And parts of it that were obsolete almost the moment it was printed (for instance the entire chapter on using Subversion with Rails…). Anyway, thanks!