I set out to write a book on data access, services, and Silverlight 2 and stick to those topics faithfully. I have a sticky note on my desk that shows the main topics and the word “thin” as a reminder to myself to stick to the point and keep the book thin … thin as in not a brick that someone could bludgeon me with if they don’t like the book :)
When I buy an intermediate to advanced book, I love it when the book gets to the point, shows me what I need to know and skips over the 250 pages of introductory material. Perhaps a chapter or 2 of intro material is fine, because then I can skip over it if I need to or read it if the material is indeed new to me.
My book is not an introduction to Silverlight. It is not an all encompassing book telling the reader everything there is to know about Silverlight. Rather my book explains what is needed to build data driven applications using the most appropriate tools in Silverlight to accomplish this goal.
This does cause a bit of a dilemma because I feel that you cannot build data driven applications in Silverlight without understanding Dependency Properties and the fundamentals of Silverlight’s data binding. I cover these areas, but to stay true to my sticky note, I cover these topics with a little bit of “why” and a little bit of “how” … and I don’t take 250 pages to cover them.
The bulk of the material is starting to take shape and I just looked at my original table of contents and laughed. Its 90% different at this point :) I mentioned a few weeks ago that I use OneNote to organize my thoughts and my chapters. I would be lost right now without it. I have moved ideas, chapters, created new chapters, and sliced and diced my notes so many times that I cannot imagine how I would stay focused without it. OneNote keeps me writing instead of trying to figure out how to organize myself. it is also a great tool for figuring out what you will be writing about in the next chapter. Which at this point, i am realizing that all i can promise myself is what will be in this chapter and what will follow it in the next chapter.
I am having a good time putting the material together, and other than the DataGrid (whose beta state is not fun), the rest of the material is flowing out pretty well. I am looking forward to seeing the completed work in December later this year (which means I need the bulk of it done by September!). The funny thing is that I am working harder on this this shorter book than I did on any of my books that were twice as long!