If I Wrote a Programming Book...

Discussion in 'iOS Programming' started by ArtOfWarfare, Jul 16, 2012.

  1. ArtOfWarfare macrumors 604

    ArtOfWarfare

    Joined:
    Nov 26, 2007
    #1
    If I decided to write my own ebook on programming and put it up on iBooks, would I be allowed to plug it every time someone asks questions about how to do something that I cover?

    I'm thinking once I finish my first 3D game here in the next few months, I'd like to write a book that explains everything I've learned over the past decade that came together in making my game. The idea is other people will be able to learn what I learned in ten years in ten months instead.

    I figure it'll cover just enough C, Obj-C, C++, Xcode, Blender, GIMP, and Ogre 3D for someone to make a game comparable to mine. (Maybe I'll teach some sound stuff in the book, too... IDK, my game is silent right now because I haven't yet learned how to make my own music/sound effects and have them not suck.)

    I know people end up plugging books they liked for learning a topic all the time... I'm not sure if the forum rules somehow forbid plugging a book that they wrote themselves.
     
  2. jnoxx macrumors 65816

    jnoxx

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    Dec 29, 2010
    Location:
    Aartselaar // Antwerp // Belgium
    #2
    I'd love that, if you actually wrote it, and once you have it just link people to certain parts, why wouldn't you?
    I'd say, good luck at least! :)
     
  3. robbieduncan Moderator emeritus

    robbieduncan

    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2002
    Location:
    London
    #3
    What do you mean by plug it? If you mean your account would only exist on here to post links to iBooks or an external site in response to questions: you'd be banned. If you had a link in your signature and answered the questions on this forum (not just link to an answer on your own site to drive traffic there) then you'd be OK.
     
  4. ArtOfWarfare, Jul 16, 2012
    Last edited: Jul 16, 2012

    ArtOfWarfare thread starter macrumors 604

    ArtOfWarfare

    Joined:
    Nov 26, 2007
    #4
    No, I mean right now the iOS programming forums get something to the extent of "How do I start programming [...] I have no prior experience" at least once a week.

    Currently, I respond by listing off several different free sources that I have used, and I tell the chapters from each source I recommend.

    I'm thinking that if I wrote my own book, I could just say "Do Section I: The C Programming Language, Section IV: Xcode, and Section V: iOS SDK 6 from my book. Here's the link to it on iBooks." Or if they want to make a 3D app, I could give the sections they'll need to do to make it up to being able to use Ogre.

    I'd probably use iBooks because I'd be really interested in having the interactive elements... I feel like current programming textbooks are much too dry... there's much too much reading involved. And then a lot of people just read the textbooks and they neglect to do the suggested exercises and thus they don't gain as much as they should... I think maybe if I made some exercises that were interactive with the book itself, that might work better. (IE, exercises like drawing out how memory will be stored on a piece of paper... that means the reader has to find pen and paper... odds are they'll just skip it and forget about it... I could embed a drawing area where they could use their finger right in it. IDK. Maybe an app is a better medium than even an iBook for what I have in mind. I'll have to look into the iBook authoring tools.)
     
  5. robbieduncan Moderator emeritus

    robbieduncan

    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2002
    Location:
    London
    #5
    That would probably end up getting you in trouble as you would be directly advertising your product in posts. That's not allowed :( I can see that you would be trying to be helpful but the rules are there to prevent us having fights in the forums when competing authors/software writers/case manufacturers etc all respond saying theirs is the best/one to use.

    As I said signature link would be fine thought.

    If you want absolute clarity (I'm responding individually here, the overall moderator group may have a better response) then use the Contact Us form.
     
  6. Tander macrumors 6502a

    Tander

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    Oct 21, 2011
    Location:
    Johannesburg, South Africa
    #6
    Personally, I would definitely grab a copy of your book if you were to write one up. :cool:

    Speak directly to the moderators of this forum - I'm sure they can work a deal out. :cool:
     
  7. Nick johnson macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jun 21, 2012
    Location:
    USA
    #7
    Thats a great idea of yours to write a book.. Would love to buy it,,, Find out any solution which will be beneficial for you as well as for us......
     
  8. 1458279 Suspended

    1458279

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    May 1, 2010
    Location:
    California
    #8
    I like the idea of a book. What level are you thinking about (beg/int/adv)?

    I haven't see many advanced books. In fact most of the books are starting to look the same.
     
  9. Duncan C macrumors 6502a

    Duncan C

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    Northern Virginia
    #9
    Take a look at Erica Sadun's "iOS 5 Developer's Cookbook" series. There are 2 books in the current series, a "Core Topics" and an "extras" book. It's available in both ebooks form and paper. (I think the second volume may be electronic-only.) It is hands down the best iOS book series I've ever seen.

    Erica is a PHD in computer science, so she has some serious "chops", but she's also a working iOS developer and outstanding technical writer. Her books are full of samples of working code that solve real-world problems.

    The format isn't great for never-ever developers since it doesn't have a lot of hand-holding in it. It covers quite a few topics, and for those topics, it provides working code. The big plus is that it covers the "hard parts" of the topics it discusses, and does it very, very well.

    I've been an Apple developer since rocks were soft, and a full-time iOS developer since about 2009, and I have learned tons and tons from Erica's book.
     
  10. ArtOfWarfare thread starter macrumors 604

    ArtOfWarfare

    Joined:
    Nov 26, 2007
    #10
    All levels. I want to provide students with an answer other than "It can't be done" when they ask on the forums "How do I program a game this summer? I've never programmed in my life at all, but I'll do nothing but learn all day every day this summer!"

    My book aims to be the only thing they need to read to learn everything they'll need to. Then they can spend their next school year actually making their game.

    Basically, it's the book I wish I had while I was in school... it's the cumulating of everything I learned over all my separate summers that could have been learned in a single one if I had had my own book.

    Edit: Nevermind. Not as advanced as the book Duncan is describing, I imagine. Advanced enough to take someone who can't write Hello World to being able to make Quake 3.
     
  11. 1458279 Suspended

    1458279

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    #11
    I was really hoping it would be a very advanced / non-gaming book. I'll check out the Cookbook Duncan talked about.

    I look forward to seeing it and might be able to offer some help with editing/error checking when the time comes. Lord knows I've read enough programming books :rolleyes:
     
  12. Duncan C macrumors 6502a

    Duncan C

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    Northern Virginia
    #12

    What you describe is a tall order. Such a book would be quite long, and a bear to write well. To write about a topic, you have to know it backwards and forewords.

    I've been doing tech review on a few books lately, and I don't envy iOS tech authors. The subject changes so fast, and it takes so long to write a good, comprehensive book that by the time you get it done and printed/distributed, it's at least partly out of date.

    Consider the iOS 5 cookbook I mentioned. It's really, really good, and much needed. However, It's only been in print for a few months, and already iOS 6 is on the horizon.
     
  13. ArtOfWarfare thread starter macrumors 604

    ArtOfWarfare

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    Nov 26, 2007
    #13
    I'm not sure I really understand the value of being really advanced... like, what happened to good enough being good enough?

    Are iBook authors allowed to push free updates to their customers? I would assume so (but I'm not really certain) which is part of why I'm going that route rather than publishing a physical book. (There's also the whole fact that there's a much lower entry barrier... or at least I assume that too... how much does Apple charge authors to distribute iBook textbooks?)
     
  14. xStep macrumors 68000

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    Less lost in L.A.
    #14
    I believe it is there regular 30% cut.
     
  15. 1458279 Suspended

    1458279

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    #15
    Several advantages to a book being very advanced:
    1. I don't know of very many out there that really dig deep (they might be out there, but I don't know of them)

    2. I think there is a need for advanced non-game iOS programming

    3. I think it would be easier to do an advanced book over a broader general entry level book. In other words, you can stick to a few select areas and focus in depth rather than covering Xcode, iOS, APIs, dev membership, ObjC, debugger, etc...

    You could select an area and skip all the other stuff.

    My guess is that of all the people that start off with "I wanna be an app developer" most don't make it past the 1st few books and once they get past the sample apps, they realize that app development real work. The market for an advanced book would be much smaller, but you wouldn't be 1 of the many many entry level iOS books.
     
  16. ArtOfWarfare thread starter macrumors 604

    ArtOfWarfare

    Joined:
    Nov 26, 2007
    #16
    But about an enrollment or membership fee? I tried signing up, but it said I wasn't allowed to use the same Apple ID to publish both books and apps. I figure before I invest too much time making an iBook, I make sure I know what the startup cost is. I figure $100 should be easy to make back for textbooks... I'll charge $10, get $7, and have it back after 15 sales... Doesn't sound like much of a gamble given there are only 105 textbooks on the store and none are on programming. I think researching, writing, and editing my book will take ~1000 hours (10 hours per section, 10 sections per chapter, 10 chapters. One chapter per topic. Recall my goal is to make it possible to learn everything necessary to make any game on any platform in one summer, so I have to keep it concise. I'm not going into depth with APIs or anything... I want to teach generally enough that the person could move onto making games for iOS, Mac, PC, Android, Wii U, etc. - ill teach C thoroughly because it hardly changes with time and it's either directly used or a close relative is used on every platform.)
     
  17. dejo Moderator

    dejo

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    #17
    Any game on any platform? Sorry, but I don't think such a book is possible. There just far too much to cover, there's frequently going to be multiple ways to achieve the same result, innovative games will require creative solutions (i.e. something that no book can anticipate), and the differences between platforms is pretty huge.
     
  18. chown33 macrumors 604

    Joined:
    Aug 9, 2009
    #18
    Concision is difficult:
    I have made this letter longer than usual, because I lack the time to make it short.
    -- Blaise Pascal


    1000 hours is basically 6 months, 8 hours a day, 5 days a week (1 week of time off). I think that's a huge under-estimation of the work involved.

    I suggest you try writing two chapters, in their entirety, and see how long it takes. You then have some actual data to extrapolate from. That in itself is a useful programming skill: estimating time of work, from concept to completion. Even people with years of experience are doing well if they're within a factor of 2.

    And I agree with dejo: Any game on any platform ain't gonna happen. Some of the game mechanics might transfer, but there's too much variation between platforms. People with little experience of real-world porting often under-estimate the difficulty of it, even when you know both platforms inside-out, and have been planning portability from day 1.
     
  19. 1458279 Suspended

    1458279

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    California
    #19
    I looked in the "Computers and Internet" not textbooks and found 4954 but don't know how many are actually programming.

    Are you talking about all the different game APIs and engines? Example Cocoa2D, Unity, ... as well as word games all the way to MOOGs and FPSs?
     

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