Actual public beta of Rails Test Prescriptions is finally getting close enough that I can see it. Unless I forgot something from my conversation earlier today, there are three things that need to be done before the book can be put on beta-sale:
Both myself and Colleen, the editor, need to do one more read through the chapters in question to make sure there aren’t any gaping things missing. (For example, I need to fill in a few diagrams).
We need to get some marketing text written, the kind of copy that would go on the back cover or be sent to book buyers.
Various other marketing things need to be put in place, most notably a cover design.
We’re targeting the end of March, and one reason I’m publicizing this is to give me extra incentive to hold up my end of the things that need to be done. Because otherwise I find writing marketing copy for my own work to be challenging and would tend not to do it. Instead, I might, say, write blog posts. (See, it’s working already…)
A few quick questions that came up from my initial Twitter announcement.
What’s in the initial beta?
The initial beta sale is roughly the first half of the book, ten chapters out of what will probably be a total of nineteen or twenty, depending on how we break it down. I’m told that once the book goes on sale, the expectation is that a new chapter or more will be added biweekly. In this case, at least half of the chapters to be added are already written, so things should come on board reasonably quickly.
What’s not in the initial beta?
Rails 3 support is going to come in during the beta period, the first chapters of this section are going to start with it, but obviously that’s a work in progress until Rails 3 is officially released.
I bought the self-published PDF. What’s new here?
When I first started working on the Pragmatic version of the book, I said that it looked like the new text was going to be about 25% brand new stuff. That’s a little low, as it turns out, it’ll probably be somewhere in the 33% - 40% new stuff. New stuff includes (partial list, and I may have accidentally listed something that was in the original. Also, not all of this will be in the initial beta.
Comparisons of the most popular mock object and factory libraries.
Plus everything will be updated, which is going to be especially big for things like RSpec and Cucumber that have evolved a lot in the past few months.
Plus even things that haven’t strictly been updated have been improved and more information added.
Plus there’s a real editor this time, and the order in which things are presented is less random. Overall, it’s clearer and easier to read. It’s a better book now.
I bought the self-published PDF. What happens to me?
This is a tough question to answer. I’m really grateful to the 400-some-odd of you who took a chance and spent your nine bucks on the original version of the book. At the same time, it’s fairly unlikely that Pragmatic will do something institutional for you (among other reasons, the logistics of managing the signup would be a challenge for them).
On the one hand, I genuinely feel like those of you got good value for your $9 – it certainly seems like a value as a really early beta book. On the other, I would like to do something to acknowledge you, but I’m not sure what is feasible. So I’m not sure how this is going to play out, but you’ll be the first person I tell.