Results of the book poll

Here’s a quick list of the results for the polls last week about me writing a book on data visualization with ColdFusion:

  • 66% had at least a would probably be interested response.

  • A few more people said they wanted lots of code than some or none, but it wasn’t very clear-cut.

  • 56% would prefer a version-specific book to a version-agnostic one.

  • No one wants a pocket reference.

  • Paperback, 400-600 pages, $20-$30 seems to be the right medium.

  • PDF is a mixed bag: some would want it instead of a printed book, while others want it in addition to the book.

So here’s the deal: I’d really like to do it. How does this sound?

I think I’m going to offer at least 2 printed versions of the book: a thick one chock full of example code and pretty pictures, and a thin one where it’s up to you to download the source and follow along. I admit that I’m often frustrated by programming books where I feel that half of the book is printed source that I’m not going to look that hard at anyway.

Presumably I’d target the lite version at the $20ish range, the hefty one at a $30-$35 range. The PDF would then be a version of the lite one, and would go for $5 on its own or free with purchase of a printed version. Other than inline source code, all three versions would include the exact same material—no one version would have any content that any other version wouldn’t.

The target audience is a mid-level developer who probably knows ColdFusion, but might know some other server-side or client-side language. I plan on tackling several of the examples in several different ways, say cfimage versus SVG or ColdFusion versus JavaScript versus Flex. It’s my goal that you could then take the examples and easily transfer them over to PHP or C# or whatever strikes your fancy.

You also don’t have to be a guru. I’ll be diving into the deep statistical juju behind time series and hierarchical data, but I’ll also do my best to make it clear when you can skip past the math and theory if you aren’t interested.

But there’s a catch. There always is, right?

This is absolutely, 100%, completely contingent upon whether or not I can roll it right into my work toward my Master’s program. If you think I’m going to write a 600-page book while also going to school and then not get thesis credit for it, you’re out your damned mind. There’s no way I’m doing that, only to have to turn around and do another thesis.

So we’ll see how it goes. I’ll keep you updated. And thanks again for the interest and taking time to answer all those questions!

By Rick Osborne

I am a web geek who has been doing this sort of thing entirely too long. I rant, I muse, I whine. That is, I am not at all atypical for my breed.