Who fancies a community effort to write a book?

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Who fancies a community effort to write a book?

Postby Chris Corbyn » Mon Jun 26, 2006 2:28 pm

This is just a thought at the moment. Basically, I started writing a PHP book (aimed at beginners more than anything) about 6 months ago. I got a few chapters done but then bogged down in other work and haven't picked it up again. Now I can't find the original book :( but I'm sure it's around somewhere. I had all the document nicely set up in Open Office with the templates for adding PHP Code, starting new chapters etc etc.

I wouldn't mind picking it up again but I know I'm only going to have time to write bits here and there and my own feeling is that a community effort would create a really strong book (read, I'm no expert!).

It's just going to be an eBook but published in a way that, if ever it did go to print would be nicely formatted for paper.

The idea is that I open up a version control repository somewhere so that the book can be checked in and out and changes tracked but I'm just wondering who'd actually be interested on working on something like this? Not sure when I'll get a chance to make a start on it but hopefully at some point over the next few weeks.

It'll start basic with things about the history, installing etc etc, move onto basic PHP scripts, get off on the right foot by talking about register_globals, magic_quotes and other evil things, discuss limitations/security risks on shared hosts, introduce mysql (and possibly postgres) but keep away from anything but the basic of sql itself and focus more on the php side of it, basics of OOP, introduce patterns and cover a few very briefly and also a short section on testing.

Post here if you'd be interested - no need to PM me :)

This isn't be done for royalties or anything - I could care less about that if it's eBook only so don't decide to contribute if you're expecting to make a profit from it.

EDIT | Oh by the way... despite my awful grammar and spelling on the forums I can actually write pretty well :P I'm just a bit slap-dash here.
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Postby Benjamin » Mon Jun 26, 2006 2:31 pm

You know what, this is an awesome idea. If a large number of people picked a small part to write about, we could write a killer PHP book and distribute it. I don't have a smurf-ton of time but I would be willing to help if I could.
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Postby Oren » Mon Jun 26, 2006 2:50 pm

I like the idea, but I really don't know how to write books :P Anybody has any ideas how we can make it reality and start writing something?
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Postby Chris Corbyn » Mon Jun 26, 2006 2:59 pm

Oren wrote:I like the idea, but I really don't know how to write books :P Anybody has any ideas how we can make it reality and start writing something?


Well I don't mind who contributes... it will be reviewed and proof-read before it actually gets used. At least with version control we can just ignore anything that's balatant rubbish :P but the hope is more that we get some real solid material - if someone writes something, then someone edits it to make it better/more concise and that pattern follows the whole process I don't see any major issues :)
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Postby feyd » Mon Jun 26, 2006 3:00 pm

I would imagine several members are decent writers, so members who aren't so adept at writing could possibly use their help in getting their idea/article fleshed out.

edit: oops, ment to say "would"
Last edited by feyd on Mon Jun 26, 2006 3:12 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Postby RobertGonzalez » Mon Jun 26, 2006 3:03 pm

Hey d11, great idea! I am in the process of developing something similar for the web (a sort of document-type website for PHP beginners). I would love to help whenever I can. I am a little busy at the moment, but if I can contribute anything, I will certainly give it a shot.
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Postby Oren » Mon Jun 26, 2006 3:20 pm

I've just read this: http://forums.devnetwork.net/viewtopic.php?t=50681#276647
We can have a forum where each time we read something like this or just when something blinks into our minds, we will post it so we don't forget to cover this in the book - something that other books don't do. Another example of such a thing is that we cannot trust user data, we must filter any data provided by the user before doing anything with it, we also need to use mysql_real_escape_string() before inserting data into the database and not stripslashes()/strip_tags() or even worse like in most books: Nothing.
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Postby Roja » Mon Jun 26, 2006 3:23 pm

Three quick points:

1. Everyone gets recognition for contributing. (Crucial)
2. The copy restrictions on it are somewhat loose (not saying completely free-to-do-anything, just reasonably easy to reuse, like wikipedia's copyright)
3. OOP in a separate section. SEPARATE.

With those three, I'd totally be onboard! If not, I'd still enjoy watching the progress.
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Postby Oren » Mon Jun 26, 2006 3:34 pm

Roja wrote:Three quick points:

1. Everyone gets recognition for contributing. (Crucial)
2. The copy restrictions on it are somewhat loose (not saying completely free-to-do-anything, just reasonably easy to reuse, like wikipedia's copyright)
3. OOP in a separate section. SEPARATE.

With those three, I'd totally be onboard! If not, I'd still enjoy watching the progress.

Totally agree, you simply took the words from my mouth :P
Addition to #2: People (the readers etc) cannot make a commercial use of it (eg. they cannot sell it and make money of it in any way).
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Postby Charles256 » Mon Jun 26, 2006 3:36 pm

erm.perhaps some PHP software that makes this book creation a little easier and more centralized? :-D
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Postby Weirdan » Mon Jun 26, 2006 3:37 pm

d11wtq wrote:The idea is that I open up a version control repository somewhere so that the book can be checked in and out and changes tracked

hmm... how about using http://writely.com ? To me, it seems the best solution (it allows online editing, does not require any client-side software, keeps version history, understands doc's and sxw's...)
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Postby Chris Corbyn » Mon Jun 26, 2006 3:49 pm

Weirdan wrote:
d11wtq wrote:The idea is that I open up a version control repository somewhere so that the book can be checked in and out and changes tracked

hmm... how about using http://writely.com ? To me, it seems the best solution (it allows online editing, does not require any client-side software, keeps version history, understands doc's and sxw's...)


Yeah I forgot about writely :)

~Roja. I'm not planning on taking credit for this.. it would be written by a community and specified as such. Actual names would be listed in the book. I'm pretty laid back about people re-using stuff and giving people credit where due so I'm not going to start getting a bunch of people to write a book that my name will appear on the front cover of :lol: Seriously... I actually want this to be a community effort.
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Postby CoderGoblin » Tue Jun 27, 2006 3:49 am

Another important thing to write about from the start is to get people used to writing maintainable code from the start. Too often books etc deal with coding the language but not how to be make it maintainable in the long term.

When it comes to database I would recommend a simple project concept. Then a chapter on how to do it using MySQL, another on Postgres and a third on ADODB.

I would also recommend yet another chapter on PHPDocumenter. Not PHP per se but very useful for large projects.
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Postby technofreak » Tue Jun 27, 2006 4:23 am

This is a very good idea, anything done as a community is worth done by 1000 professional writers. The community can pour in more ideas and experience. I will surely like to help this out, as I have been copy editor and technical writer for sometime around. Also, as a newbie growing up to novice state, i do know what all problems newbie encounter and whats the common mistakes one does which makes his otherwise correct code not work out the wat it should. i think we should start proceeding over this seriosuly. We should create a group of people who are inetersted in contributing and define responsibilities soon. We should hit the iron when its hot, like wise make the idea into reality before it dies out in our mind. :)
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Postby SpiderMonkey » Tue Jun 27, 2006 6:40 am

Is this book also going to cover project planning and development?
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