If I could get your feedback on my first version of the contents. I’m basically setting out the contents so I can judge how long the book will be and make sure I’ve got all subjects covered.
Okay .. from glancing over the ToC you’ve posted .. the following thoughts.
If your sub-sectioning indicates relative weighting, then I’d suggest that 1.8 to 1.11 could be combined into something of the same volume as each of the M V C sections - that is, distinguishing between libs, helpers, plugins and hooks shouldn’t take long - worse yet I think anything other than a concise definition would muddy the waters. I’ve seen Colin and xwero describe the distinctions in a single paragraph (okay, libs, helper and plugins at least).
I’d bring 1.12 - formatting style guide - to much earlier on in the book, especially if your target audience is as you’ve described - someone with a programming background, presumably PHP. The idea is that people are going to start coding early on, I gather, with most programming books these days (a laudable goal I think) so you want them getting good habits up front, and also explaining all the code examples you’re about to give.
The getting & installing sections of books always, erhm, move me to tears. I have several books that deal with MySQL and Apache, f.e., and between them there’s probably 100+ pages of description on how to find, download, and configure the system to a plain vanilla state. In reality it was a single command (apt-get install apache2 mysql) to do all of that. I feel vaguely cheated by such sections.
What do you think of Chapter 2 — Learning the Libraries? I was planning to do a quick overview of some/all/most of the libraries. Is it worth it? or should I just direct to the user guide? Or should I focus on just parts of the libraries?
You are undeniably going to have to cover stuff that can be found elsewhere - other books (there’s two or three out there now I think, yes?) the forums (hello readers!) and the user guide. The trouble with the library section is that it’s going to be out-dated earlier than most other things you are covering in this book. But to answer your question, my gut feel is that you’d do a quick overview of all the libraries, but weighting towards the ones that you think are important (the HTML Table class, f.e., I think could, with an easily defended rationale, be ignored).
I think C7 and C8 need to live in C2, even if you have the caveat ‘come back to this later if you need to’.
Actually the whole thing is more a reference work than a linear read-through type of book, isn’t it? In any case, I don’t like the idea that different aspects of libraries are covered in totally different parts of the book .. but that might just be my neatness neurosis shining through.
C6 - if you’re going for the pro audience - consider LDAP. (Do people still use twitter?)
Chapter 3 — Becoming a CodeIgniter. I now have a problem, I had an idea for some of the contents of this chapter but went off for tea and came back and forgot. Maybe you guys can help me remember, or give me a few ideas as to what you want to see in there. Or just tell me to scrap it.
You’re definitely going to have to have large lumps of demonstration code. I was reading an interesting book a while ago, one of O’Reilly’s ones, called Beautiful Code - where they had a bunch of contributors offering a few pages of code in different languages, and then analysing what made it beautiful. It’s a fascinating read (though much of it goes right over my head) and includes such gems as Brian Kernighan talking about Rob Pike’s regular expression code that he (Rob) wrote in the space of an hour or so, and squeezed into 30 lines of C (of course).
Anyway, I think that kind of code snippet analysis is always fascinating, insightful, useful.
I think taking a very large project and running it through the course of the whole book .. has obvious advantages and disadvantages. It can alienate a bunch of people from the get-go, and needs to be very well chosen .. and even then it’s unlikely to cover all the examples and scenarios you probably want to discuss.
What about the size of the font? Is it too small? I’m planning to have it that size all the way through and would rather not change it at the end.
Sounds like someone isn’t using lyx for this project.