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Joel Murach: what path did you take?

 
Kent O. Johnson
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Welcome Mr. Murach!

It looks like you have released a lot of programming books and are quite well-versed in the discipline of writing programming books. If you see this will you drop me a message? I consider myself slightly more beginner, definitely not intermediate yet. But I would like to be. I would like to learn the path you took, Mr. Murach, from beginner to writing programming books for a living.

Again,
welcome to coderanch.

Kent Johnson
 
Joel Murach
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Hi Kent,

Well, to be honest, I was born into it. My dad started writing books about programming back in 1970, back when I was just a toddler, and back when the only computers were big ole mainframes with punch cards and tape drives.

Anyhow, I never intended to become a programmer or a technical writer. I studied music in college, but I eventually ended up working for my dad's technical publishing company. I didn't know anything about programming when I first started, but I have learned a lot with every new book, and now I'd say I'm a competent programmer. Some people think that you need to be an expert programmer to start writing a book about programming, but that's not true. The most important part about writing a book is teaching the skills to your reader. And it's OK if you don't know the skills either when you first get started. In fact, sometimes it's helpful to be at a similar level as your reader when you're writing. That way, you don't assume they know things that they don't know. Of course, you need to learn the skills as you go. And, it's often helpful to consult an expert to make sure you aren't overlooking anything or teaching anything incorrectly.

I hope that answers your question. Thanks!

Joel Murach
 
Palak Mathur
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Kent O. Johnson wrote:Welcome Mr. Murach!

It looks like you have released a lot of programming books and are quite well-versed in the discipline of writing programming books. If you see this will you drop me a message? I consider myself slightly more beginner, definitely not intermediate yet. But I would like to be. I would like to learn the path you took, Mr. Murach, from beginner to writing programming books for a living.

Again,
welcome to coderanch.

Kent Johnson


+1 to what Kent said. How did you manage not only learn the languages but also write a book on them as well?
 
Bear Bibeault
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Joel Murach wrote:The most important part about writing a book is teaching the skills to your reader.


Quoted for emphasis! Oh, if only all authors remembered this -- or even knew this to begin with.

Joel, I have awarded you a cow for this quote.
 
Kent O. Johnson
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Thank you for your reply, Joel.
I have really been wondering where to get my start. I haven't read any programming book all the way yet and am thinking of starting with yours. I tried to read the GWT In Action 2nd edition but it felt like I was seeing more gaps in my knowledge than content from the book. I have read the Oracle OCA certification book and am ready to take the exam, but I need something with more meat and applicability. It would be nice to find a book that gives me projects to do that really help illustrate concepts in separation as well as concepts structured together.
It would be nice to find a book that has a conceptual backbone that everything ties back to that allows the reader to stack everything on top of each other to end up with more than just some separate concepts but a machinery of competencies that serve as a sort of personal toolbox or toolkit.

Joel, What would you say is your strategy for introducing concepts to readers? Do you introduce concepts in layers one at a time? Would you say you provide a conceptual backbone for all the things you write?
 
Joel Murach
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Hi Bear. Thanks for the cow. Yee haw!
 
Joel Murach
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Hi Kent,

I think our books might be what you're looking for. They typically break down concepts and present them separate. Then, the show a sample application that uses the concepts together. And, there are exercises at the end of each chapter that let you practice the concepts and gain hands-on experience. And, yes, I would say we provide a conceptual backbone for most of the skills that we present.

Our Android book is a good way to get started with Android programming, but there is a prerequisite for that book...basic Java skills roughly equivalent to chapters 1-14 of our Java book. So, if you don't have basic Java skills, you might want to start with our Java book. That's a basic backbone that you can stack a lot of stuff on, including our Android book.

I hope that answers your question.
 
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