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Jan Kolasinski

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Recent posts by Jan Kolasinski

First of all, I would like to thank the JavaRanch Book Review Team for the high rank you have given to the Axis book.
Second, I would like to thank Kyle for his comments on the inclusion of an index in our books and his suggestions about publishing in general.
The decision not to include an index was indeed taken mainly to save on time to market: we anticipated that the benefits to readers of getting information early would outstrip the costs of not having an index. Now we know we were wrong, and all future Wrox books will have an index.
With regards to electronic publishing, I too believe that online searching is a much more powerful way of ultimately finding what you want. We are experimenting with online content through www.Wroxbase.com. We are in the process of converting our Java related titles for inclusion there and we expect the process to last until the end of the month.
I wanted to thank you all for taking the time to keep us on the straight and narrow.

Jan Kolasinski
Wrox Publisher
17 years ago
OK, our thanks go to the whole JavaRanch crew. Respect .
18 years ago
Hi all,
We put our hands up, we messed up with regards to indexes.
We made an assumption that we are now realising was wrong: we thought that the books being small could be read cover to cover in a short period of time and would not be used as references ... that was wrong. We also thought that the index is used for reference purposes only ... wrong.
This is the first time that we get feedback on this issue. I wanted to thank you for this. We'll change that. I want to apologise to all for this decision: we live and we learn.
A great thank to Johannes for the reviews of both the JXTA and the JSP TL books: only through such hard feedback will we ever be able to get better.
Jan
18 years ago

Originally posted by Johannes de Jong:
I forgot to add, I really think that a searchable "knowledge-base" that gets updated regularly that is kept [b]locally will sell better here.
If its a database somewhere they have to access on/via internet they feel that the don't own it, put it locally and hey its "mine".
Only a hunch I have.[/B]


A very good hunch. That's exactly the kind of discussion we had had here. The truth is that we are leaning towards the browsable web based one at the moment. But I am sure there is scope for a licensing agreement somewhere along the line.
You are right to consider the ownership issue.
Jan
18 years ago

Originally posted by Johannes de Jong:

These are off course Jan only ideas.

[This message has been edited by Johannes de Jong (edited September 10, 2001).]


Johannes, ideas are what make the world go round. I must admiot that what you are proposing are things which we are considering.
What is interesting to me is the way books are used. This subject is as vast and involves as many different answers as the subject of whether you like author photos on the cover.
What you are suggesting is 1) the ability to download and print part of a book and 2) an online browsable database.
As you probably expect there are issues of piracy and copyright which we are at the moment evaluating. But I think that these things are desirable as product.
IMHO, Wrox is not a book publisher, but a service provider. The service in question being information. Part of this means developing a certain flexibility with regards to forms of distyribution to the customer. Both electronmic and "on demand" (or custom) avenues fit within this framework.
I will keep you in touch of developments in this area.
Thanks for your ideas.
Jan

18 years ago

Originally posted by Faisal Dosani:
Hi Jan,
Personally I enjoy having the photos of all the authors on the cover. It gives you a idea of who wrote the book and lets you put a face to the names. Its kinda Fun Even if it is 15 different people. Do you think having to many authors might lead to inconsistences in the flow of the book. Each of them I am sure have their own person style of writing and getting their message across.
Thanks
Faisal


Hi Faisal,
I wish I could tell you that it does not. But I would be lying. As I mentioned earlier, there are 2 issues. The first bears on written english style and is very hard to correct without the editors having to re-write a large part of the book. The second is coding standards consistency, that I feel is something that we should have a lot more control over.
Jan
18 years ago

Originally posted by Johannes de Jong:
an, maybe stupid , idea.
A lot of people here mentioned that they get the feeling that Wrox books are a set of articles on a given subject. Why dont you guys start a "subscription" type book. I buy the only chapters (articles) I want and as such build up my "library" of knowladge. You can do this besides publishing the whole book.


Johannes,
Would print on demand be something that you would be interested in or are we talking about a pdf download or a browsable online resource ?
I would be interested in hearing your thoughts on the subject.
At the core of this discussion is how and what do you use a programming book for. There are in my mind always 2 dimensions to a book. The Just in Case approach where you reqad to advance your knowledge, book structure and organisation is important, the book becomes a journey and; Just in Time approach where you have to solve a very particular problem and therefore use the book as a reference when you are stuck. I feel that in the latter case a web based service (subscription type) would probably be a workable solution. What do you think ?
Jan

18 years ago
To everyone,
This thread seems to have cooled down a bit in the last couple of days. I am still around and will still be receiving mails from the list, so if you want to contact us, please feel free to use this.
I would to thank all of you for the time you have taken to talk to us and tell us what was on your mind.
Believe that all you have said has been taken on board and I'll make sure discussions and actions are taken here to get out there a better product in your eyes.
Jan
18 years ago

Originally posted by Thomas Paul:

Thomas. There are a lot of good information in what you say. Solutions to certain issues are sometimes difficult to get to. having said that understanding what gets in the way of reading and learning or the communication of information is important to us.
The coding standard idea is one that happens. But maybe not across each project as each editor has a different style of project management. I think though this is one that needs more careful consideration and application.
Thanks
Jan

18 years ago

Originally posted by Daniel Dunleavy:
you have the problem of creating a single style of portrait for the cover with multiple photos. So you have the dilemma of having a certain style for pose/lighting/etc, and the fact that you will need to change them to create the best photo for each person.


Hi Dan,
You are abssolutely right that we have to sort out the guidelines as far as the pictures themselves are concerned. I think we have made some improvements since the first "mugshots" of books some 3 to 4 years old. But there is still room for improvement.
Thanks for this.
Jan

18 years ago

Originally posted by Dave Vick:
This is not a huge problem as it onyl amounts to a few pages in the books (and the fewer the authors the less the overlap).


Hi Dave,
First, thanks for all your comments. You are right about overlap between chapters and this is something that the editorial process we spoke about is concerned with solving.

I guess my biggest concern is the continuity of style (not just coding either, although that is alarge part of it), each author has thier own way of writing and having anything over 4 or 5 authors requires several switches in style throughout the books.


Again, you are completely right here. Style differences can be an issue as each author can have very different ways of writing english. I think this is a difficult area as a solution would be for the editor to rewrite the whole book. Maybe one of the team could comment more on this.
Jan
18 years ago

Originally posted by Ajith Kallambella:
I am currently reviewing the Professional EJB book and in the first chapter itself I found about four grammatical and formatting errors. I am not pointing fingers at Wrox, but I think concentrating only on speed may not be good. Accepted, there cannot be a "flawless" book, but I can't stop wondering how simple things like these slipped through so many iterations of technical and content proof-readings!


Ajith, first thank you for your compliments with regards to our books. Second, do point the finger at us with regards to grammatical and formatting errors. These should not be there and I for one (I am sure the editors will too) put my hands up.
Often, it is easy to forget that book publishers are also book readers. And I admit that I hate when I come across an error in a book as these do get in the way of the reading. So there are no excuses, no reasons ... guilty as charged.
Self flagellation aside, it is right that you bundle these mistakes with speed to market. In that speed the chances that mistakes arise increase. The process by which we produce our books concentrates on technical information and code accuracy and sometimes the written word suffers. We are addressing this issue and we WILL deliver on this.

about overlapping( and redundant? ) contents covered by books in the same series. I had raised tis issue with the three XML books you have - Professional XML, Professional Java XML and XML Databases. Eventhough I agree with you to some extent that the breadth of coverage is different in each book, I still fail to understand why should you be spending time( money and resources ) on covering the same topics again and again? Old wine in new bottles!!


Great point. You do later in your post correlate this to the book trees and again you are right the overlap sometimes means that these trees are irrelevant. Hands up again. There is a balancing act that editors perform, on the one hand the desire for completeness, on the other the desire to focus on task based topics.
Take Pro XML, this is a typical compendium and should cover widely the current state of the technology (if you'll excuse me calling XML a technology). Within that book we do cover database stuff (Chapter 10) but that's it. In the Pro XML Databases book we cover things such as DOM, SAX, Schemas, XSLT, XPath, etc.. which are indeed covered in the Pro XML book. So you are completely right. When the editor structures the book he/she has the customer in mind. They can assume that the reader has indeed bought Pro XML and therefore has grounding in XML concepts, but would that always be the case ?
Ajith, I am not trying to justify the contents, you'll find that overlap is something that exists probably in several of our publications. The only solution to this is assuming knowledge on the part of the reader who would pick up the Database Book, but as you can imagine that could be quite dangerous.
Is there a solution to this. I think that this is the real challenge for a book publisher.

Again, I am just voicing my opinions. I am not trying to pull your leg. I love Wrox like many other developers and I am just nit-picking


Ajith, if I thought we were perfect, I probably would not be here. I am one of those guys who believe that life is more interesting when you have room to improve. And it's thanks to people like you who tell us about our mistakes that we can get better. So no apologies and thanks.

Jan

18 years ago

Originally posted by Thomas Paul:
As to CD's: keep them out of the books. They are usually full of trial software that is outdated and code samples that don't work because the CD maker uses an older version of the code. I would rather have a list of links in the book telling me where to get the software and code samples. But don't make the software links to someone else's web site! Make them to a Wrox site that has the links to the other sites so that if they change, Wrox can keep them updated. And make sure the code is available in compressed format!



All great ideas, thanks Thomas.
Jan
18 years ago

Originally posted by Thomas Paul:
Sometimes the information in a Wrox book will be sufficient while at other times I will feel need the need to pick up another book on one or two topics covered by the Wrox book. In my review of "Oracle 8i Application programming" I said that you would have to buy a dozen books to get all the information in this one book.


Hi Thomas,
Thanks for the welcome.
What you refer to is our publishing strategy. The books that you are mentioning are compendiums (although we call the Professional). By that we mean that they are a roadmap to a given technology. They should be broad but not dip too deeply in any given subject (although still provide useful information). For some that is sometimes all that is needed, sometimes, as you say you might want more. That's where we do books which are more focused on a particular technology. These are not compendiums, we call the "drill-downs" and we try and dig deeper in a given area of a technology.

As to editing: I think they do need to be a little more tightly edited.



Chanoch, Richard ? Are you listening ?
Thanks for the thumbs up on the pictures. I think you again show that the reaction to them is very personal.
Jan

18 years ago

Originally posted by Johannes de Jong:
I'd also like to know why Wrox does not supply a CD-rom witgh their books. Heck with Professional Java I reckon I'd have to download 100 Meg+ if I wanted to install & try everything that is covered in the book.



Hi Johannes,
The CD issue is another one that crops up here and there. Chanoch already mentioned the issue of cost, but that's only one side of the story.
Historically CDs at the back of books have only included an electronic version of the code developped within the book. On rare occasions do they include copies of software (but admittedly some do).
WRT code, we decided that with the advent of the internet and the fact that the files are usually quite small, a code download would be a better way. The money saved is spent on editorial and incresing the content of the book.
WRT to including software this opens the issues of 1) licensing and 2) support. Licensing would mean that sometimes we would only be able to provide an inadequate time bombeb version of a product. Support means that as we include that by including sofware in our books we would be responsible for everything to do with that software (installation, maintenance, bugs, etc...), and we would end up having to solve a lot of queries that have nothing to do with the book, but have to do with the CD itself (CD whose production we would not control).
Jan
18 years ago