Squeak by Example - The Book

Squeak by Example:

"This book presents the various aspects of Squeak, starting with the basics, and proceeding to more advanced topics. This book will not teach you how to program. The reader should have some familiarity with programming languages. Some background with object-oriented programming would be helpful."

An updated book for Squeak is long overdue and Squeak By Example will fill that void. The book is still work in progress though a beta version of the pdf will be available soon. The Subversion repository of the LaTeX sources is available though and whoever is interested could generate the .pdf from that.

I find this book to be a positive step in introducing people to Squeak. I have commented before that a book is a physical manifestation of the quality and maturity of an open source project. If you dealing with a close source project then the company backing that project up could easily invest money into making documentation or even publishing a book in that technology. However, when dealing with an open source project -- where all documentation is freely available in the form of code as the proponents would claim -- the commitment to create a book shows just how much the community loves the product and want to get other people excited about it too.

A book shows commitment to the project. After all, why waste time writing a book if the project is going to die some time down the road. Now, this does not mean that the project will not die in the future. But it shows that the people behind it are committed enough that they don't foresee this project shutting down anytime soon. In short, the project has enough momentum to sustain itself for some time.

A book shows excitement for the project. And this book practically bubbles with it since it is co-authored by one of the most prominent figures in the Squeak Community, Stephen Ducasse. If a project leader is excited enough about the product to write a book then you can be certain that it's an exciting product.

A book shows the maturity of your project. After all, it's too risky to write a book if things are going to change. Maturity is a sign of stability -- meaning that this product is unlikely to undergo a capricious change in the near future. Thus, if your product depends on Squeak, it is probably not going to suddenly be incompatible in the future.

A book shows that other people are interested. Why write when you don't even have an audience? This is actually a catch-22 since you wouldn't write a book if there is no audience but you wouldn't really have an audience if you don't really have good documentation to inform them adequately in the first place.

In short, I think an updated book is a good sign that the Squeak community is committed and excited about how much quality and maturity Squeak has achieved. I will be looking forward to this book and hopefully be able to incorporate it in the Smalltalk class that I am teaching assistant for.

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