Beginning Programming for Dummies 4th edn

Dan Shafer dan at shafermedia.com
Sat Dec 9 13:01:26 EST 2006


Thanks to both of you for your comments on my book. I'm aware of the
problems a lack of index can cause. All I can say by way of (admittedly
somewhat weak) defense is that: (a) doing a proper index is a huge amount of
work and requires skills I lack and couldn't afford to hire; and (b) I
(perhaps mistakenlly) followed the time-honored tradition of using a
monospaced font for code. I agree that there are some places -- though not a
huge number, as far as I know -- where that font doesn't treat spacing very
well.

Also, I originally authored the book as an eBook where an index is much less
useful (though not entirely useless) since indexing terms always results in
the indexer puttng some things under terms the reader finds puzzling or
opaque. When it became a print publication, I agree I should have figured
out how to do that on some level at least.

If I had it to do over again, I'd certainly try to find a volunteer to do an
index and I'd do even more reformatting than the Courier font problem.

Unfortunately, reality being what it is, I won't probably get a chance to do
it over again.

But I really appreciate the kind words and the criticisms.

On 12/9/06, Adrian Williams <adrian at clubtype.co.uk> wrote:
>
> Peter,
> As a new user of Revolution I agree with your analysis of Dummies.
> Small things can make a huge difference to beginners!
>
> For me 'Software At The Speed Of Thought' lacks an Index at the back
> which would make zeroing in on snippets *much* easier to locate.
> To counter this lack, I found myself having to use a highlighter pen on
> virtually every word of Courier (of current interest) set in the text.
>
> That's another thing. Typographically, the Times/Courier combination is
> not a good one. Important single words of Courier are hard to detect.
> One has to read the whole paragraph to encounter the Courier emphasized
> word.
> It does not have enough emphasis to make it stand out and contrast with
> Times.
> All 'Code' text in Courier Bold would have been better and easy to do.
>
> Yes, these comments are picky, but in a constructive way I hope and
> free advice from a Typeface Designer.
>
> Adrian
>
> On 9 Dec 2006, at 10:01, Peter Alcibiades wrote:
> >
> > Get Dan Shafer's book revised for a third edition, some introductory
> > parts
> > slimmed down, a few more details on some of the topics, a few more
> > detailed
> > howtos, and put the CD with the express edition with it.  Particularly
> > expand
> > the parts about storing, retrieving and deleting data.  There's too
> > much
> > about the user interface, and too little about how to write stuff that
> > deals
> > with the data which is why the end user is writing the program in the
> > first
> > place.
> >
> > But, small criticisms aside, 'Software at the speed of thought' is
> > really
> > excellent for a first introduction for a sophisticated end user.  It is
> > everything that the Dummies book is not - it just needs to go a little
> > further.  And have the express edition packaged along with it.
> >
> > Get some detailed material on how to work with arrays, lists, and
> > tables  into
> > the Revolution pdf.
> >
> >
> > Peter
>
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