I’m writing the book: “Photoshop HTML Panels development”!

Davide Barranca —  — 17 Comments

Hello readers, I’m happy to publicly announce that I’m writing a book (temporarily) titled:

Photoshop HTML Panels development
Build and Market Adobe Creative Cloud extensions

I’ve let the news leak here and there as a way to strengthen my commitment in the project, and I’m ready now to challenge bad luck and tell the world about this ambitious venture. My goal now is to give you some details about the book, so read along.

Book Content

I’ve been blogposting about Panels for some years now, and following their evolution ever since Photoshop introduced them, back in the Flash era – exchanging information with other users, reporting bugs to Adobe’s engineers, posting to Forums, building commercial products and open source stuff.

I’ve gathered all my code and notes and tried to give that a proper shape – different from, dare I to say, everything that’s been published so far about the subject.

Copertina-smallThe book is structured so that both beginners and advanced users can profit from it – building skills from the ground up, yet exploring annoyingly entangled topics in detail and providing code examples and several demo panels. It’s not going to be “HTML Extensions Cookbook: 42 ready-made Panels to borrow code from”, nor “Learn Photoshop Panels in 12 days and 4 full projects” though! Each chapter deals and tries to solve a particular problem that you, as a Panel developer, are likely to face sooner or later – from Node.js to Events, Styling, interaction with the WWW, etc. etc. – including some advanced topics such as Generator or Socket.io.

I know that stuff I’ve been writing about is “a problem that you’re likely to have” because many people who find themselves stuck with a particular coding issue related to Panels (a frequent fact of life that everybody who’s ever been exposed to Adobe APIs has a good knowledge of), to my great surprise have been starting to reach out for my help. And to a possibly even greater surprise of mine, it seems like I’ve been (mostly) successful in providing them with guidance, reference code, or simply my unopinionated point of view.

Mind you: even if there is some overlap with what I’ve published in this blog over time, I’d say that mostly the book contains either brand new or heavily reshaped content and code – even the sheer amount of information overwhelms what blogposts can show. Plus, I’ll be adding sections about the extensions marketing – with insider advices (based on my personal experience as a vendor) for those willing to run a successful and self-sustaining business on top of panels.

The book mentions Photoshop because this is the software I’ve been able to feed my family thanks to, in the last 16 years – but I’d say about 80% of its content (with possibly the exception of some specific JSX Events) applies to all the Creative Cloud Host Applications that support HTML Panels (InDesign, Illustrator, etc.)

If the above sounds ambitious and possibly (just a tad) loud, well… I admit it might be – but rest assured that I’ve poured into this book lots of sweating, sharing everything I know and especially what I didn’t know (but I’ve learned in the process of writing!), without the fear to admit when I’ve not been able to sort stuff.

I’d like to thank also to each and every one who’s been so kind to help me with suggestions, code chunks and support so far.

Release date

Too early to disclose, I’ll keep you posted about the book status here: anyway, I’d say not before Q1/2016. I’m at page 113, which happens to be the Italian equivalent of 911, whatever this may ever mean, and I still have some pretty dense stuff to deal with. Also, I have a special idea that… 🙂


The book is going to be released by Leanpub, a Canadian company, as an ebook. I’ve had an aha moment reading Azat Mardan ProgWriter, where the author (a “standard” software engineer) tells about how he’s become a technical writer (that is: a ProgWriter). I’ve thought that HTML Panels are such a small niche that nobody in the traditional publishing would ever be interested in accepting a similar book project – nor the timing would have been appropriate, for such a fast pace evolving environment – so I recklessly went on with self publishing. Finger crossed!

Cool fact about Leanpub is that you write in their own Markdown flavour and they compile PDF + Mobi + ePub (I guess using a LaTex intermediate for PDF). In other words, you can focus on content only (which is well enough) and not worry about InDesign or the like – in my opinion the compromise between customization and ease of use is perfectly OK.

Please comment!

I’d like to hear about you – please let me know in the comments your needs, opinion and suggestions, or whatever is Panels related. Back to the desk now, ciao!

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17 responses to I’m writing the book: “Photoshop HTML Panels development”!

  1. This is great idea. I am definitely interested in the book. I would love to see a sample book with a few chapters.

  2. I looking forward to it. It’s remarkably hard to find up to date information on panel, extension and script development so anything is helpful. I’m especially be interested in learning more about the manifest file for instance; What is required and what is optional? A section of best practices and development patterns would be helpful.

    Good luck.

  3. Ciao Davide!
    Well, that’s the best news for this year! Can’t wait to have a look over your shoulder, reading the book from a professional like you and maybe learning to craft my own panels. I’m wishing you strength as well as fun with your writing.
    Best, Alex.

  4. I´m interested in the book.
    I want to see a Chapter about UI Deisgn, diferences between UI Deisgn to CC2014 and CC2015.
    Using Eclipse or Brackets plugin…


  5. I would love to have this book! There is not enough good information. Please let me know when it’s available.

  6. Hi Davide,
    You are very brave to take on this project, especially with Adobe changing things with little notice. Because of that I would recommend that you create a subscription Blog where people who have purchased your e-book can login and view changes that Adobe has made since you published your book and add their own comments, questions and code.

    Best of Luck – Sam

    • Hi Sam,
      Leanpub (as far as I get it) allows authors to keep the book updated, so when someone buys it, he/she can download for free future versions – which should catch up with Adobe’s changes. A couple of weeks ago I was talking with a developer who happens to have written a couple of books, we were exchanging opinions, then he told me that the two books he’s published were about Flash… right before the famous letter from Steve Jobs. Hopefully my fate is going to be different 🙂

  7. Excellent idea. We work more with InDesign but I am sure this will be useful in any case.

  8. I am so buying this book when it is ready! My co-worker and I have been writing a book on Photoshop for Photographers, and we are also writing a panel with all our retouching workflow shortcuts in it. Your website has been very helpful with many problems we have encountered. Thanks for all you have done to help people learn more about this interesting programming environment!

    • Hi Davide,

      Good luck with the book.
      I would recommend renaming the book to Adobe HTML panel development or something similar, omitting the word Photoshop
      Stick in some examples and helpful info that fills some of the gaps for InDesign, Illustrator, Premier, After Effects panels. Not only will you help more people but you would open up your market considerably.
      I know you wrote that 80% of the book would be relevant for the other applications but specific examples and quirks of those apps would be useful.

      My opinion for what it’s worth, regards,


      • Thanks for the comment Trevor!
        I did evaluate that, but either I’m too respectful towards actual ID, IL, PR etc. panels developers or I’m to coward to venture into totally unknown territories 🙂 Olav Kvern has volunteered to beta-read the book for the ID part, so if I can make it “not-PS-only” I guess my conscience will be OK to rename it “Adobe” instead of “Adobe Photoshop”. Thanks again for the feedback, I hope the book will be up to the expectations.

  9. Hi Davide !

    It looks great!

    Actually, we’re working on an Illustrator / Photoshop extension, our beta will be available at the end of December : https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/franzhoffman/fontself-make-your-own-fonts-in-photoshop-and-illu (We <3 typography 😉
    So it will be amazing if you can send us your pre-version of the book, of course we will buy the book even if it's not the final version and we can send you our feedback ! Sounds good for you ?

    BTW : Thanks you so much for your articles, it's really helpful!


  10. Looking forward to your book.
    Best of luck with the commercial side of your endeavour!


    • Thank you Christoph, it looked easier but I’m now at a good point – a couple of technical chapters, plus marketing stuff and I’ll be done with the first draft.
      Hopefully panels will last long enough for me to publish the book 😉

  11. Will it be an eBook or a Print Edition; or both ?

    I hope there is a discount, I say this because I’ve spent a few hundred on books in the past few months.

  12. You are literally a extension GOD! Been following your blog for a while and you have saved many hours my friend. Will be buying for sure!

    BTW if you need a hand making the book look pretty I can help!

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