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.
I’ve been blog posting 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.
The 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.
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.
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!