Friday, September 21, 2007

And then there were two

I was writing one book called "The Art of Object Oriented Programming --- A mentoring course on Smalltalk". It had 7 chapters, and the draft had reached over 600 pages. But Chapter 7, entitled "Distinctions and hash", turned out to be something other than what I had planned.

Originally, I had budgeted 50 pages for the chapter. Before writing it, a more realistic estimate suggested 100 pages instead of 50. When it reached that mark, it was obvious that it would need another 100 pages to be complete. It is currently 223 pages of text, and it looks like it will require at least another 100 pages.

Note it is not even meant to describe everything there is to say about hash. Rather, its goal is to help make decisions about how to implement hashed collections and hash methods properly. Despite its limited scope, the sheer size and amount of exercises on paper so far imply that it is really much more than a chapter. This is particularly so because large areas that are worth exploring are still left unaddressed, even though they still fit with the scope of the presentation. Therefore, the chapter must be its own book.

So I just split the book into two. There will be the original book, which now stands at 334 pages with another 100-200 to go, and a new book called "Hashing in Smalltalk --- Theory and Practice". This new book is 284 pages already (text plus exercise solutions, no introduction, and the single chapter hasn't been broken into multiple chapters yet). No wonder it did not fit as a chapter in a book.

This also helps me address the issue I had with publishing. Volumes can only be 740 pages, and with half of chapter 6 still to be written, I was running out of space. This arrangement will make the material easier to manipulate.

There is so much more to go, still! But it looks like the hash book might get published before the mentoring course. We shall see.

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