Second Edition, Volume One

Today’s my day to start another run of bi-weekly entries on iDevBlogADay, so let’s start off with a splash.

You know that iPhone SDK Development book that I wrote with Bill Dudney for the Pragmatic Programmers? The one that did pretty well sales-wise and had one of the most active forums on The one that got shelved after we’d written 200 pages when it appeared that Apple planned to somehow never drop the NDA for the iPhone SDK, even for released versions? The one that started as an iPhone OS 2.0 book and then slipped enough to be one of the first really comprehensive iPhone OS 3.0 books?

Also the one that didn’t get updated for iPhone OS 4.0?

And now that Xcode 4 is out, the one that’s getting us e-mails from new readers who send us screenshots of their Xcode 4 windows and asking “how can I make this look like the screenshots in your book?”

And the one that teaches rigorous memory-management practices that will be somewhat obsoleted by iOS 5’s Automatic Reference Counting?

Yeah, that one. There’s finally going to be a new edition of it.

Contracts were signed a while back (something of a gesture of faith, given the fate of my last two books with the Prags), editor is on-board, first chapter and a half is written (about 55 pages in the PDF), regular editorial meeting is finally happening… this ball is rolling.

Given how the first edition bloated to more than 500 pages as we found new stuff we had to cover, my proposal splits the book into two volumes. The first is foundational: tools, language, best practices, etc. We’re taking a whole chapter up front to really dig into Xcode 4, and another for C and Obj-C, which we think will help current iOS developers thrown for a loop by changes in Xcode and new coding conventions like blocks, class extensions, and of course ARC. And yes, I said C — we’re dropping the “we assume you already know C” business because not enough readers do, and will do a short catch up on pointers, typedefs, malloc(), and all that C stuff that trips up so many converts from scripting languages (see also this slide deck, which serves as inspiration for the section). We’re also covering debugging much earlier this time, to help readers get themselves out of trouble when they crash on a EXC_BAD_ACCESS.

The specifics of the various feature frameworks are reserved for the proposed volume 2. That way, I’m not trading pages, tempted to cut back something fundamental like unit testing in order to squeeze in a flashy new AV Foundation thing.

This is going to be an iOS 5 book through and through, more or less a full-on rewrite. Because of the NDA on iOS 5, that means you won’t see any pages from it, not even through the Prags’ beta program, until iOS 5 ships and its NDA drops. So, we’re talking “Fall” here.

Oh, and there is one more thing…

For the first edition, I co-wrote the book with Bill Dudney, author of the much-loved Core Animation for Mac OS X and the iPhone: Creating Compelling Dynamic User Interfaces book. You might also know Bill as an Apple developer evangelist, who gave a great WWDC 2011 talk on “Practical Drawing for iOS Developers” (Session 129… look it up). Bill wasn’t available to co-write this book, because Apple employees can’t contribute to third-party books.

Then again, if you follow Bill on Twitter, you might know that Bill left the company last week and moved back to Colorado.

Which means that Bill can, and in fact, will be co-writing the new edition. In fact, we’re co-ordinating our blog posts on this, so you can go read his announcement right now.

We have a lot of stuff to cover, but it’s a good problem to have: I’ve come around on Xcode 4 and I’m actually eager to talk about it, and iOS 5 gives us a great foundation for a new title.

So see you in September… or whenever the NDA drops. And before that, Bill and I will both be at CocoaConf in Columbus, OH, on August 12-13. Take a look at the session list; this one is shaping up really nicely.

Comments (3)

  1. rscovil

    That’s great news. Definitely one of the best books I have, look forward to the update.

  2. […] Quick reminder: Early Bird pricing ($350) ends Friday (July 22) for CocoaConf in Columbus, Ohio. It’s a new conference, but it has put together a very impressive set of speakers, most recently adding Bill Dudney, former Apple evangelist and co-author on my revised iOS SDK Development book. […]

  3. […] last iDevBlogADay entry was about the second edition of the Prags’ iOS development book, so this time, I want to shine some light on my other current writing project, the long-in-coming […]

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