October 6, 2005 spout

The Competition

Charles Petzold says he doesn’t envy me. Hell, I’m just flattered he knows my name. Like the rest of my generation, I learned how to program Windows from Petzold.

Still, even though Petzold doesn’t envy Ian and I for writing the beta edition of the WPF book, it hasn’t turned out to be so bad. Oh sure, we wrote against first a creaky CTP, then a slightly less creaky beta 1 RC, but we made it mostly work. Of course, but the time the book was published at the PDC, MS had released a new version, making some of the details of our book obsolete, but not so many that we weren’t able to catalog the changes for readers w/in a week or so of the PDC bits. We’ve also posted samples for both beta 1 and the September PDC and we plan on posting changes and samples for every major version from now til the WPF v1.0 version of the book.

Plus, I happen to know that another competitor” is constantly bombarded with copies of the book on the desks of his colleagues, while a friend makes parts of our book required reading for the people he’s working with.

Still, all of that pales in comparison to the real value of getting a book (or any product) out as early as possible: feedback from the readers (users). I got a ton of feedback on my early Avalon writings and now we’re getting more from our book readers, all of it feeding into the pipeline to make the book better the next time around.

With all of this in our favor, I don’t envy Petzold having to start from scratch…

P.S. I have to say, the only thing better than beating Petzold, my long-time hero, in sales and reviews is having him complain about me on his blog. I’ve peaked. It’s all down hill from here… : )