March 22, 2008 spout writing

Nobody Knows Shoes: The Book — Pure Genius!

I friend of mine dropped a book with a funny cover in my lap and said, Hey, check this out.” I threw it on my pile and didn’t get back to it for a few days. When I did, I didn’t know what to make of it. It was like The Grapes of Wrath by Rory Blyth, with illustrations by a drunk Salvador Dali.

It took a few pages, but I eventually figured out that Shoes” was a cross-platform GUI framework for Ruby and this 52-page book was a tutorial for it. By page 15, I knew the major concepts. By page 20, I could write my first program. By the end, 30 minutes after I’d started reading, I knew the whole thing.

But it was page 24 that completely blew me away. The use of pictures of dominoes and matches to illustrate layout in stacks and flows was genius. This wasn’t just a random collection of wacky illustrations and  non-traditional font choices — the author of this book really knew how to tell a story.

It wasn’t that I wanted to program Shoes, so went looking for a tutorial. It was the tutorial that made me want to program Shoes. Now *that’s* writing.

P.S. This book is not from a publisher — it’s self-published through for cost. There is no bar code, copyright page, Table of Contents or index. It’s just the stuff you actually need to get started programming a completely new thing. And, if you don’t want to shell out the $8.72 to read a paper copy, you can read the HTML and PDF versions instead.