A few years back when I was just finishing university, I purchased one of the Masters of Flash books published by Friends of Ed. Back then, I was really into flash, spending many late nights creating neat and original things—projects I considered worthy of a chapter in such a book. I had Joshua Davis’s PrayStation web site as my home page and I vowed then and there that within three years I would produce something similarly cool and write a chapter for a book.
—Fast foward about five years.—
Since the glory days of university and my experimentation with flash as a web app platform, my focus and priorities have changed. At work, our use of flash shifted from integrated web application to simple graphical eyecandy—and I got bored making things just fly around the screen. I haven’t touched flash in more than a year and a half, not because I dislike it, but because my interests have move towards the wonderful world of web standards and getting all you can out of XHTML, CSS and pals. My most visited bookmarks have changed from FlashKit and PrayStation (though I still think Josh’s work rocks) to web standards sites such as CSSZenGarden, AListApart and the personal sites of other Web Standards zealots such as Dan Cederholm, Jeffrey Zeldman, Jason Santa Maria, Shaun Inman, Cameron Moll, Douglas Bowman and Dave Shea. As well, I’ve shifted from being known as the ‘Cool Graphic Design Guy’ to ‘Cool Research and Development Guy’ (Yes, R&D can be cool when you work for a company like We-Create and you have almost free rein on what you’re allowed to R&D). Meanwhile, my now five year old vow to write a chapter in a book made it’s way to the back of the filing cabinet, where I lost it with the other crunched and dusty pages of ideas, never to be seen again. And it was, until recently.
Almost by accident I was handed the opportunity not to write a chapter, but to co-author an entire book on some almost brand new stuff that everyone’s excited about. It seems that somehow through the grapevine, I knew the right people, at the right time. The offer to write the book—I can’t yet say what the subject is or who it’s for as it’s still "hush hush"—suddenly rekindled that drive and excitement I had years ago.
My excitement was additionally compounded by a yearning to write. Since leaving university, I’ve missed the late night writing and research sessions before a big paper was due. You’ve all been there, the pressure on, awake at four in the morning, trying to finish a 60 page research report on Ink Tack and the Tensile Strength of Web Offset Paper, due at 8:00 am and you still have an hour commute on the train, plus a 20 min walk in downtown Toronto to get to school… We’ll OK maybe you haven’t been exactly there but you get the point. When you’re in school you always say you won’t miss it, but you really do.
While working on the first chapters of the book, I’ve also been excited to discover I really enjoy the writing process, both from the authors point of view and the editors point of view. Educated in a print production background, I’m well aware of all the technical aspects that go into the printing, publishing and distribution of a book, but this is the first time I’ve experienced it from the other side of the fence, and I must say I enjoy it. At the same time however, I also still have a lot to learn.
So until I can tell you what the book is about, I’ll just say that I’m excited and working hard. I think all you web developers out there will find the end product really useful and I’m just happy that I can now submit my work via email, rather than taking an hour long train ride into downtown Toronto at 6 in the morning!