By Felicity Brand
Technologies change day to day, but books can’t—which is why some people hesitate before purchasing a new technology book. It’s true that web technologies are constantly changing (for the better!), but we designed our book to remain relevant and current for the years to come. As one of the authors of The TYPO3 Guidebook, I thought a lot about how to make a readers’ investment last longer than a few release cycles. Here are some ideas.
Create a digital companion for the physical guide
Our book comes with many carefully crafted guides for TYPO3 developers and open-source entrepreneurs, which they can reference at their leisure. But as technical developers and writers ourselves, we know that a lot of learning happens through trial and error. We created supporting code repositories for several how-to guides in our book on Github, so you can download the code yourself and pick apart how it works. In the open-source spirit, anyone who notes an error in the repo can contribute a fix.
Provide evergreen advice for running a business with open source
While our book features an introductory and thorough course in TYPO3, we made sure to include more general content for those looking to launch a business in open source—information that is useful and relevant in the long term. The book contains a guide for running an open-source business, including:
- How to decide on the type of clients and projects to look for
- How to think about marketing features
- Talking to potential clients about your software
- Using TYPO3, and open source more generally, as a door opener.
By putting technology guides and business advice in the same book, we tried to give a more holistic view of a career in open source.
Focus on general principles rather than version specifics
Good tech books stay popular for years. These books tend to focus on the principles of development—explaining theory, methodologies, and best practices—rather than specific versions of a product or language that will grow outdated quickly. Our book is based on the latest long term support (LTS) version but doesn’t talk about version specifics.
We start with a showcase of what is possible with TYPO3, then present a discussion about design, implementation, and maintenance. Our book suits a mixed audience of technical project managers, decision-makers, and developers. The areas that delve more deeply into the development side talk about the concept of Object Oriented Programming (OOP) with TYPO3, a principle that’s language-agnostic.
Include a troubleshooting guide with references to online resources
Understanding and acknowledging that most development work takes place online is key. A good technology book provides a framework for learning but also helps readers troubleshoot and solve problems for themselves. Our Troubleshooting guide includes a lot of resources you can go to when you run into an issue—like the TYPO3 Slack and online community, plus advice on how to navigate documentation.
Try it out for yourself
While there’s a lot of content available on the internet, not all of it is as high-quality or well-structured as a book that a team of authors has put a lot of time and thought into. The TYPO3 Guidebook was built to last, much in the same way TYPO3 has extended long-term support versions—with the right resources and support to help you in the long term.
Guest article written by: Felicity Brand is a Communications Consultant at Open Strategy Partners, where she writes and edits a variety of technical content for internal and external consumption. She is the primary author of the recently published TYPO3 Guidebook: Understand and Use TYPO3 CMS, and has a special knack for designing visuals and illustrations to communicate technical concepts. Felicity has more than ten years of experience as a technical communicator and spent the ten years before that as a business analyst. Felicity is passionate about open source, and is based in Melbourne, Australia. Linked In: https://www.linkedin.com/in/felicitybrand/