It isn’t much of a secret that I’m writing a book on Clojure, tentatively titled ‘Meet Clojure’. I’ve talked about it on twitter and IRC. People have been asking me about my focuses and such for the book as well as other important details, so instead of repeating myself for each question, I’ll explain the book, the purpose of the book and all of that noise here.
Freeness. There aren’t many free online resources for new Clojure developers. This book’s electronic version will be licensed under a Creative Commons license and be made freely available. In addition the source of the book will be available on Github at some point in time.
Beginners to Clojure. I want my book to be the logical step backwards from The Joy of Clojure. It’s a whirlwind tour of Clojure designed to teach Clojure to a beginner and get them up and running with their own project, a build tool, and other important things. It isn’t designed to teach the nooks and crannies of Clojure or to go really in-depth about things. The Joy of Clojure does this well, so I don’t need to. My book will be a comprehensive introduction and tutorial to the language. By the end of the book, readers should be writing their own code and be thirsty for Clojure. Also important is the tone of the book. I’m writing the book in a spirit very similar to Learn You a Haskell. My book is meant to be very lighthearted and easy to read. It’s amusing and humorous, but not weird to the extent of _why’s Poignant Guide to Ruby.
The working title ‘Meet Clojure’ may change. People seem to like it, as unclever as it is. I’d like for the book to have an amusing or clever name, and somebody recommended ‘sexpbook’ which seems to qualify. I’m leaning towards the final title being “Meet Clojure: The Sexpbook”, but nothing is set in stoned and I’m still taking suggestions.
I’m writing the book in pandoc’s extended version of markdown. I’m letting pandoc compile the markdown source to latex and then letting xelatex compile the latex to a PDF. I’m writing the book in Emacs using markdown-mode. When the book is finished, I’m going to conspire with a friend to get a good looking HTML version of the book (which pandoc can handle the hardest part of doing) up and running. The book will be open source, so formats that people want that I don’t provide can happen. I have no release date. I’ve got a lot of the book already written, but there is plenty more to do. I expect it finished in less than 3 months. No promises, because life throws curve balls.
A lot of people I know have been given access to my drafts and a lot of people, including Clojurians, have their eyes all over this book and thus are helping me with technical portions of the book. One friend has pointed out that he isn’t opposed to copy-editing the book for me, so I’m doing okay in the review department.
I don’t know whether this book will ever be published. This book was a random idea that grew into something big. I had already written 50 pages before publishing ever even came to mind. I don’t know whether or not this book will get published or if I’ll even try to get it published. I may send it to some publishers upon completion, and I may just self-publish it. I may do nothing at all and just provide online copies with a humble little donate button beside them. I’d like to make a little money off of this book, and God knows I could use it, but the world of publishing is very new to me, so I have no idea how any of this will work out. Update: I’m currently talking with No Starch about possibly publishing this thing. Fingers crosses.
I’m not stingy with my book. It’s going to be open source and free anyway, so I don’t mind giving drafts to people who ask and are interested. If you’re a Clojurian interested in reviewing the book or similar, you can contact me via email or twitter. My email address is i@this website’s base domain. You can reach me on twitter @IORayne. I hope that, when this book is done, everybody has as much fun reading it as I did writing it. -Anthony