Develop Apps with Xcode 4: Update

It’s been about a month and a half since I announced I’m writing an Xcode 4 book for Peachpit Press. I thought I’d give a little status update for those who keep asking me about it – something more substantial than “I’m writing as fast as I can, you damn vultures!”

Where Am I?

I’m very rapidly approaching the half-way point of the raw production work. That means the pure writing-and-creating-screenshots stage is almost half-way done. Of course there is the technical review and editing part and probably a bit of last-minute worriment and trouble as there always is with any reasonably-sized project. The basic cover design is already decided but I haven’t seen any of the actual layout of the content yet. It’s well on its way to being a book and now almost as long as one of my average e-mails or telephone conversations.

Wait, What?

A very comical – but thankfully very brief – misunderstanding arose last week. Born of the inadequacies of e-mail, speed-reading, and my own inevitable insecurity over doing something new, I nearly had the rare trifecta of heart attack, stroke, and aneurism. True multitasking, folks.

Cliff (the executive editor) told me he’s actually a little worried. Kim, my book editor says I’m a pleasure to work with. He immediately followed that sentence with, “you’re not trying hard enough.

In a rare moment of abject horror, my mind raced with questions like, “Why didn’t you tell me sooner?” and “What specifically is wrong?” Hoping for some clue, I re-read the paragraph. Then I got the joke. We’d been joking back and forth that, due to my often R-rated sense of humor I’m trying to scare Kim away. He was worried about me because, due to Kim’s compliment, I wasn’t trying hard enough to scare her away.

Yes, I’m still laughing thinking about it. Cliff seemed somewhat aghast to have caused such grief but to my credit he could see how I would’ve misread it at first. He assured me I’m doing fine, so I’m relieved. I’m also mildly amused that Cliff seemed to feel a little bad about actually paying me a compliment. That’ll teach’im. 🙂

Faster, Damn You!

That said, I am a little behind schedule in the strictest “this chapter is due on this date” sense but some chapters are longer than others so there’s no worry so far. One earlier chapter remains incomplete due at first to the Xcode beta not cooperating and now due to just finding the time to get back to it and finish it. Another chapter caused difficulties initially because of beta issues but grew to “do I want to introduce this now or later?” and “is this basic or advanced stuff?” Decisions, decisions. Then I was sick as hell for half a week.

Conclusion (or Wrapping Up if You’re Kim)

So it’s coming along. I’m looking forward to concluding/wrapping up the book and unleashing it unto the very supportive Cocoa community. Sadly it’s time I can’t spend developing, my desktop answer to all the Flashlight iOS apps out there.

If you’re wondering about the conclusion/wrapping up thing, it was the one thing Kim and I actually punted back and forth over. Lacking imagination, my first chapter concluded with a section titled “Conclusion.” She felt it sounded a bit too formal (she used the phrase “high-school essay”). She suggested “Wrapping Up” or something “fun.” Now I would personally have loved to make the book funny-bordering-on-ridiculous a la the For Dummies series. After all, most of my blog posts and e-mail responses – even at work – tend toward “smart ass,” but after trying to choose a funny title, I decided overt comedy would be too a hard sell. I settled for her first choice so that I could blame her for it later.

I’ll try to keep you all updated on the latest. There’s something hilariously conceited about writing about my writing. The Cocoa community doesn’t need another Gemmell to play up the hero worship role but perhaps it could use a conceited prick of an author. There’re plenty of candidates but he who shouts loudest …

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