500 Lines or Less Early Access Web Release

Michael DiBernardo - Tue 01 September 2015 -

It has been a long time coming, but I'm happy to announce that the first artifact from 500 Lines or Less will be published on aosabook.org today.

Writing a chapter for 500 Lines is a rigorous process. The code for each chapter is first reviewed by technical reviewers; then, the chapter drafts are reviewed by different readers for content and accessibility. Finally, our heroic copy editor Amy Brown examines each line of text for grammatical errors or tricky phrasings. And yet, we're sure there are still bugs in this book waiting to be found.

Just as it is very expensive to fix a bug once it hits production, it is similarly painful to find an error in a book once it has already gone to print. To this end, we're going to be doing an early-access release of each chapter on the 500Lines website at the rate of one per week for the next 20 weeks. We hope that getting these chapters out early will give all of you the chance to find the snags that we missed throughout this process. We expect to go to print very shortly after this process winds down.

These early-access chapters will only be published from this blog, and will be linked from the news section on aosabook.org and announced on Twitter from @aosabook. The production version of the website will be published around the same time as the final draft goes to print.

With all of that out of the way, I'm happy to share Ned Batchelder's template engine chapter with you. Ned's chapter is a great example of what we were hoping to accomplish with 500Lines: it is compact, well-explained, and there are several discussions of interesting decisions and trade-offs he had to make while writing it.

If you find errors you think are worth reporting, please open an issue on our GitHub tracker. We'll try our best to collate issues sent to us on Twitter and via other channels, but we have a lot of book to work on still, and we're probably going to miss things unless they're persisted in that tracker somehow.

Many thanks again to PagerDuty for their generous sponsorship of this project. Please give them a public thank-you or two throughout this early-access release for their contribution.


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