Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Ruport 1.2 released, now to get things up to date

We've been working off of trunk as we write the Ruport book, so it means that some of the features from the new 1.2 release have already been covered.

However, there are at least a few places where things are out of date, and probably broken now. If you'd like to help out, have a look at the Ruport 1.2 release notes, download the gem, and start playing with the book content. When you run into problems, let us know.

We'll be working to get everything back up to speed in the next few days, but we appreciate any problem reports between now and then. For now, enjoy 1.2!

Thursday, August 23, 2007

New Book Content: Using Ruport::Query

There's a new chapter of the Ruport book available on the web site. This update adds a chapter on the use of Ruport::Query. Using the cheatsheet format, it explains the configuration and use of Ruport::Query to interface with Ruby DBI for data collection (or to process any SQL queries).

This is the last of the planned cheatsheets, so you might not see much new content on the book site for a while, as we'll be taking the time to write the central narrative.

The new chapter is available at http://ruportbook.com/query.html.

Thursday, August 9, 2007

Come Get Up In Our Grill

Though we've been calling this effort "The Most Open Publishing Project Ever", we've clearly been missing a key part of that, a blog. Now we've decided to change that and join the mass of mixed signals and noise that is the blogosphere.

We'll be using this blog to announce new content whenever it is available, as well as give people progress reports on the administrative side of things, such as starting up the company that we'll be printing the book through Lulu with.

We hope this serves a few purposes, the first of which is of course giving the book more exposure and inviting our users to participate or at least stay in the loop. The other thing we hope to do, which is perhaps more generally useful, is document our experience of writing and producing a work basically on our own, without a publisher to handle all the details for us. With any luck, we'll be able to do this successfully and share our experiences for the benefit of other folks who want to write free documentation.

For now, here's an update on where we stand, on various fronts:

  • We're in talks with BTree to get some initial funding to start up an LLC or other kind of company with. This company will likely consist of only two partners, Michael and myself, with a very reasonable profit sharing model worked out with BTree.

  • We're looking for some incentives for folks to buy the printed book or typeset PDF when it becomes available. Because we intend to make the HTML version of the book available free of charge forever, we won't be using traditional product-centric profit models. Instead, we plan to donate a sizeable amount of our proceeds to charity. We have a couple of organizations in mind, and will announce our final selection and the amount of profits we plan to share with them soon.

  • We are also considering doing pre-orders of the printed book at a much lower cost than the final retail price. Please let us know if you're interested in this, as a decent amount of interest will help make sure we do this. We'd likely begin taking pre-orders in mid-September for an early November release date.

  • We are about two weeks *behind* on writing, but have worked enough wiggle room into the schedule where this should not effect our goal of having the book in print before RubyConf. We'll let you know if things change.

  • An alpha release of PayR, the application which the Ruport Book will be based on will be out soon, within the next couple weeks.

  • The editorial support, review commentary, and feedback for the book have been less than what we hoped for. We notice that our users are learning a lot from the materials based on the kinds of questions that are being asked on the mailing list, but we are really counting on honest opinions from our users on whether or not the work we've done so far is helpful to them. Feel free to chime in any time. :)

  • What has been lacking in discussion has not been lacking in financial support. Donations have covered our hosting costs for 1 year for the various project resources. All further donations will be used to help offset business costs, allow us to borrow less money, and generally make things go more smoothly. To those who have contributed so far, thank you!
That wraps up where we are for now, expect to see new updates soon. Please feel free to actively comment on any content you see here, we can use your advice!