Quote from Sciman on December 22, 2011, 11:16
I would be especially interested in feedback on the sample chapters for Book 1 and any comments on the last section on the Info page of the web site if anyone has the time.
I admire you for taking on the project and wish you the best. I think writing for the people you know will probably be the most effective use of your time, but that may mean that your book has a more limited audience. My comments are based on the people I know so, they may or may not be useful to you. (I have a number of years of experience in translating technical jargon to ordinary language, but I'm only an average un-technical writer.) So here's my advice based on your first chapter:
(1) Find a brutal editor, preferably someone you like, that you can easily forgive. Error on the side of taking their advice, but in the end it is your decision as to what should be in or out.
(2) Minimize. For example the section titled Python 3 could be simply reduced to "The programming language we will be using is called Python." (Think like a movie maker. "Is this scene, for all its amazing glory, required to move the story forward?")
(3) Avoid using words and terminology not a part of ordinary conversation with a 10 year old or your mother. "Theory" and "Interface" make my grown friends eyes glaze over. When in doubt about how to refer to something, go to a ten year old, your spouse, friend or mother who isn't "into" computers and point at something and ask them "what is that?" Remember that verbs like "execute" have a loaded meaning in everyday conversation and reading where your student spends most of his time. While students certainly do need to learn techno speak so that they can access and understand other resources, I would put them in side bars or better yet save them for a later chapter or book.
(4) You are right about avoiding polymorphism, overloading..., and I hope you can come up with friendlier terms than "classes" and inheritance. 20+ years later they still make my skin crawl, but I offer no alternatives, sorry.
(5) Simplify screen shots. They are realistic, but include a lot of distraction that have nothing to do with the lesson at hand. Is there any way to turn off the Python start up garbage? ie. "I'm Python, I have silly version numbers and did you know that time and date can be expressed in odd formats and there are ways to get to a lot of information about me and my friends that you wouldn't read if I paid you." If not, you may want to mention they can safely ignore it.
Anyway, that's my two cents (or pence) worth, and you often get what you pay for. Do not let cheap shots like this discourage you.