I have been pretty silent for a while on this blog. The reason is that I decided to put my experiences in an educational book instead of a blog. I started working on this early this year. Most of it was written during the summer holidays. The book is now almost finished.
My initial idea was to create an iBook for the iPad. The underlying idea was that this would enable to me to create an interactive book. But during the summer it became clear that there were fundamental problems with getting the larger views to be readable. Apple’s iBooks Author translates every image (including perfect PDF vector images) to a pretty low resolution PNG and these were unreadable when diagrams are larger. Trying to get around this by creating HTML5 widgets with SVG images failed too, as iBooks refuses to display SVG images (though Safari can do it). The conclusion was; iBooks Author is not ready for this and I had to return to paper and forget about the interaction. Given the large number of (sometimes large) diagrams I had to go for a decent layout program (besides, I do not trust MS Word) that would remain vector-based until the final PDF is produced. I tried Apple Pages, but that was not doable because it is terribly limited at cross references, numbering, etc. I tried many other applications, none of which were any good.
In the end, I decided to buy a professional layout application and have ended up trying and buying Adobe Indesign CS6. Learning that and getting things right took again some time. But now I can say the book is almost ready. With most chapters (almost) done, there are roughly 100 A4 (sorry, US) pages and more than 150 diagrams, some quite complex.
One of the other reasons to use iBooks was that it would enable me to offer my book for sale at a pretty low price so it would easily come in the hands of many readers. I was thinking about something like €8.99 for the book. But a printed book requires a serious publisher to get distribution right. And it becomes pretty expensive. A book like this with a limited number of copies would easily cost readers around €50. And it would take a lot of time to find and deal with a good publisher. Given that there is no way to get this cheaply in your hands, I have decided to offer it as ‘shareware’ in PDF. You will need to print and bind it yourself and I’ll offer a way to donate for every copy you print as a private person, but it’s shareware, so you pay if you want.
I’ll allow someone else to print and distribute commercially or for business use it if they want, but in that case, I will expect that the distributor pays me an agreed amount per copy. I haven;t made my mind up in terms of specifics.
The book will contain roughly the following chapters:
- ArchiMate Basics
- Style & Patterns
- Model Use & Maintenance
- Advanced Patterns
- Discussing ArchiMate
The title of the book will be Mastering ArchiMate. More soon on this blog.