Truth be told: I read your homepage (and played with the color walker in it’s background), so I got to read your mission statement and about the “worse is better” philosophy.
Given my background, I suppose I am some kind of tutorial monger, whether they come in blogs or books. Having read yours and given them some thoughts about how you structure and narrate them, it occurred to me they have a similarity to the “worse is better” philosophy. It’s usually quite a leap to take a philosophy from one field (coding) and applying it to another (writing/coaching). That only works if you really understood it, or got a proper gut-instinct for it. Either way, you know your stuff!
About your tutorials
Fact 1: Your lessons are simplistic, in the best kind of way. Even the longer ones come in neat, easy to swallow bites, and contribute everything needed and exactly what’s needed to understand the next steps. At least in my experience.
Fact 2: IT grows fast. The tutorials that work exactly as promised by the author are rare. When the readers run into bugs, they have to first check for their own spelling/configuration, then re-read the previous steps of the tutorial, and then assume the tutorial might be outdated and check for a solution on the big wide web - just so they can continue the tutorial where they left off afterward.
If the latter is the case, the tutorials break sometimes - meaning you can’t figure out how to fix your local problems and thus can’t continue the tutorial. It has happened to me in a few cases in the past.
During the exercises from your blog, there were a few things I had to look up when something didn’t work as expected. But those were small, and Fact 1 supports readers through such cases, big time. And so far nothing has really broken, and I could go through most tutorials in one smooth go without any troubles. Kudos to that!
What I’m working on
By chance I just ran into a bug during the Eclipse EE tutorial. When I use the external jetty distribution on my Desktop, Eclipse Jetty throws a bunch of exceptions, foremost
I couldn’t solve it. If I use the internal jetty it works just fine. The tutorial tells me how to use the external jetty distribution, but it didn’t exactly specify why I would want to do that. I assumed it’s one of those good to know bits which become useful in the future.
For the moment, I go ahead to the Post Request tutorial and assume I’ll progress just fine using the eclipse jetty plugin. Once I actually need the external jetty, I’ll return into the bug-fixing process, and perhaps involve you and the board by opening a new thread.
In addition, my fingers itch for all the goodies I’ve seen offered in your server tutorial section, so perhaps I was a bit impatient.
In the long run I need to use all that knowledge and skill you provide to create a web-service that’s pretty much an API to a remote DB, and design / write the client-side content too. I will try to use the worse is better approach to keep it simple and manageable, and thanks again for all the inspiration your blog has already given me on that account.
A little more about myself
To borrow your way of speaking: By day, I’m a software developer in a steel production facility. I chose that profession for mere practical reasons, but it surprised me with a wonderful community, astounding concepts and a near inexhaustible resource for fun projects and puzzles to solve.
By night, I’m a fiction writer, dreaming to hit my big success someday, and perhaps make it my prime activity eventually, keeping coding as a hobby.
I’m telling you that as insight to what kind of audience I am, and as a by-the-way explanation to why I tend to write long posts.
When I’m writing, I want it to be elegant, easy to understand and that the text does what it is supposed to be doing. In my world, it does not make any difference if I am writing backend logic, tests, frontend design, database structures, documentation, posts, essays or stories. Whenever I write, I want to stick to my philosophies and values. I don’t think I mastered any of those yet. But as the German saying goes:
“Übung macht den Meister” = “Practice leads to mastership”