JavaScript Writing

Future proofing books

The downside of the recent flurry of activity regarding JavaScript/ECMAScript is that I’m in the middle of tech editing Learning JavaScript, second edition, and not sure what to include.

On the one hand, it’s extremely important to me that the book be accurate, so my inclination is not to including anything that isn’t implemented in all four of my target test browsers (IE8, Firefox 3.x, Safari 3.x, and Opera 9.x). However, we plan on the book having a two year shelf life, and the discussion around Harmony notes implementations of ES 3.1 as early as next spring.

It used to be, at one time, companies and organizations would work with tech book companies and authors in order to ensure the accurate representation of information. What’s happened, though, is that many of the people working these issues on the committees are now writing their own books, and don’t particularly care about the accurate dissemination of information in other books. This in addition to everyone and their brother (rarely sister) having their own weblog, wiki, email list, Twitter, ad nauseum and if books like mine have inaccurate information, they can just publish The Truth in their own spaces.

So, now I’m left with a decision: don’t include anything at all on ES 3.1, and face emails and book criticisms about why I didn’t include coverage of such and such; or try to decipher what will eventually be implemented from this new effort, and run the risk of the pundits carefully pointing out everything wrong with the book, and how can O’Reilly publish a book by an author who is too stupid to know what she’s talking about.

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