We're looking for a technical writer to work with our core developers to produce a SilverStripe book aimed at web developers.

The main reason we're calling out to the community is that the core developers don't individually have the time to tackle a book by themselves. We also expect that by working with someone familiar with book writing, they can bring a whole set of fresh ideas, professionalism, and efficiency to the table.

One obvious aim of the work is to build significantly on our current documentation; our existing tutorials could be considered the first 50 pages of a longer 300 page work.

However, the wider reason ties back to our motivation we released SilverStripe as free software. We truely want to make it easier for website developers to build innovative websites and online applications that are easy to use, update, and manage. Producing the software is only half the challenge: people need to understand how to take advantage of it, and a book is a great means to that.

We very much want to stress we agree with the wisdom found in many writing guides. The book will be of limited appeal as "SilverStripe: The Definitive Guide," as few people will be browsing the web or walking into a store with that in mind. (Besides, SilverStripe is developing quickly so a reference or API guide would be out of date before it printed.)

Instead we expect the book to far more successful if it more generally aims to give website developers extra personal satisfaction in their job, and lets them do better work for their customers. So while the book will methodically take you through the various features and philosophies of SilverStripe, the structure and emphasis of the book is more practical: teach the reader to build websites and applications that are easier to use, are more reliable, take less time to build, are easy to update, have useful novel features, and so on.

Photo of family on holiday, from FlickrAs Kathy Sierrra might put it, we're not trying to form a dry Nikon Coolpix 5700 user manual, but rather an engaging and practical guide on "How to take stunning photos of your family." This provides a better type of learning.

We have interest from book publishers, so our next step is to find one or two people to really own the book writing venture. See Alistapart for the sort of professionalism and quality of writing we're after. We are really keen to see this happen so are happy to make the timeframes and payment attractive; our organisation would consider supplementing the publisher's advance. Also note that we are interested in having a free online edition.

Finally, we're looking to find someone with experience in the software ideals on which SilverStripe is premised. We'd hope you're familiar with or have written about many of the following: Object oriented PHP5, MySQL, web standards, unobstrusive javascript, usability, open source, content management systems/blogging tools, ORM/MVC frameworks, et al.

  • If you would like to author the book, please answer a few questions for us. We hope to figure out who would be involved towards the end of April.  

If you have any general comments on the book idea, add a public comment below!

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Just a note. We have had some interesting enquiries however the search remains open. Keep the applications coming.

Posted on 17 Jul 2008 by Sigurd Magnusson

Great idea! But I think that having examples of successful documents and have more practical examples to it.

Posted on 22 Apr 2008 by John

I like the idea but why not do it more as a wiki? Then instead of one writer doing it the community could all help out. And instead or maybe in addition to api documentation you have practical examples to show how to use it.

Posted on 3 Apr 2008 by Matt

Excellent idea! Please consider using your lovely client Write Group to edit and proofread the text once it is written to make sure it is consistent. :-)

Posted on 2 Apr 2008 by Nicola Welby

I really like the idea of having a book that is not api-centric. I think one main issue of the book should be workflow: How to design a sustainable class architecture, how to work in teams when developing functionality and templates, how to work with a development and live server etc. I for myself am missing some docs on background, i.e. about sapphire. I am interested in silverstripe as a base for custom development and would appreciate some answers to "Why"-questions (compared to "How"-questions). I am neither a professional writer nor a native-English speaker, but I would really like to help planning and maybe reviewing the book! aa(at)adiwidjaja(dot)com.

Posted on 28 Mar 2008 by Andy Adiwidjaja

It's very good Idea, I thought about it time ago. Its very needed right now. Wiki and docs are so fragmented, than there should be something like one piece of Documentation. I'd like to be Beta or Alpha tester of the book, as non professional writer and as non natively English speaking person. My e-mail: soswow (dogy) gmail (dot) com

Posted on 27 Mar 2008 by Aleksandr Sugard