Some people, when confronted with a problem, think “I know, I'll use a wiki” Now they have no idea how many problems are there.
— Andrew Clay Shafer (@littleidea) April 4, 2012
The above tweet summarizes my experience in the past years in having converted A Byte of Python book into a wiki. I was hoping to make it much easier for readers to make corrections and contributions to the book. The only thing it enabled is tons of spam.
The second issue was that lots of readers kept emailing me to ask about ebook and kindle versions of the book which I could not do because it was stuck in a wiki format.
The solution was obvious – Pandoc, but it just seemed too daunting a task to do and hence I delayed it for years. It has been done now, thanks to my wife who did the conversion from the earlier Mediawiki syntax.
I also wrote a small Fabric file to update the websites in a single command invocation – so now I can edit the book and by running one command, it will update the book chapters pages on the WordPress site as well as generate and update the PDF and EPUB files stored in AWS S3.
I have also made a few quick changes to the text:
- Overhauled installation and first steps chapters for Python 3 and explaining how to find and open a terminal application in detail
- Recommending newbies to start with ActiveState Komodo Edit editor and instructions on how to use it to create and run a source file
- Removed unnecessary sections such as
- Moved escape sequences in strings to the ‘More’ chapter in the end, it was an unrequired hurdle
I haven’t done an exhaustive review of the text yet, because frankly, that is draining, but I hope this is the start of me responding to readers’ suggestions on how to improve the book.