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Re: Re: Re: Matt's Script Archive Strikes Again!

by legLess (Hermit)
on Jul 29, 2001 at 00:11 UTC ( #100589=note: print w/replies, xml ) Need Help??

in reply to Re: Re: Matt's Script Archive Strikes Again!
in thread Matt's Script Archive Strikes Again!

You want specific points? You got 'em. First let me respond to this post. I wouldn't have replied at all, and let our disagreemnt just rest, except for the blatant misrepresentations in your post. I don't know if you're intentionally ignoring most of what I say, or just missing it. I've tried to be more clear and explicit here.
But because you don't like a font, or don't like repeating important points, or don't know what is on the cover are not good reasons to not suggest to someone else to buy the book.
I don't mean this at all as a flame, but is English your first language? I ask only because you seem to misunderstand things easily. If you grew up learning another language, then your grasp of English is remarkable - certainly better than I write or understand any other language - and to be commended.

Fonts: this is addressed below. Here are the basics, though: I talked about the size of the fonts as they relate to the padding (or not padding) of the book. My specific words were "The font is huge," and I think this a very specific complaint. I don't care about the font type, style or anything else (nor did I mention these). I think it's extremely dishonest of you to mention "fonts" 5 times in your two replies, and not once to mention my very specific complaint about them - their size.

Cover: I'm very sorry that you misunderstood this comment. If you examine it again, and indeed, look at the text you copied and quoted in your first reply, you'll see a little symbol at the end. I'll reproduce it here: " ;) ". This type of symbol is called an "emoticon." A Google search for the term yields over 26,000 results, so it is a fairly common term. The emoticon I used is usually called a "winky," and indicates that the comment it follows is a joke or not to be taken seriously.

In other words, my comment about the book cover was in jest and not a serious criticism. Again, I'm very sorry if you've never encountered emoticons before and don't understand them. I assumed that someone who'd spent enough time on the web to write a book about it would know such things. I was wrong, and I apologize. Some links from that Google search above will help you, I bet.

Not understanding the books layout and purpose isn't.
This is the bottom line of our disagreement, I think. Let me say this very simply: the fact that you don't agree with my criticisms does not invalidate them. You are the author, and you have many vested interests in the book. Of course you won't agree with someone who doesn't like it.
If you can't cite specific problems with it, don't go around in public arenas trashing it.
I cited several very specific problems with the book, and many of them are expanded upon below. What you've done is typically called a "straw man argument." In other words, you've cherry-picked the points from my post that you feel are easy to respond to, then ignored the rest. You repeat again and again that I "didn't like the font" (a dishonest misrepresentation), and ignore other things I criticized, like templates.
a lot of work to put together a book.
This is 100% irrelevent. If you put your life's work into a book it can suck just as badly as if you spent 2 weeks on it. I'm talking about your product, not your process.
Then, someone comes along and says they don't suggest the book because they don't like fonts, and mentions no real problems with the book.
Frankly, I don't know why you keep repeating this point. Your style of argument seems to be:
  • See response that you don't like.
  • Deny that it is a valid response.
  • Claim that therefore there are no responses.
  • Repeat.
Again: just because you don't agree with my points doesn't mean I didn't raise any. I don't expect you to agree. That's fine. But your disagreement alone is not enough to invalidate what I say.

How about this for a real problem with the book? "Some inclusions/exclusions and focus choices are very odd. There's a very detailed chapter for Mason, but no mention of templates (literally - not even in the index)." This is very specific and clear, but you don't agree, so you blithely ignore it. "There are no points here," you say, with your hands over your eyes.

Here is the original response I wrote, then didn't post. I expect that you'll disagree with it, and that's fine. But for the sake of logic, don't pretend that there aren't any points here, ok?

Well, I can't comment on your taste of fonts, that is too subjective.
This point you missed. I don't care what font you used; I'm talking about font size. My point is simply that the fonts are unusually large for a tech book, and this has the side effect of making the book look bigger. Whether or not this is intentional, your decision or your publisher's, I can't say.
When code samples are listed twice (which you didn't give any example of this, and I can't think of any which were)
OK, how about nearly every chapter. Most chapters have a "listings" section at the end, which contains nothing but code already printed. To my understanding of the word "twice," this qualifies.
As well, it shows what was current when the book was written. Things on URLs may not be the same as you find in a book.
Good point. Except that certain documents (the GPL for instance) are updated when they have to be, when it's important. It's a disservice and a waste IMHO to print copies of documents that live (e.g. "change constantly") on the web.

Server codes, environmental variables, ASCII codes, etc are all good and valuable things to have in an appendix. I found it annoying that your extra-wide spacing (25 lines/page - yes, I counted) made these references less usable than they could have been. I've seen several clear, coherent and readable ASCII code charts that fit on one page; that's much more useful.

The bits repeated on using -wT are repeated a lot, why? Because it is important. If someone learns nothing from the book but to use -wT in CGI, then the book served a purpose. Sometimes, people need to see things many times before they remember and understand it.
I don't disagree at all. But this reinforces two of my previous points: the book is mainly vocational, not educational, and the book is padded.
Some chapters belong better in a Perl book ("Tied Variables").
Um... it is a Perl book.
Yes. I meant "a Perl language reference."
There are too many templating systems and, IMO, if you cover one, you need to cover them all.
So because you couldn't exhaustively cover every single templating system you decided not to even mention them? Come on - that's just silly. Perl templates are incredibly powerful; they're also easier to use and more widely available at ISPs than Mason. Templates are a class of solution, and a very valuable one. I notice that you don't apply this dubious logic to embedded Perl solutions. You don't talk about embperl, for instance.
If there is a 2nd Ed. I do want to cover TT.
So by your own logic, this would mean covering all template systems, right? I look forwrd to your next 800-page edition.
One of the points of the book was to explain what was happening in digestable chunks. So, you have to spoon feed large scripts if you want to actually encourage learning.
A laudable goal. IMHO however you went to far in this direction and made it choppier than necessary.
Actually, some people call it that. It has no name, and is mostly refered to as 'the book with that cover', or the M&M book.
I hope you saw my wink - ;). This was not intended as serious criticism. :) (UPDATE: this is often called a "smiley" emoticon.)
What does the Mouse cover that we don't? What do they cover in more depth? What do we cover they don't? What do we cover in more depth?
Ok, here are some more specific differences between your book and the Mouse:
  • Mouse has an entire chapter on template solutions; M&M does not mention them.
  • Mouse has a chapter on searching; M&M does not.
  • Mouse has extensive coverage and explanations of HTTP; M&M does not.
  • Mouse has an entire chapter on; M&M's coverage is not nearly as complete.
  • Mouse has a detailed chapter on JavaScript with some concrete uses: form validation, data exchange, and bookmarklets; M&M doesn't even mention JavaScript.
  • Mouse has useful and full chapters on debugging, coding and architecture guidelines, efficiency and optimization. These are all very valuable subjects that M&M either leaves out entirely or addresses in much less detail.
You cover tied variables, Mason, and click tracking in more depth than the Mouse. These are all fairly useful, but not nearly as useful as the things you ommitted entirely (e.g. templates, efficiency).
Do the books seem to go after different audiences?
Yes, I think that clearly the books target different audiences, and I said that very specifically in my post. Here it is again: In short, the book is much more vocational than educational. Need to hack up some code fast? This book will help.
Do they compliment each other?
IMHO no they don't, and I think this was explicit too. I refer to the Mouse book constantly, and today is the first time I've opened yours since I made the original post.
You say you wouldn't recommend this to anyone, but really haven't given any good (IMO), reason as to why.
Forgive me for saying so, but as the author your opinion in this matter is highly suspect. You have strong personal and financial motivation to discount any and all arguments against your book. I believe I've made several good ones; you discount them out of turn. That's your right as a human, but has absolutely no bearing on whether or not my points are valid.
Because we repeat important concepts like tainting and warnings?
Yes, because you repeat things ad naseum. I think that's a very valid criticism of any technical book. There's obviously a continuum between (e.g.) the Camel book, which is very dense, and a "Perl for Dummies" book which is very repetitive and simple. Your book is closer to the latter, I believe.
Because we cover Mason and not templates?
Yes, that too is a very good reason for criticizing the book. Templates are arguably much more useful and usable (especially to your target audience - Perl and CGI newbies, like me) than Mason.
Because we give code in digestable amounts, and then give detailed explinations of that code?
Again, yes. Your style is very choppy, and I find it distracting, not helpful. There are thousands of programming books on the shelves, and IMHO nearly all the ones I've seen them do a better job at mixing code and commentary than yours.
Because you don't know what is one the cover?
Repeat - this was clearly not meant seriously. If you missed my winky emoticon - ;) - then I apologize.
If you do not, and you simply didn't enjoy or 'get' the book, keep in mind that others may.
And still others may not, for the same reasons I listed. What did I actually say? ...I wouldn't recommend it to anyone. That's a demonstrably true statement, backed up by concrete examples. I don't mind for you or anyone else to disagree, but to imply that it's somehow inappropriate for me to air opposing views is sad. If your book can't stand on its own to some criticism then it's very weak indeed.
man with no legs, inc.
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Re: Re: Re: Re: Matt's Script Archive Strikes Again!
by $code or die (Deacon) on Jul 29, 2001 at 06:18 UTC
    Sorry, but I think this is very sad.

    I have to agree with KM that your problems with the book are "subjective" and that basically it didn't live up to your "expectations". This doesn't make it a bad book. It just isn't a book for you. I just hope that others weren't unduly swayed by reading your post and that they'll make up their own mind.

    Personally, I don't think that your original post was a "bashing" but your responses to KM have been insulting at best. If you are for free speech then you have to allow KM the right to reply. But I think that you should take the rest of this discussion to a private arena.

    Error: Keyboard not attached. Press F1 to continue.
Re: Re: Re: Re: Matt's Script Archive Strikes Again!
by KM (Priest) on Jul 30, 2001 at 01:10 UTC
    Sorry, but after your first comments on my understanding of the English (speaking of which, I invited you to email *me* with your gripes, which you must have misunderstood as "start a flamefest on Perl Monks") language, and on emoticons I decided that the rest of whatever you were to say would also be dribble. Sorry you wasted the time to type it.

    I do agree with $code_or_die that this should be taken offline. Feel free to email me if you can give constructive comments in a non-juvenile fashion. Some may be valid, and I would listen to them, but I can't concern myself with you if this is how you do it.

    Sorry folks for this thread even happening.


      It may be many years since then but i happen to drop by. I am by no means an expert in computer but based on your arguments however i can say legless albeit abrasive in his tone has made his point clear which sadly your ego for your book has impeded you from accepting with a broad mind. To $code or die, there should be nothing sad for someone like legless to have done his research and presented his view openly. "I have to agree with KM that your problems with the book are "subjective" and that basically it didn't live up to your "expectations". This doesn't make it a bad book. It just isn't a book for you. I just hope that others weren't unduly swayed by reading your post and that they'll make up their own mind." He had stressed many times his point, that it was his point and that "I (HE) would not reccomned this book to anyone" AS you believe, he has his subjective evaluation and thus it is only right he does not recomment the book himself to anyone. Credibility of the readers is up to the point system raised by the writer. He had not only produced strong examples and detailed explanation to support the basis of his case but to the point of having referred better examples. It is not your place nor KM to silence his opinion to the readers albeit that they do not take it for granted and do their own research. Again, he may have done in it a sarcastic voice to KM otherwise not much better off reply but he at least had his points and did not strike below the belt by putting someone down in terms of english "Sorry, but after your first comments on my understanding of the English (speaking of which, I invited you to email *me* with your gripes, which you must have misunderstood as "start a flamefest on Perl Monks") language" Since when does one dictate what or what not a critic can do. This only shows aversion to the main issue regarding as to why the book is not perfect. The lack of humour regarding emoticons clearly regard how you take his comments negatively rather than constructively to consider it as constructive critiscm. From the very beginning you stressed he gave pointless and unsupported arguments but when he does you resort to dissing him for talking in a juvenile method. Is his matter of speech or the book in concern here? Its a dirty trick to get back at somebody in such a uncouth eye for an eye manner without logical reasoning when you cant discuss it out knowledgeably. Almost akin to a child striking back at a monitor for setting him in detention. "I do agree with $code_or_die that this should be taken offline. Feel free to email me if you can give constructive comments in a non-juvenile fashion. Some may be valid, and I would listen to them, but I can't concern myself with you if this is how you do it." If it should be taken offline, it shouldn have been initiated with insults from your side from the very beginning. Most importantly, if you were not going to dignify his research and carefully planned explanation, where else does he turn to. You were never intending to concern yourself beyong the mortal insult of an emoticon and you have indeed exhibited "cherry picking" behaviour by not answering him in a knowledgeable way as one who would want to improve on his book. Sure enough writing a book is a pride and takes lot of efforts as such as how iv written my own math book after 3 years of compiling notes and questions and still going on but if you were sincerely in the pursuit of knowledge, spiting a person rather than answering his point is so below you. It may be an ant, but even the ancients relied on them for water in hot weathers; It may be an old horse, but they similarly use them to navigate the way home. Lastly it may be an abrasive but factually informed man, but its stupid to ignore him simply because you cant accept his points presented in a way you find offensive when you yourself have not been the soul of courtesy. Simply because another individual as $code_or_die agree with you WITHOUT LOGICAL EXPLANATION OR RESEARCH LAID OUT, i hardly find it something to crow about and diss someone who took the effort to read up your book and constructively critiscise it. If you ever intend to do things for the welfare of this forum, don try to silence a person presenting a true view, rather face it like a man with knowledge than sophistry and spite. It may seem rather busybody of me, but i jus happen to drop by and i just find the injustice of so many years which you probably may not read intolerable and had to get it out of my system. Let the only sorry for this post be the dark attempt of man to avert his eyes from what he fears. Thank you, Kevin

        Thank you, Kevin

        Kevin? Kevin_Raymer?? ... where have you been hiding? Why the anonymous posting? And on such an old thread ... tsk tsk .. you're slipping.


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