One Book Out, One in the Hopper

After seven long months of writing, reading, coding, and learning, learning, learning, I finally have something to show for it. Jonathan Chaffer and I just had our first book published. When we started back in December, the goal was to write a single book of roughly 250 pages. Somewhere along the way, however, we got a little carried away and ended up writing so much that the publisher decided to split it into two books—a 380-page tutorial and an approximately 300-page reference.

The tutorial, titled Learning jQuery: Better Interaction Design and Web Development with Simple JavaScript Techniques, was officially published a couple weeks ago and is now available on the Packt Publishing web site and at Because it’s such a niche product, I doubt you’ll be able to pick it up at your local Barnes & Noble.

The second book has the tentative title, jQuery Reference Guide: A Comprehensive Exploration of the Popular JavaScript Library. We just have to look over the final proofs of a few chapters before it goes to the printer, so we’re hopeful that this one will be out sometime in August.

jQuery: write less, do more
Devo Freedom of Choice

The publisher even let me take a picture for the cover. If you don’t know anything about jQuery (and even if you do), you might wonder why I would squander the opportunity for a cover photo on a stack of dumbbell weights in the sand. Well, the weights mirror the shape of the jQuery logo, which is derived from the Devo energy dome. Also, in the book we refer to jQuery “doing the heavy lifting” for certain programming tasks. I took a few shots of the weights in my house, too, but the publisher liked the ones at the Lake Michigan beach better. This photo was taken in Holland, Michigan, right down the steps from my parents-in-law’s cottage.

This whole process has been a wonderful learning experience for me, and I’m finally letting myself feel some sense of accomplishment. I must say, though, that it will be very nice to have a little time for other things again. (By the way, my wife, who knows me better than I know myself, laughs at this notion, fully expecting to find me immersed in some new project before too long.)

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21 Responses to One Book Out, One in the Hopper

  1. julian and nicole says:

    Rock on, Swedish mountain! We’re super proud of you! Don’t think for a minute we won’t make you sign our copy! Congrats on all you hard work!
    We love you!

  2. Virginia Wieringa says:

    Silly me! I haven’t been checking English rules for a while and look what happened! Good for you! How exciting to get a photo credit too! There’s your name right on the front! I know this has been a long haul, but how satisfying! I read the description on Amazon and my eyes started to glaze over- I don’t know how you understand all that.

  3. michelle deboer says:

    A huge congratulations, Karl! A published author. Now that has a nice ring to it!

  4. Debbi says:

    Congrats Karl! We are very proud of you! Of course, the whole topic is Greek to me, but I love the photo on the cover and the symbolism behind it. We are looking forward to more great things from you!

  5. Dad says:

    I just tried to buy a copy of your book, and was told that the first printing is sold out!! Wow, you must be thrilled.

  6. Way to go, Karl! I’m looking forward to getting my copy of each book. I love the cover, too…maybe you should call the next book “Whip It” and keep it all in the Devo family.

  7. Karl says:

    Thanks, everyone, for your congratulatory notes. It’s great to have such supportive friends and family. Dad, where did you try to buy the book? I looked at and, and they both appeared to have it in stock. I even put the book in my “shopping cart” at amazon, and it seemed to work just fine.

  8. Dad says:

    Hmmm….. in retrospect, maybe that wasn’t such a good joke, after all.

  9. Karl says:

    Well, you totally fooled me. Wow, I’m so gullible!

  10. Dad says:

    Seriously, everyone, I can testify to the fact that Packt still has a few copies left. Buy now, so as not to be left out!

  11. Diane says:

    So proud of you, Karl!

  12. tammy says:

    oh karl, this is so exciting, you smarty-pants, you…..i fancy that i will buy your book and learn something new and exciting, but fear that what would really happen is i would just stare a lot at the cool cover. i like the creativity in designing your cover photograph. hmmmmm… smart AND artsy, too. you really do have it all! my warmest congratulations on this accomplishment.

  13. camille says:

    It’s you and Ms. Rowling competing for the top spot on the NYT list this week! I know how hers ends so I’ll spend the weekend reading your instead. Really….Congratulations. You should be so very proud of yourself. It wasn’t an easy thing that you just accomplished and we are happy to share the thrill with you.

  14. Darl says:

    Way to go Karl !!! Congratulations. Sara is right you know… what will be next? I am going to test my IT staff with your book to see if they can hold a candle to you!!!

  15. Ryan says:

    Wow, way to put West Michigan on the map. As a Devo fan and Grand Rapids based web designer/developer – I salute you! Congrats on the book!

  16. Haijin Choi says:

    Big congrats! Hope the rest of this summer is stress free!

  17. Kevin & Xtina says:

    Congrats, Karl! I would totally read the book if I thought I had a use for jQuery. I can’t wait to see what your next project will be. Have a great summer; we’ll be back in Grand Rapids sometime in the near future, I promise.

  18. AJP says:

    Heyo. The book is great stuff. It was great to see you this weekend. We’ll have to catch up again sometime soon.

  19. Karl says:

    You’re all making me blush. Thanks again for all the support.
    Camille, did you really read Harry Potter before you were allowed to sell it?
    Ryan, thanks for stopping by! Wow, your site is impressive; looks you’ve been doing some cartography of your own. We should meet up some time for lunch, since we apparently work three blocks from each other.
    Kevin, looking forward to seeing you when you’re back in town.
    AJ, it was great to see you, too. Let’s definitely get together again soon. I’m sure we’ll have plenty of geeky stuff we can talk about.
    Cheers, everyone.

  20. camille deboer says:

    Just the end-I really wanted to know what happened :)

  21. Dazzler says:

    Yours is 35,000 in amazon’s book rankings, but mine is something like 400,000! I guess books about Devo-inspired computer software beat religion and politics. You have inspired me to come out with that new edition, if only to compete with the neighbors, where the grass is always greener………

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