Matt Wade is an editor in the open source line at Apress. As an editor, he's had the priviledge to work on titles such as Beginning GIMP and Pro PHP XML and Web Services. He's also a freelance web developer, database analyst, and all around technology junkie. Matt lives in Jacksonville, FL with his wife and three children. You can find some of his musing at opensource.apress.com.
I recently interviewed Joshua Smith, the author of Practical OCaml. During the course of our discussion, he brought up his editor and experience with Apress. So, I decided to take a couple of minutes to talk to Matt as well. Here's what we talked about:
What made you decide the time was right for a functional programming book? And an OCaml book specificly?
Deciding what to publish on and what not to publish on is a bit of a tricky process. Sure, there are places where you know you'll be publishing: PHP, .NET, MySQL, Oracle, etc. The key to success in publishing though is to find that gem in the rough that is on the verge of making waves. Functional programming has seen a rise in popularity over the past year or so. OCaml is one of the forerunners in that popularity. The rise of F# popularity is another item that tells up that functional programming is on the rise. Given those factors and a bit of a 'gut' feeling, we thought it would be a good time to publish on OCaml.
What will it take to see another OCaml book from Apress?
Buy this one and ask all your friends to buy it as well :). Seriously, publishers are here to make money. Sure, we love to publish books on great technology and enjoy knowing that people can learn and further their careers from the books we publish, but when it comes to push and shove we need to make a profit from a book. If we find that publishing in the OCaml space does that for us, we will certainly continue doing so.
What about a book on another functional language (like Haskell)?
We are actively looking at other functional languages and considering them for publication. James Huddleston, another editor at Apress, has brought on Robert Pickering to write 'Foundations of F#' for us. You can find more information about that book at its page on the Apress website. It's expected to publish early next year. James and I would love to look over any proposals for function programming books. If you'd like to pitch an idea to us, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
To you, what's the best thing about OCaml?
I think one of the best things about OCaml, when compared to other functional languages, is the libraries available. I hate reinventing the wheel! OCaml has a huge number of libraries available to cover just about anything you'd want to do and they are all easily found.
Why the average non-OCaml programmer pick up a copy of this book?
Pick up this book if you want to learn how to program a functional language. You'll find a variety of practical projects that you can apply immediately to help you create your own applications. Personally, I find programming books that have nothing but academic examples boring and tedious. I want practical, real world examples that I can put to use. This book offers that.
(Look for my interview with Joshua on Friday.)