Here, at the End of All Things

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8-26-2010 by Geoff Coffey

Let me start by saying: “Ouch.” It has been far, far, far too long since our last article. Someone much wiser than me once said something like this: “My only comfort is that I tried. My only regret is that I failed.” I’ll leave it at that.

In short order, I’ll be posting our first new article in over 18 months. But first I thought I’d share a little news. For those who are here for great FileMaker info, feel free to skip ahead. (And let’s be honest, that’s the only reason any of you are here.)

As many of you have noticed, my name is not on the cover of FileMaker Pro 11: The Missing Manual. Since I know a lot of people will ask, here’s the scoop:

I love O’Reilly and we had (have?) a fantastic relationship. I still remember the first O’Reilly book I ever read (The Camel Book), and the awe I felt at its immense quality. It was absolutely an honor to work with a company whose product I respect so much.

It should go without saying, but I love my former co-author, Susan Prosser, who has been a professional associate and personal friend for years. I loved working on the book. The process was hectic, and aggravating, and fun, and wonderful in a million ways.

But writing a book is a labor of love. If you add up all the late nights and killer deadlines and huge work, and divide by the modest revenues, it’s a tough sell. I always considered it worth it because (here comes the honesty) it helped my reputation, helped me sell my services, and was a bit of a thrill. But the calculus has shifted a little. I don’t know how much the book does those things anymore. So when it came time to fire up Microsoft Word (barf) and start in on a revision for 11, I realized I couldn’t justify the stress and life-disruption this time around. This was a personal decision on my part.

In the beginning, I wrote the never-publised FileMaker Pro 7, The Missing Manual over months of long nights. Susan later saved my bacon by revising my manuscript for FileMaker 8 so it could see the light of day. I then had the opportunity to work on revisions for 9 and 10 with Susan. In all, we wrote or revised approaching 3,000 pages, over a thousand screen shots and figures, and a dozen screen casts.

After all that, I would be remiss if I didn’t say this: Thank you.

Thank you to Vince Menanno who convinced me to pursue the project in the first place. Thank you to Tim O’Reilly who blew my mind when he responded personally to the inquiry placed on the O’Reilly web side. Thank you to Susan Prosser who literally saved the book from failure, and made later revisions a joy. Thank you to Stuart Gripman of Crooked Arm Consulting, who ably picked up the reins for FileMaker 11. Thank you to my first editor, David Pogue, who’s early feedback perfectly balanced advice and encouragement. Thank you to Nan Barber, my editor, who made the book much better than it otherwise could have been. Thank you to my family, who surrendered a husband and father to the computer for a few months every couple of years. And thank you to everyone who read the book, especially those of you who left positive feedback on Amazon.com : ).

It is a little sad to watch a big new FileMaker release roll out and not be working on a book. In some ways I miss the crunch, and especially the deep-dive into the minutia of a new release.

Ok, I’m done with all that now. Back to regularly scheduled (Ha!) programming.

Geoff

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