With two chapters completed (in first draft form), it’s time to think about the future. This includes both the next chapter and, of course, the rest of the book as well.
First, the bad news. At my current writing speed, Windows Phone Book will be done in about two years. :) That is clearly unacceptable. And my goal is to finish this by early 2013 so I can move on to other books like this one, but shorter. (Surface?) So I’ll need to step it up.
Part of that involves writing more regularly—I really should be writing some of this book almost every day, a schedule I keep meaning to adhere to eventually—but I can also cheat a bit, and get some of the shorter chapters out of the way first. So I may do a few of those just to burn through the chapter list (or TOC, as we call it.) As a reminder, it looks like so at the moment:
1. Why Windows Phone?
2. Choosing the Right Handset
3. Windows Phone and Accounts
4. Migrating from Android or iOS
Understanding Your New Phone
5. Metro: The Windows Phone User Experience
6. Personalizing Windows Phone
7. Sharing with Others
More Than a Phone
8. People (and Me?)
9. Phone, Skype and VoIP
11. Bing Search and Maps
13. Windows Phone Store and the Apps Ecosystem
16. Internet Explorer
17. Office + OneNote
18. Windows Phone Utility Apps
Entertainment Apps and Games
19. Music + Videos
20. Pictures + Camera
22. Windows Phone for Kids (Parental Controls)
Taking It to the Next Level
23. Integrating with PCs and devices
24. Security and Networking
25. Windows Phone at Work: Business Features
The other thing to consider is that we are, at this writing, one week away from the official launch of Windows Phone 8. I expect to have at least three Windows Phone handsets shortly, and while I’ve been creaking along here with a leaked version of the Windows Phone 8 SDK and its emulator, and my own internally-sourced info about the product, things are obviously going to change somewhat when everything goes legit. I’ve been holding back about a few things, but I know that once the launch event happens—yes, I’m going—you’ll be even more excited about Windows Phone 8 than you are now.
Anyway, the next chapter.
Ideally, it satisfies two qualifications. First, it must be an existing Windows Phone feature that has changed little, if at all, since Windows Phone 7.x. That way I can write about it now with no worries. Second, it should be relatively short topic. I’d like this one to come in well under the 40-45 pages (in Word, including figures) of the first two chapters I’ve written.
So which topics qualify?
Chapter 3, Windows Phone and Accounts works on length, but because the account types are getting changed around and I want to experience the first-boot experience on a new device, I will hold off on that one.
Chapter 7, Sharing with Others also works on length, but with all the new sharing capabilities like Rooms, it’s best to hold off.
Chapter 10, Messaging looks ideal. It’s a short topic and the new stuff isn’t much of a jump. It supports the same services as in 7.x—SMS, MMS, Messenger and Facebook Chat—and only includes a few additions, like location sharing, and mostly subtle improvements to existing features.
And that’s about it. The rest is very heavy on new material.
So Messaging it is.
Finally, I’d like to also to discuss any idea about how the pre-release versions of the book can be bundled going forward. While I will continue to publish chapter versions as they are written (Calendar 0.2, Calendar 0.3, and so on), once this third chapter is complete, I’ll also be concurrently publishing a separate document, Windows Phone Book, that will include all of the completed chapters so far, plus placeholders for the rest, in a single document. So we’ll have documents such as Windows Phone Book 0.01, Windows Phone Book 0.02, and so on. That way, those who just want the latest version of the current chapter can continue to get that, while those that want a bigger picture of the full book can get that too.
I think it makes sense to hold off on that until this third chapter is done. But I may just get excited and start working on it earlier. We’ll see how that goes.
Next up, Chapter 10, Messaging.