OSTraining's 2018 Preview

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OSTraining's 2018 Preview: Always Bet on Text

Happy New Year, everyone.

For me personally, this month marks 7 years of OSTraining and 10 years of doing online training full-time.

That's long enough to have been through a few cycles.

2017 was a relatively quiet year. There were almost no major releases. WordPress, Drupal, Joomla, Magento, Bootstrap - none of them had a blockbuster release last year.

That's all about to change in 2018.

This year, a ton of changes are coming to your favorite platforms:

  • WordPress is going to introduce Gutenberg, and then start implementing similar changes at the theme level.
  • Joomla plans to release Joomla 4.
  • Drupal will have a new default theme and content, a new media manager, new layout options and much more.
  • Bootstrap 4 is coming in the next few weeks.
  • Everyone is moving to React.

Everyone's going to have a busy year:

  • Developers will update a lot of code.
  • Site builders will need to learn new techniques.
  • Customers must adjust to very different interfaces.
  • Training companies have to update most of their tutorials.

We're going to write more books

To move quickly in 2018, we've decided to write more.

"I like me some illustrations, photos, movies and music. But text wins by a mile. Text is everything. My thoughts on this are quite absolute: text is the most powerful, useful, effective communication technology ever, period."

That quote is from "Always bet on text", a brilliant article by Graydon Hoare.

Most of OSTraining material is still done in videos, but they have some serious limitations: 

  • A single video can take at least an hour to reshoot (often much longer if it requires a complex setup).
  • Editing and production requires at least another hour per video.
  • After the filming and editing, the videos still need proofing and re-shoots to correct any errors.

So, a class with 40 videos can easily take 100+ hours to update. Going a step further, video has more serious limitations:

  • Videos can't be easily searched.
  • Videos can't be easily translated.
  • Videos can't be easily edited by a collaborative team.

I love video and we know that many of you love learning from videos. But it's not always enough by itself.

Writing books is now easy and fun!

Have you ever written a book for a publisher?

The experience is terrible, slow and unprofitable. Most authors write one book and then run away forever.

For years, we worked with a traditional publisher. The staff were wonderful but the process was awful. Each chapter was written via hundreds of Word documents. The conversations would go something like this:

  • "You're editing Chapter 3? Do you have the file called Chapter3_DTSB_x5687$r.05?"
  • "No, I've spent a week doing changes to a file called Chapter3_DTSB_x5687$r.03. Ouch, what do we do now?"
  • "Can you compare all the documents line-by-line and add all your updates?"
  • "Arrggghhhh!"

No joking, it would often take three years to write a single book.

In 2017, we stumbled across the idea of writing and publishing books with WordPress.

With WordPress?

Yes, it was a revelation, particularly thanks to a service called Pressbooks. Check out this interview with Pressbooks.

Instead of publishing one book every three years, we published seven books in one year:

  1. Drupal 8 Explained
  2. Drupal 7 Explained
  3. Joomla 3 Explained
  4. Multilingual Joomla Explained
  5. WordPress Explained
  6. WooCommerce Explained
  7. Magento Explained

Some more book announcements to start 2018

Let's start 2018 in the right way by announcing two new books!

First up is "Genesis Explained" by Nick Croft. Genesis is a very popular, premium framework for WordPress. Genesis launched in 2010 and kickstarted the premium theme market in WordPress. Genesis is still the market leader in many ways and is the choice of many serious WordPress developers. Nick worked for the Genesis team and really knows the framework inside and out.

Genesis Explained

Second is "Bootstrap 4 Explained" by Jen Kramer. Bootstrap 4 is due to go stable in the next few weeks. Jen is filming a video class and writing a book on Bootstrap 4. This will be a really fun and useful introduction to the world's most popular CSS framework.

Bootstrap 4

If you want to see what else is coming, check out all the books on the roadmap. We're not forgetting our roots in video, but 2018 will be a year we bet on video and text.

Our goals for the year are short:

  1. Help you (our members and readers) navigate all the changes in 2018.
  2. Publish at least 12 books in 2018.

Here’s to a great 2018! I’d love to hear what you think! Are you excited or nervous for all the big changes coming this year?


About the author

Steve is the founder of OSTraining. Originally from the UK, he now lives in Sarasota in the USA. Steve's work straddles the line between teaching and web development.