Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Just out: my DevX article on Semantic Web, Sesame with Java and JRuby

I just noticed that my latest article on the Semantic Web has just been posted to DevX. This is a short article, dealing mostly how to use the Sesame library with Java and JRuby with some background material on RDF/RDFS (using N-triple and N3). One interesting thing that I do not really cover in the article, but include code for with the ZIP file for the article, is that I produced the sample RDF data using Open Calais. Enjoy :-)

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Wanted: authors for my 'virtual publishing' business

My wife Carol and I are starting a virtual publishing business. We are seeking a few authors to work with.

Carol is a world class editor and I am going to help authors with book content planning, technical editing, and marketing. We are aiming for the niche book market. I have noticed that the large book chains now have very little shelf space devoted to computer books. With fewer books sold through the major book store chains, instant on demand printing is looking more attractive since print on demand books can still be purchased from Amazon and directly from the printer. Additionally, traditional publishers must consider the size of market for any proposed book project to offset their high overhead per book while the cost is relatively constant for instant printing.

We are planning on flipping the royalty split differently than traditional publishers: authors will get most of the profit from each book sold. The profit from on demand printed books will probably be around $10 to $15 per book. Compare this to a few dollars per book that publishers usually pay in royalties.

I believe that both authors and my wife and I can make sufficient profit from niche market books to make this profitable. I am about 1/3 done with my first book that we will publish ("Practical Artificial Intelligence Programming in Java, third edition") and I have done some work on writing example programs for a work in progress ("Practical Semantic Web Programming in Java").

My advice to people wanting to write a book: if the topic is more "mass market", then I would recommend going with a traditional publisher. I have had 14 books published and with only one exception, every publisher that I have worked with has been great. However, many of us have a real passion for specific subjects that are more niche or small market: here I believe it is better to write what you have real passion for, and hope that the higher profit per book sold makes print on demand work financially.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

New version of my KBtextmaster NLP library is available

I just released a new version of my KBtextmaster Natural Language Processing (NLP) Java library. Free for non-commercial use, with a small fee for commercial use. Should also work fine with JRuby :-)

Friday, August 08, 2008

More use of Eclipse and Mylyn: new book project using Latex

Except for Ruby and Rails (where I use a combination of NetBeans and TextMate) I am switching over just about all of my projects to Eclipse and Mylyn because of Mylyn's task management functionality: if you have not given Mylin a try, please do :-)

I am working on the 3rd edition of my Java AI book and I set up Eclipse with TeXlipse today. Now, I have always liked using TeXShop on my Mac, and I still really like TeXSHop but the ability to have my book code examples and my Latex files in one working environment with Mylin task management makes it well worth the effort to switch setups.

Saturday, August 02, 2008

Eclipse Mylyn: a show-changer?

I have been using Netbeans this year for most Java, Ruby, and Ruby on Rails development. Except for Ruby on Rails development, I think that I may switch back to Eclipse because of the Mylyn sub-project. I blogged about Mylyn a year and half ago (when it was called Mylar) and I recently gave the latest versions of Eclipse and Mylyn another try with Java, plain Ruby, and plain Python projects.

Mylyn treats tasks as first class objects that aggregate developer experience with specific source files, emails, web sites visited, bug tracking systems, etc. In the simplest use, you create tasks and let Eclipse know which task that you are working on. Mylyn remembers which files you edit, etc. and only shows you working material that you use most for the current task. You can easily switch back to a "show me everything" mode. Switching tasks immediately changes Eclipse to show you only the working materials for the newly selected task.

As a developer it feels very comfortable to see just what you need as you switch tasks. I like to turn off email and the telephone during development to reduce distractions. Having an IDE hide everything but the working material for the task at hand also helps to stay focused. Cool stuff!