[Python-authors] Introduction and a Question

Doug Hellmann doug.hellmann at gmail.com
Thu Dec 17 21:14:24 CET 2009

On Dec 17, 2009, at 1:19 PM, Marty Alchin wrote:

> One of the main questions I find myself asking, though, is how much
> should I repeat from other works? I don't want to rewrite the wheel,
> but I'm having trouble drawing the line. For example, chapter 2 of Pro
> Django covered my Python features, focusing mostly on decorators and
> metaclasses. I obviously want to cover those same topics in Pro
> Python, but I tried very hard to expand on them in much greater
> detail--particularly with regard to the examples--so that it wasn't a
> direct copy. I also included a really basic plugin framework I wrote
> up on my blog a couple years ago, with some added features and a whole
> new write-up.
> The frustrating thing about doing this is that I feel like I'm torn
> between copying something that's already available and throwing away
> something that's really good. Neither of them seems like a good way to
> go, so the answer must be somewhere in the middle, but I'm having a
> lot of trouble finding it. Is it enough to rewrite the description of
> a piece of code, so that it's perhaps more clear or more relevant to
> the audience at hand? Or is the author expected to expand on the code
> itself in some way, offering up some unique value (feature?
> optimization? simplification?) that wasn't available in the original?

I would want more detail about the code, and any bug fixes that you  
have to incorporate.  Of course, if the new book covers more topics  
than the chapter(s) of the old book, you have the potential to use  
some of those extra features and update the code that way, too. If you  
don't have anything new to add to the code you have, you can start  
with an older version and show its evolution into the current form.


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