As an O’Reilly editor, I’m always trying to look for information related to what readers think about our book offerings. Generally, I try to point readers at existing books, illustrate how their questions are often already answered in print, and in general expand awareness of existing O’Reilly titles.
As an O’Reilly author, though, I have a bit of a different approach. I look for holes in our offerings, and try to find interesting topics that are yet to be covered, and then write on those topics, or (back to editing mode) find someone else to.
One of the big topics these days, and one I’m pretty active in, is the J2EE space. It’s interesting to note that there are literally hundreds of books available, in production, in process, or in some other form of “in” right now. What I’m curious about is that with all that “coverage”, there still seems to be very little going on in the way of true saturation of that space. In other words, there still aren’t books that answer even simple questions.
Perusing the O’Reilly catalog, I see the various J2EE API books (Java Servlet Programming, JavaServer Pages, Java and XML, etc.), and lately some more practical books (the Building Java Enterprise Applications series, for example). I also know that people are desparately clamoring for patterns books (what is the Visitor pattern, et. al.), and even some server-specific books (jBoss, for example). So while there are all these books, there seem to be very few answers. I’m curious as to what others think… what voids are still out there?
Let me know… your comments are welcome, and hey, they go straight to the source for good content :-)