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Windows Phone Book: The Next Chapter, and Some Thoughts on the Rest of the Book

The goal: Finish the first draft by the end of July

Here’s an early peek at the next chapter-in-progress for Windows Phone, which is about the Windows Phone user experience. Also, with the first draft of the book winding down over the next month and a half, I’d like to explain where things are at in the schedule.

First, the next chapter, which is Chapter 2: The Windows Phone User Experience. This very early version of the chapter includes a rough outline (including some topics that are sort of orphaned from elsewhere and may not make it) plus two “completed” sections, A modern user experience (very short) and Personalization (which is pretty lengthy).

The issue with this chapter is that a lot of it simply won’t fit into the task-based approach I’ve adopted throughout most of the book. There is just some introductory material here (and in Chapter 1) that needs to be written in a fairly straightforward explanatory way. (Actually, the “A modern user experience” section that’s in there now is a good example of that.) I want to keep that stuff at a minimum. But it’s unavoidable.

Download The Windows Phone User Experience 0.1 (16 page PDF, 1.22 MB)

Download Windows Phone Book 0.058 (556 page PDF, 34.5 MB)

With regards to the rest of the book, there are three more chapters that need to be written:

1. Getting Started. This will include information about Microsoft account, choosing a handset, setting up your new phone, and configuring accounts.

2. The Windows Phone User Experience. This is the one I’m currently writing: basic navigation, apps and hubs, and personalization.

18. Windows Phone at Work. The final chapter in the book might get bumped (or “punted” in Microsoft-speak) to the 2nd edition because it’s not clear that it can be done in a clear task-based way. Right now I’ve got notes about topics such as BitLocker, Secure Boot, EAS policies, System Center/Intune/Office 365 integration, app side loading, and micro-SD app installs. It doesn’t seem very cohesive to me, but I’ll hold off on this one until the end.

Additionally, there are two chapters that need to be revised, one heavily. These include:

8. Maps + Location. Split off from Search, this chapter will be rewritten to document Nokia HERE Maps and, to a lesser degree, the other Nokia HERE location apps. This will be a major rewrite/expansion and is almost a new chapter.

16. PC Integration. This one is a minor revision that needs to pull in some content I had written originally for other parts of the book, and it needs to be updated for the latest versions of the Windows Phone 8 sync apps for Windows (desktop and Metro).

At one time I was hoping to finish the first draft of Windows Phone Book—which will be called Paul’s Thurrott’s Guide to Windows Phone 8—by the end of June. But given the date, I’m now shooting for late July. By that time, I’ll provide an update to my plans to distribute the book in non-PDF formats like Kindle, NOOK, ePub, mobi, whatever. But I want to focus on getting the writing done first.

Since I started writing Windows Phone Book last September, you could look at the schedule and decide, rightfully so, that 11 months is a long, long time for a book like this. To be fair, I took some number of months off to write Xbox Music Book (Paul Thurrott’s Guide to Xbox Music) and experiment with the task-based approach using a shorter (mini) book. So the real writing time is closer to 7-8 months. But that’s still too long.

The issue, in part, is that Windows Phone 8 is a huge topic. And it’s bigger even than the space I’ve devoted to it so far, and of course will change over time as various GDRs and then Windows Phone 8.1 are released. These milestones will give me a chance to update this book and test my notions about digitally published content. Hopefully that won’t be as far off as my original estimates for writing the actual book. But if you’ve been following along, this was meant to be a learning process, and it’s certainly been that.

I’ll do some more navel gazing when the first draft is done, and of course I’ve been thinking a lot about the next book, too. More on that soon.

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