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Prescriptions, Proscriptions, and Prognostications
To blog, or not to blog?
by Matthew Wilson
April 25, 2008
After having spent the last 15 frustrating months of too-successful consulting that has stolen all my time for writing and most of my time for researching/open-source development, something's got to give! Is blogging the answer to my quandary?


The last year has been one largely of ups for me, and I'm not complaining or taking that for granted. However, it has put the mockers on my attempts to achieve what I'd planned for 07, namely

  1. Finish my next book, Breaking Up The Monolith: Advanced C++ Design without Compromise
  2. Get Pantheios 1.0 completed and out the door, and start working on the 1.1, 1.2, ... 1.5 plans.
  3. Release FastFormat, the (humbly) last, best C++ output/formatting library you'll ever use.
Part of the problem with these activities is that I've been looking for outlets in which to publish the articles and sample chapters, necessary to launch them properly. The publishing world is changing rapidly, in response to the web, and I've realised that I'm a bit of a dinosaur (I like proper journals, articles and paper-in-hand). I just don't know clearly where to direct my C++-specific musings any more.

There've also been significantly fewer sales of my second book, Extended STL, vol 1 (2007), than for my first Imperfect C++ (2004). This puzzled me at first, since Extended STL is significantly better written (in terms of prose style, and my, er, jokes) than Imperfect C++, and also there are no parts of it that I would elide in hindsight, whereas Imperfect C++ could be improved if 5-10% of it were simply removed. But in thinking about it awhile I can't help but note that the number of articles/column entries I've written around the time of publication of the two books is radically different, something like 50:1. I guess if I want to sell books on advanced C++ design to a potential market that is pretty small to start with, I should put more effort into getting the word out.

So, I've decided to get hip to the new reality, and embrace a combination of old and new media as follows:
  1. Articles
    I'll continue to write occasional articles (and will certainly do more in 08 than in 07) on significant items of interest about which I can wait for the publishing lead time. Expect to see introductions to FastFormat, Pantheios (a bit late in that case ...) and flecxx later this year.
  2. Tutorials
    For tutorials about how to use my libraries, I'm going to write small articles on the library websites, and on CodeProject and similar sites.
  3. Blogs
    For things that are small and quick and shouldn't have a long publishing lead time, I'm going to pretend that the world is interested in my every evanescent thought and do more blogging:
  4. Books
    Based on the advice of several venerable C++ authors who've published (and sold!) many more books that me, I've decided to henceforth save all the detailed technological design reasoning, concepts, principles and so forth, for my books and nowhere else. Anyone who cares that much about how a library can be written that is at once extensible, 100% type-safe, portable, discoverable and incredibly efficient can pay $50 (that's $1.5 to me) for the privilege. ;-)

    The first book off the line will be Breaking Up The Monolith, with two more to come in 09/10.
So, if you want to know more from me, feel free to partake in any/all/none of these media forms. Be seeing you!

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About the Blogger

Matthew Wilson is a software development consultant and creator of the FastFormat, Pantheios and STLSoft libraries. He is author of the books Imperfect C++ (Addison-Wesley, October 2004) and Extended STL, volume 1 (Addison-Wesley, 2007), and is currently working on his third, Breaking Up The Monolith: Advanced C++ Design Without Compromise. He has published over 60 articles on C++ and other topics, and has served as columnist and contributing editor for C/C++ Users Journal. Matthew believes that code should be discoverable and largely self-documenting, and lives up to that by being a hopeless documentor. He can be contacted via or

This weblog entry is Copyright © 2008 Matthew Wilson. All rights reserved.

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