Monday, August 30, 2021

Creating Cross-platform C# Applications with Uno Platform

That sounds like a good name for a book. Doesn't it? ;)

And it is.

Book cover: Creating Cross-platform C# Applications with Uno Platform

I know that when I finished my first book I made a specific point of calling it "my book and not my first book."

Save your judgment.

Like most writers, after finishing my first book, I wasn't in a hurry to ever write anything again.

But things, and times, change.

While I wasn't in a hurry to write another book I was still using writing as a way to communicate and pass on information.

Last year, I realized there were specific things I didn't know about the writing process and set out to understand them better. I wanted to learn so I could be a better writer and communicate more effectively. So, I spent much of the first pandemic lockdown reading books about writing, watching videos about writing, listening to podcasts about writing, and attending online workshops about writing.

Fast forward to earlier this year, and I was approached about writing a book about Uno Platform.

I wasn't in a position to write a whole book but the publisher called my bluff and agreed to me becoming a contributor to one. I figured I could write four chapters of a book and learn more about the process that would help me with my own future self-publishing plans. (More details of these at another time.) It would also be a way to test if I could apply what I'd been learning.

When it suits me, I can be quite assertive and I had strong ideas about what this book should and shouldn't be. I was keen that if I was writing the book, it would be distinctive. There's no point in me doing what just anyone could do. I wanted to make this my own. (Well the chapters I was writing, at least.)

When it comes to technical books there is a convention that over the course of the book the reader will build a basic app and each chapter will add to it as a way to learn about and demonstrate, a new feature or area of functionality. I didn't want to do this and my reasoning is threefold:

  1. I didn't want it to be like every other book. 
  2. I'm not a fan of this convention as it tends to strong-arm features into an app in an unnatural way. I knew trying to do something I'm not a fan of would be frustrating and as writing a book is already a slow, hard, frustrating process this wouldn't be good for my sanity or motivation.
    (I mean no offense to people who write such books. I have great respect for you as you're doing something I can't.)
  3. Most importantly, it didn't fit the subject. 
    Uno Platform enables the creation of an app that can be compiled for multiple platforms but the number of cases where it is appropriate to have the same app run on all those platforms is very small. Instead, I thought it more appropriate to show how Uno Platform can be used to create apps for a number of different scenarios that demonstrated appropriate features running on appropriate devices/platforms.
So, instead of a book that walks you through building one app over the course of many chapters, this book shows how to create multiple apps, one per chapter. The goal is to show how Uno Platform could be used within an organization that needs to build lots of different kinds of apps (both internal and public-facing.) My hope is that when you see the organization we use, and the variety of the apps of apps we create there will be something you can relate to and is comparable with the apps you are considering building.

The book attempts to answer the question "Can I use Uno Platform to build the apps I need to?"
Obviously, there's some theory and an explanation of when and why you would use Uno Platform, but my hope is that by showing how Uno Platform can be used to build some very different apps, that run on different devices (mobile, desktop, and web) you'll see where and how you could be using Uno Platform too.

Is this ambitious for a short, introductory book?
Will I learn that all those other books only build one simple app because it's better for the reader than building many apps?
Will everyone involved have the same vision for the book as me?
You'll have to buy it to find out.


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