Perl training materials or even books?

As I wrote more than a month ago I am making some adjustments to the way I make a living. Earlier I was mostly doing on-site development work and training classes.

I definitely want to keep the training classes. I enjoy them very much. It is great to see people learning new skills and I am always happy to be part of that learning experience. I even want to offer further classes around the world. Together with YAPC, Perl Workshop or stand-alone. It was very encouraging to know that at YAPC::EU in Riga my Perl Testing class had the biggest number of attendees.

In the same vein I was thinking how to further help people in the Perl world. Both those who are already using the language and those who are just learning it.

The Perl Weekly fit this idea nicely as it allows people who don't have enough time to follow all the Perl related news to read just the few pieces I think are the most important each week.

This is nice and I enjoy preparing it but it does not bring any revenue. I can imagine at some point a company might want to include its job postings or promote a product to the Perl community, but it's not there yet.

Perl training materials

For many years I couldn't decide what to do with my Perl training materials.

I mean besides using them in classes.

Most of them are slides with lots of examples and many exercises. Some of them even have part of the narrative added as plain text.

At one point I shared the content of both my Fundamentals of Perl and QA Test Automation using Perl courses.

I wanted to share the material with people who could not come to my class. Later I learned that a local company has taken my material and is probably using it in their own classes. That made me stop updating the on-line version of the materials in 2007 or so.

That brings me to the idea of packaging and selling these materials in pdf or some other electronic format. Maybe even as real printed books.

All of the materials will need a lot of additional text - everything I'd normally say in the class - but I think they could be really useful for people who want to learn these subjects.

Besides the above two courses I also have materials for

  • Debugging Perl Scripts and Applications
  • Web Application Development with Perl
  • Advanced Perl (OOP) including Moose
and other Perl-related subjects.

I even have material for Regular Expressions for Java, .NET and Perl programmers.

Questions

There are a number of open questions though:

  • Which material to start with?
  • What other subject, not mentioned above might be interesting?
  • Should I start selling only after all of the slides have the narrative or shall I start selling right now with the option to get updated version of the same material as write it?
  • Should I keep the old material still around on my website with ample warnings that it is out-of-date and using it to direct people to the new version?
  • Should I maybe make the newest slides available without the narrative and sell the version with the text?
  • Should I just forget the whole idea and reserve the materials for paying students?

I'd appreciate reading your opinion in the comments!

Published on 2011-08-30 by Gabor Szabo
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