Charles Petzold


June 10, 2006
Roscoe, NY

Back in the old days, book authors received pages of "galley proofs" (named after the frames of metal type using in printing) that offered a last chance to correct errors before the book was published. Because setting and resetting type involved a lot of labor, authors were discouraged from making many changes, particularly those that would spill over onto the next page. Book contracts included clauses that stipulated how much money an author would have to pay for changes to the galleys that required resetting whole pages.

These days, authors receive PDF files that resemble the actual book pages. These PDF files are exciting because finally the manuscript is looking like a real book. But they're also scary, because they represent the last chance for the author to indicate any corrections or changes that have to be made. Changes to the PDF files don't require resetting metal type, but extensive changes are still discouraged because labor is required to repaginate the chapter.

The Project Editor for Applications = Code + Markup began sending me PDF files in early April, but I ignored them, patiently waiting for a newer release of WinFX. That came in late May, and I decided that would probably be the last major release I'd see before I'd have to finalize the book. It was time to tackle the PDF files. By that time I had received the PDFs for the first 20 chapters of the book.

For each PDF I review, I describe necessary changes in an email to my Project Editor with descriptions like this:

Many of these changes are just for clarity; some correct errors that have sneaked past us in previous passes. And sometimes some major surgery is required. This was the case with Chapter 17 ("Printing"), which had sample programs that used the PageSetupDialog, a class that disappeared between the February CTP and the May release. It wasn't just a matter of eliminating all references to the thing. I really needed a dialog box to set printing margins (it shows up in XAML Cruncher, for example), so I added one of my own to this chapter.

The Table of Contents on the Applications = Code + Markup page now includes "Pages Reviewed" dates that indicate my progress in reviewing the PDF files. Yes, I'm still working on some of the later chapters, but the book is definitely coming together. It's been a lot of hard work (and still more to go), but I'm really proud of all the good stuff I've been able to get in there. This is a damn fine book, if I do say so myself.