Regular readers know that I’ve been working on a Drupal 7 book for beginners. We — meaning Peachpit Press and myself — are now faced with a decision. We could release it before, after, or at the same time as Drupal 7’s release. Each option has its pitfalls. Release it too early, and it might not match the final Drupal 7 software. Too late, and we could lose the “first mover advantage” to another book.
Whatever our decision, we have to provide some date for potential distributors, booksellers, and customers. So we boldly decided we’d try to release it at the same time as Drupal 7 itself — and announced the 24 January 2010 date you currently see on Amazon.
Webchick, when asked when Drupal 7 will be released, always says “When it’s ready”. Neither she nor co-maintainer Dries will set a date at this point, and for good reason: Neither of them are in control of when “ready” will be. Of course they could release it any time they like — in an unready state. That would be bad for everyone who relies on Drupal, wants to switch to Drupal, has built a business around Drupal, who teaches or writes about Drupal… in short, bad for everybody. So their silence is as it should be.
But we, like IT professionals around the globe, still have to make decisions. In our case, we have to guess at Drupal 7’s release date a few months in advance if we’re going to hit that goal of simultaneous release. (Book publishing takes time!) And the sooner we make the decision, the better.
I’d personally love to announce the availability of Drupal 7: Visual QuickStart Guide on the same day as Drupal 7’s own release. But I’m nagged by unknowns. What would it mean if it came out early? What if it came out after a similar book? Which situation is worse?
What do you think?