Friday 5 September 2014

Why write a book about Neo4j?

Some of you may have noticed some noise recently about the little book that I wrote: Learning Neo4j. I added a link at the top of this page as well, with some more information. I obviously also wanted to also announce this publication on the blog, but while thinking about it - I thought it would also be interesting to go back and see why I wrote the book - my objectives. Time will tell if I will have achieved all of them - but anyways....

Here we go - in order of descending importance:

  1. I wanted to help the Neo4j community grow. For the past two years, I have had tremendous joy and excitement by working on different Neo4j related projects with community users AND commercial clients. But it has always struck me what a micro-cosmos it is that these "graphistas" work and live in. It seemed at times like I was part of an obscure cult of math-loving programmers with questionable personal hygiene... :) ... haha... But seriously: it's such a niche. The world of Enterprise IT is out there, and if the Neo4j project is to grow, it will need to look to new audiences. Not the astrophysicist with multiple PhD's that dreams Java-code - but the typical, Visual-Basic-loving Enterprise Developer. You will find that there is not a line of Java-code in the book. That is because 1) I don't know how to code, and 2) that was not the intention of the book. Graph Databases need to become easy to learn if they are to grow up.
  2. I thought it would be a cool personal experience. I have always enjoyed writing - it helps me get through the day, basically. Structure my thoughts, reflect on them, and all that. That's why I have a blog :) ... But writing a book is something different. It took me 7.5 months of daily work (sometimes hours at a time, sometimes just a few emails) to get it done - and there is a cool sense of achievement when it "gets done". I liked that a lot. To be honest: I think this is not the last book that I have written.
  3. I wanted to get some personal benefit from it. Whether it's in the form of recognition by the friendly folks at Neo Technology, or in a royalty payment that will pay for a nice Xmas ski-trip, or - and this is my big hope too - because I would be able to sell millions (!) of Euros worth of Neo4j Enterprise software as the result of someone picking up that book (see 1.). 

Those were probably the main reasons. And of course: Michael Hunger stimulating me to do it, and Ian Robinson giving me some pointers and ideas. 

Anyway. There you have it. It's out there, and I hope you like it. If you do - tell other people. If you don't - please tell ME!



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