An Overdue Update for the Sixth Edition
It has been quite a few months since my last sixth edition update blog post, so here’s the latest.
I had hoped to get the sixth edition out in November, in conjunction with the release of C# 12 and .NET 8. Alas, it has become abundantly clear, these last few weeks, that that won’t be happening.
Where things currently stand, I can’t imagine getting the sixth edition out any earlier than December, and if I’m being realistic, it is probably into 2024.
About a month ago, I realized that I probably couldn’t hit November with the full scope of work that I had hoped for.
Before I go on, it’s worth a brief reminder on what that scope of work includes:
- C# 11 and 12 features.
- Some significant revisions to the first half of Part 2, to make the introduction to object-oriented programming have more impact, clarity, and examples. This is an area I’ve seen be a stumbling block for people, and I believe that I can explain it better than what is in the 5th edition. (With that said, I do think that the 5th edition does a good job. I can just see places where it could be fine-tuned and improved.)
- General smaller improvements throughout the book.
- A substantial improvement to the challenges and storyline. I love that this book has a storyline. Behind the scenes, I have a lot of thoughts on how the programming magic system works, what the Uncoded One really is, and a lot of worldbuilding. Alas, the set of challenges in the fifth edition sometimes feels like you’re spending your time running around doing little minor side quests without the main storyline advancing, and there are a couple of spots where then you also get hit with an “off-screen skip ahead” in the main storyline. I felt this way about it from the beginning, but when readers called it out in the mini-course I ran a year ago, I knew it needed to be fixed.
In truth, the C# 11 and 12 features is only a tiny part of it. #2 and #4, above, are the big ones. They’re coming along, but they take time.
A month ago, it had become clear that achieving all of that by November was not likely. I had a choice in front of me. I needed to pick a path:
- Cut scope and ship it in November (or possibly December). That would almost certainly mean tossing out #4 from the previous list, and some of #3. I’d still get the C# 11 and 12 features in, and the revisions for the first half of Part 2 are already “done,” so they weren’t at risk of being cut either.
- Make a C# 12 expansion (like the existing C# 11 expansion) and push out the 6th edition until next year, when C# 13 and .NET 9 come out. This gives me plenty of time to get it right, but means a long wait for the next “full” release.
- Just keep going with what I’m doing, “stay the course,” and get the sixth edition out as soon as possible, even if that means January or April.
Honestly, I got next to zero feedback on that, and would still be interested in hearing from people.
But since then, we’ve been in crisis mode at work, and I have not had any time to really work on things. That has more or less taken Option #1 off the table, unfortunately. There isn’t a good, practical way to cut scope enough to hit an official release in November, and even December is starting to feel sketchy.
Since I’ve missed the chance to align with the C# 12 release, I’m less interested in trying to cut scope arbitrarily. I’m currently leaning toward Option 3.
If you’ve got any thoughts or preferences around this, I definitely want to hear from you. (Note that Discord is way better for me than email. I do check email regularly, but I’m on Discord nearly all the time, and the means of communication is lighterweight, making it better suited to these types of things.)
So for now, my plan is to proceed with Option #3, and hopefully get an update out within a few months.
The timeline will get clearer as we get closer.
There are plenty of people debating whether to wait for the sixth edition or not. People ask this question in Discord all the time, in fact. So let me point out a few things that may help you make a decision on whether to wait for the sixth edition or go ahead and get the fifth edition.
I’ve been telling people for a while now that if you spend money on the 5th Edition to get the book from me via Gumroad or Amazon, I’ll get you an upgrade to the sixth edition via PDF on Gumroad when it’s available. If you’ve got it on Gumroad, you’ll get an email from me, when the time is right. If you’ve got a print copy from Amazon, there is no automatic way to do it, so you’ll just have to reach out to me, once it is out.
As a bit of a disclaimer, there will be a window of opportunity for this to happen. Perhaps a week, perhaps two. Maybe a month. I can’t promise I’ll be able to honor it six months later.
Anyway, the point is that if you’re on the fence, and are okay with a PDF version, I’d suggest just getting the fifth edition right away. Get started on your adventure. I believe the sixth edition will be better than the fifth, but… it is still mostly the same book. It isn’t something you should wait and wait and wait for. Just jump in and get started, and get the free update when it is available.
If the only thing you’ll tolerate is a print copy, then it is a harder decision, because I can’t just updated a printed copy. :D
However, I feel like the sixth edition is far enough out, and there’s enough uncertainty about dates, that I’d probably say it isn’t worth waiting. You could be completely finished by the time the sixth edition comes out. Again, there’s not a lot of point in delaying your adventure.
With that said, there’s going to be a group of people who are in the middle of other adventures. Perhaps you’re trying to finish a semester of school or are currently going through some Unity tutorials or something. For you people who aren’t quite ready to dive into this, it is reasonable to postpone the decision for a bit, and see what information is available later.
And on that note, I’ll wrap things up by saying stay tuned. I’ll try to post updates on progress and best guesses every couple of weeks or so, from here on out. (And if there isn’t one, and it has been a few weeks, feel free to remind me via Discord. “Hey, RB, you said you’d keep us posted every few weeks, and I don’t see a post in the last few months. What’s your best guess on when the sixth edition will be out, these days?”)
Thank you for coming along with me on this adventure!