Early in the year, I stumbled across a perfect-for-Joel hobby project. It involved making a book; moreover making a book by writing code that I could re-use in later projects; secondarily, a book that some people might find useful; sixth and lastly, a book that somehow didn’t exist yet; thirdly, it could be produced and sold quickly, with few up-front expenses; and in conclusion, it was an opportunity to make progress on some very old experiments of mine in a way that might turn a tiny profit.
I just finished it. It’s called the Dice Word List book, and here is what it looks like:
It’s basically the book I’ve wanted every time I make a password with dice, and it’s not just a printout of the text file—it has some nice touches that make word lookups fast and enjoyable. (The book’s website explains all of this, so I won’t repeat it here.)
Producing this book was a middle doll somewhere inside my endless matryoshka doll of automated book-making; there were further projects inside it, which I describe in more technical detail in this post at The Notepad. Most importantly, I was able to write and publish a scripting library called
bookcover, which gives me a way to create print-ready book covers programmatically, rather than by clicking around in a graphics editor. When I do finally start publishing my sites as books, I’ll be able to do clever things with the covers of those books that I would never have had the patience to do manually.