A while back we released Agile Web Development with Rails as a Beta Book. You bought the book before it was ready, and got to download the PDF as it evolved. Then, when it was finished, you got the final PDF (and lifetime upgrades of that edition of the book). You'd also get the paper book if you ordered the combo pack. It turned out to be a big win-win: folks got early access to the material, and we got great feedback (and used it to deliver a better final book).
I was blown away with the reception the program received, so now we're planning to do it again. Over the next two weeks, we'll be announcing two new beta books:
Pragmatic Ajax by Justin Gehtland, Ben Galbraith, and Dion Almaer, is a short but deep book on Ajax, covering both the theory and the real-world practice of Ajaxifying your web applications. It isn't Rails specific: it'll cover Java and .NET architectures too.
- Enterprise Integration with Ruby by Maik Schmidt, is a look at the way you can use Ruby to glue together an enterprise's data and applications. It's a practical book on solving real-world problems that pop up every day in a corporate environment.
I'm excited to see these things coming together. The Beta Books and the Fridays are interesting experiments in getting material out there quicker and with more community involvement. Give us feedback on how we could do it better.