Interview with Jason Alls

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Jason Alls is the author of Clean Code in C#, we got the chance to sit down with him and find out more about his experience of writing with Packt.

Q: How did you become an author for Packt? Tell us about your journey.

Jason: I was approached by Packt to write a book on Clean Code in C# and I agreed. There was a legal process to go through to finalize the book structure and timeframe. We used email and LinkedIn messaging for our communications. And for the writing platform, I used TypeCloud that I liked very much.

Q: How long did it take you to write the book?

Jason: It took me around a year to write the book.

Q: What kind of research did you do, and how long did you spend researching before beginning the book?

Jason: I did not really do any research before writing the book. I already had 21 years of experience behind me.

Q: Did you face any challenges during the writing process? How did you overcome them?

Jason: The whole book was one big challenge. My biggest challenge was writing down what was natural to me in my day to day work. I could do the work, but formulating it into words was hard. A solution I found that worked for me, was to write console applications on the chapter matter. Once the console applications were complete, I then proceeded to write about the code in the book. This ended up making the writing of the book much easier.

Another challenge I faced was being limited to the number of pages in a chapter. Every chapter would see me exceed the page count. I would really have to work hard to transform the text into text with the same meaning but fewer words to meet the page count requirements. Sometimes, it was necessary to start a new document and butcher the existing one. I also found myself using online dictionary and thesaurus to try and find single words that could replace whole sentences.

Q: What advice would you give to readers learning tech? Do you have any top tips?

Jason: Don’t think about learning the technology. Instead, set yourself a pet project that requires use of the technology. Break that project down into tiny little steps. And then learn what you need to learn in order to complete that little step. This way, you not only gain the academic knowledge, but you also have reference project that uses the technology that you yourself built and can refer to in the future as needed.

Seeing a piece of code in a book or on a webpage is no substitute for real code in a working project that you can run and step through using the debugger. So, when you buy a book, make sure to down load the code and step through it. But also write the same code yourself, as this instils what you have learned into your core being.

For detailed explanations, I have found that some of the best explanations are short and focused YouTube videos. You want to aim for a video that focuses on only one thing in less than 5 minutes, and no more than 10 minutes if you can. Then make notes and write some code that demonstrates what you have just learned.

Q. How do you keep up-to-date on your tech?

Jason: I install alpha and beta software and build projects using it. YouTube is my number one resource followed by Pluralsight, websites, and then books. Job adverts also help to keep me informed of the current technology demands by employers. And this drives my curiosity, as does web technology news. Then there are the times I get bored and ferret on the web for tech and science news for something to do. This can often lead to me finding things to learn that I would not have done. Yet other times I am doing remote technical support for customers at work, and this can lead me to search for a solution to a problem that I will then put on my blog.

Q. Do you have a blog that readers can follow?

Jason: Yes, visit the following page: https://jasonalls.wordpress.com/

Q. Can you share any blogs, websites and forums to help readers gain a holistic view of the tech they are learning?

Jason: Pick a topic then a video: https://www.youtube.com/
Bing and Google: Most of what I’ve found or learned has been via searching.
Stack Overflow
https://docs.microsoft.com/en-gb/
https://docs.microsoft.com/en-gb/learn/
https://www.w3.org/
https://www.w3schools.com/
https://channel9.msdn.com/

Q. How would you describe your author journey with Packt? Would you recommend Packt to aspiring authors?

Jason: Long, hard, extremely challenging, tiring as I work full-time and also care for a sick family member, well-supported by wonderful people, and ultimately rewarding. It has been on my bucket list to author a professional book, and I have accomplished it. Now, I am writing my second book. And Yes! I do recommend Packt to aspiring authors. They are very professional and understanding people who are to great to work with. I have found that the Packt team have brought the best out of me, and have worked very hard to turn me into an accomplished first-time author. So, if you want to write a book and have no author experience and don’t know what to write about, get in touch anyway. Because Packt will guide you through the process and give you the subject matter to write about.

You can find Jason’s book on Amazon by following this link: Please click here

Clean Code in C# – Available on Amazon.com