4 min read

Mario Casciaro is a software engineer and technical lead with a passion for open source. He began programming with a Commodore 64 when he was 12, and grew up with Pascal and Visual Basic. His programming skills evolved by experimenting with x86 assembly language, C, C++, PHP, and Java. His relentless work on side projects led him to discover JavaScript and Node.js, which quickly became his new passion. Mario now works in a lighthouse at D4H Technologies, where he led the development of a real-time platform to manage emergency operations (Node.js to save lives!). As Mario is at the cutting-edge of Node development, we asked him to share his thoughts on the future of his field, and also on what led him to want to write a book with Packt.


Why did you decide to write with Packt, what convinced you?

I already knew Packt from some excellent books I read in the past and that was certainly a good start. As an author I was given a lot of freedom in the definition of the contents of my book and this was probably what I liked the most as it allowed me to leverage my knowledge and passion at its fullest. Besides that, Packt has one of the best royalties package out there, something to not overlook.

As a first-time Packt author, what type of support did you receive?

Packt provided me with some interesting education material, and besides the mandatory style guide, there were some articles with advice on how to organize the work and deal with the ups and downs of the writing process. However, what was most helpful was the patience of the editors in providing feedback and fixes, especially during the writing of the initial chapters. I think this is a make-or-break factor as the first 2/3 months are probably the toughest and it’s important to have the support of an empathetic team to succeed.

What were your main aims when you began writing?

My main goal was to write a book worth reading, something that I would have bought and read myself if I wasn’t the author. One of the things I wanted to avoid was to include trivial content, knowledge that could easily be found elsewhere, such as in a good free tutorial or in some official documentation. I wanted every topic to teach the reader something new, I wanted to ‘wow’ the reader with content and notions it was unlikely they knew before.

What was the most rewarding part of the writing experience?

Reading a message from a reader saying ‘thank you’ is probably the most rewarding part of being an author. It brightens up my day and reminds me that the time writing the book was well spent. In general, knowing that I helped somebody learn something new and valuable is an amazing feeling.

What do you see as the next big thing in your field, and what developments are you excited about?

JavaScript is taking over the world, it is spreading well beyond the browser and the web. This change is already happening, we can use JavaScript to implement server applications (node.js), in databases (couchdb), in connected devices (tessel), on mobiles (phonegap) and on desktops (nw.js). I’m also looking forward to the spreading of the new ES6 and ES7 standards which should add even more powerful features to the language.

Do you have any advice for new authors?

Dream big but keep it simple. If you want to explain complex topics always start from the basic notions and build on top of those as you move forward. Always assume there might be some reader that doesn’t have a prior knowledge to completely grasp a concept or a code sample. Spend a few words on the background of a problem/solution, why the reader should learn it and what advantages it brings. No one likes to be fed with knowledge without knowing why. On the organizational side, I would say that the most important aspect is sticking with the schedule, no matter what. Build the habit of writing for the book at a given time of the day and move away from the computer screen only when you spent all your mental energy. For me, that was the most rewarding moment of the day, knowing that I’ve done my job and that I couldn’t have done more. Always focus on the current chapter, try to get it as much production-ready as you can (there will be little time to change things later), don’t think to the amount of work left to finish the book, one chapter at the time you will have achieved what you previously considered impossible.

Follow Mario on Twitter, connect with him on Linkedin, or find him on Github.

You can buy Mario’s book Node.js Design Patterns from packtpub or find out more about the book here: http://www.nodejsdesignpatterns.com

If you have been inspired to write, get in touch with our experienced team who are always open to discussing and designing potential book ideas with talented people. Click here for more details.


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