How it All Started

It was in October of 2019 when I attended the FrenchKit conference for the third time. The first, I was an attendee (I think this was the second conference I went to ever!), the second time was my first presentation at a conference.

Having attended, given a talk… in 2019 I gave a workshop on iPadOS; the same workshop I gave at Swift Island earlier that year.

Then at the end of the conference, the speakers gathered on stage, took a picture, and then we were invited behind the stage (I think we were given a bottle of wine as gift… which I gave away as I don’t drink, nor could I take it with me on the plane).

It’s there that I was talking to Antoine van der Lee, who told me Paul Hudson had invited him to contribute a chapter for a book! This sounded amazing, and thus I asked him if Paul was still looking for other contributors. He said go for it, so I sent Paul a message… and before I knew it, I was going to write a book chapter! Exciting!

Swift for Good

The book we wrote wasn’t just any book — it was the first volume of Swift for Good, a book with 100% of all revenue going to charity. I am still so proud of the result, and perhaps even more so of the team work and effort that went into making this project a great success.

The way we wrote this book is through git. While perhaps not the first thing I’d think of when writing a book, I would never ever want to do this another way. Git (and GitHub) made the whole process so much fun — from using Markdown, to doing pull request reviews on our chapters, working together like in open source for a fantastic end result.

Choosing a Topic

One of the things I remember vividly, is that the authors were all invited to the GitHub repository, and we were to all chose a topic. Kaya Thomas was one of the other authors, and I could see her choose accessibility as a topic… One I was also interested in. I ended up going with it, and Kaya chose to write about testing; my “backup” topic. I reached out to her, and we ended up exchanging thoughts and reviewing each other’s chapter.

Writing the Chapter

To some extent, writing a chapter for a book like this, where every chapter covers a different topic, feels like writing a well structured, long blog post. And yet, it feels different. Sure, there is more pressure and more “on the line” writing for a book. But what helped here, is that with the goal of as much of the revenue going directly to charity, it is only available in a digital format. That means that we could fix typos (or even update chapters) where necessary.

So it was December 2019; I was at home, as I took my remaining vacation days for the year. I, like I prepare for a presentation, took notes and outlined what I wanted to cover in the chapter. Then it was time to write. It reminded me of writing my thesis — it really helped me to be in a different location where I could focus on writing. That location ended up being a combination of the restaurant at the golf course, and the local coffee shop.

It was so exciting to write the chapter, and the closer I got to finishing it, as well as seeing others write their chapters, the more energy I had to finish it. And I’m really proud of the result!

Closing Thoughts

Writing this book chapter started out as a coincidental chat with a friend. It ended up with me working together with people I’d not worked with before, and together craft a project that made great impact.

I’m looking forward to an eventual Volume 2, and perhaps another writing opportunity in the future, too.

You can find more information and buy Swift for Good Volume One on its website.