The first thing I recommend you do when you want to write a (technical) book is to find a publisher who doesn’t force you to use MS-whatsit (or any other what you see is _perhaps what you get_ system) to write your manuscript. Tell those that do to go take a hike, and continue looking for one that will allow, perhaps even encourage, you to use a text formatting system like LaTeX. The next step, macroize everything. In case that isn’t a word, what I mean is that you convert any reoccurring terms to macros. It is a bit of a pain at first, but it pays off. So, instead of using, say


in your text, you use a macro and write


(note the backslash). After you’ve written the main content, you get to the irky bit: creating an index. Here is where the macroization pays off. If you did it well to start with, creating half the index is fully automated with the LaTeX tools. For example, in the PowerDNS chapter I use


whenever I discuss the launch command. By altering that macro definition, I automatically create index entries that look like:

launch, PowerDNS, 123
PowerDNS directives
  launch, 123

Of course, there is still plenty to do, because you don’t (well, at least I don’t) just want a keyword index, but rather a concept index. Not that I’ve finished my book yet, not by far, but let me tell you that using good tools means getting there in half the time!

LDAP, Books, DNS, CLI, and dnsbook :: 26 Jan 2008 :: e-mail