Monday 3 September 2012

NOTE: A Book That Grows? That's Got To Be A New Concept!

Following my feature of Metacoda and their security plug-ins last week, I have to feature Phil Holland. As I said last week, I'm a keen supporter of the third-party market for SAS-related products. In addition to his two published books (Saving Time and Money Using SAS, and Power User's Guide to SAS Programming), Phil has a collection of apps that act as books but deliver the flexibility of apps. Let me explain.

Phil's apps are available for WebOS, Android, and Chrome. I sat down with Phil and a whole bunch of different bits of his hardware a couple of weeks ago. Phil explained his (unique?) concept to me over dinner and a few beers. The apps are a series of eBooks about SAS software programming. They focus on frequently asked questions and answers, and they are illustrated by code samples. The code samples can be sent by email directly from the app (copy-and-paste would be of no use because the apps are on mobile devices). So far, they sound like relatively conventional eBooks. So, why has Phil developed them as apps?

Phil has designed the eBook/apps to encourage users to contribute additional "how do I do this" questions. Questions (and answers) that are of interest to the wider audience are then added to upgrades of the apps by Phil. The upgrades are delivered free, over-the-air to the mobile devices. So Phil's eBook/app readers get the benefit of additional content, and their books just grow and grow.

The current titles in the series are:

  • Data Steps
  • Platforms
  • SQL
  • Enterprise Guide

The cost of each is minimal, and there's also a free sample book. With the content coming from Phil, you can be assured of its quality and accuracy.

I think Phil's concept is imaginative and could be applied in many areas, not just SAS. The apps are a relatively new venture for Phil, and I wish him well. Go take a look!