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Extending Puppet

Last November I was contacted by Llewellyn Rozario, Acquisition Editor from Packt Publishing, asking me to write a book about Puppet.

That has been an unexpected and welcomed surprise, I’ve never written a book and hardly considered the opportunity to write one, but the idea seemed too much appealing to be dismissed.

The editor requested a book about how to extend Puppet functionalities with Ruby code, but in my own opinion there where some more interesting topics to talk about.

I proposed a completely revised table of contents and a different title.

I wanted to write about all the things I’ve learnt in several years of Puppet usage and had never written in books. I wanted to face relatively new topics, such as how to plan a Puppet migration, how to design reusable modules, the difference between component and higher abstraction modules, how to use Puppet on network devices, and so on.

The table of contents was accepted and is almost identical to the final one, while my suggested title (“Puppet architectures”) was rejected, seemingly for marketing reasons.

Whatever the title, the book is out now and available from Packt’s site and various online stores.

“Extending Puppet” is a book targeted to who is already using Puppet (it’s not appropriate for absolute beginners) and is trying to find out the best ways to organize his Puppet infrastructure.

Making of

Since the beginning I knew that this had to be a challenging and hard work, but, honestly, I didn’t realize it could be that hard.

The schedule to write the first draft was somehow dense, about 10 days for a 20 pages chapter. I started to write something as soon as possible, so at least for the first chapters I was ahead of schedule, but more time passed and more I found myself rushing to deliver the last chapter in time.

Once I completed the first draft I thought that most of the work had been done, but that was only partially true. The technical reviewers (Dhruv Ahuja, C. N. A. Corrêa and Brice Figureau, they made a great work and helped a lot in delivering more precise and correct contents) pointed out various things to fix and at the same time I realized that my written english was, to say the least, quite inappropriate for a book.

The book went under some further editing stages, with the support of the Technical Editors (Rohit Kumar Singh and Pratish Soman), the Copy Editors (Sayanee Mukherjee, Karuna Narayanan, Alfida Paiva, Laxmi Subramanian) and the Proofreaders (Simran Bhogal, Maria Gould, Ameesha Green, Paul Hindle) coordinated by Kartik Vedam and Azharuddin Sheikh.

This is quite a remarkable number of people who have in a way or another contributed to the final outcome and have tried to make my words more readable and understandable.

Besides all these great people who are in the official credits I’d like also to thank Joshua Hoblitt for the very useful comments on the contents and the language and to Nigel Kersten for having written the foreword.

Contest: Get this book free

The book is available online, at a very low price, if you ask me :-), but if you want to get it for free you can participate to a small contest by Packt Publishing.

All you have to do is to tweet about “why you would like to win this book”. The tweet MUST contain this link

Five winners will be selected and contacted by Packt to get a free e-copy of the book.

In any case whoever can get a free sample chapter from in order to have an idea of what you can expect from these pages.

I feel definitively relieved at the idea that my weekends are finally free from some writing duties and I must say that I’m satisfied by the work done.

I know that this is not the best written Puppet book around, my English writing skills are not up to a professional publication, but I think there’s much content in those pages, a lot of useful information also for experienced Puppet users.

The cost is also lower than industry average, given the topic and the number of pages (I sincerely wonder how the publisher made the pricing :-I) and all in all I think this is a good deal.

If you use and like Example42 modules and want to thank me for them, give it a try and help me in promoting this book, this would be greatly appreciated.

Alessandro Franceschi