Some time ago, 张立强 (hope that comes out right – it’s cut-and-paste from his/her email From: line) contacted me to ask if I’d write a preface for the chinese translation of my book. I wrote something, but wasn’t very happy with it, so I put it aside. I only remembered it when 张立强 bugged me about it this week.
So I finally got around to revisiting it. Realising that the subtleties of language are going to get lost in translation anyway, all it really needed was an ending. So I had a go, and sent it off.
— but —
I was foolish enough to mention it on #apache-helpdesk, and they’ve been ribbing me about it ever since. So, dammit, I’m going to put my poor little effort here:
Apache HTTPD has long been the leading server on the Web. Apache 2 is more than that: it’s a versatile applications platform. But for several years, its adoption amongst developers was held back by the lack of good documentation. There was the code, the mailing list archives, and very little else. I wrote the Apache Modules Book to try to fill that gap, and make it easier for developers to take advantage of its capabilities.
Two things have really thrilled me since the book was published. The first is the great reception it’s had, from the first reviews (within weeks of publication) to the regular feedback from readers who find it useful. The second is the news that it’s being translated into Chinese, bringing it to what must be the biggest and most important developer community outside the English-speaking world!
As you will see from the dedication, I have a dream of how telecoms and the Internet are liberating us from the drudgery of the office of the past. I can now work from my home for clients anywhere in the world, and with a community of colleagues from every continent. I don’t even have a car, and in the modern world, my life is far better for it than others who are still living in the past.
Sadly, we cannot hope to integrate the Chinese and English-speaking communities at the level of our day-to-day work. But we can build bridges to share our work and help each other take advantage of it. I am delighted to hear that my book is to become one such bridge. I hope our Chinese readers will find it useful, and I look forward to seeing more applications follow the lead set by mod_fcgid, the first Chinese-developed Apache module to bridge the gap back and achieve widespread recognition in the English-speaking world.
Finally, let us hope that maybe the map of Apache developers at http://people.apache.org need not always be so skewed as it is now towards the English-speaking “old world” of the Internet in Europe and North America: I look forward to seeing our community enriched by more of the best talent from “new world” countries such as China!