Thinking About the Windows 10 Field Guide

Posted on January 26, 2015 by Paul Thurrott in Windows 10 with 0 Comments

Note: This was cross-posted from the Field Guide Books web site. If you’re not familiar with this site, I’ve been working on a series of free and inexpensive e-books that cover core Microsoft platforms. Windows 10 Field Guide will be a follow-up to last year’s Windows 8.1 Field Guide. —Paul

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I spent some time discussing Windows 10 Field Guide with both Rafael Rivera and Martin McClean during my trip to Redmond for last week’s Windows 10 event. And I think I have a rough plan for how to proceed with this new book.

This one is important, and I want to get it right. I feel like the approach of covering the truly new stuff in Windows 8.1 Field Guide was a good idea in isolation but it resulted in a long book that covered a lot of material—mostly around the Modern apps—that was perhaps too basic. So in the interests of creating a shorter and valuable new book, I have two proposals.

Ignore the obvious. Yes, the Modern and universal apps in Windows 10 will be new to many people, but much of their functionality is obvious. So instead of covering every single feature in every single app, the book will instead work within the confines of its tagline—”the quickest way to get it done”—and present only the tips, tricks and information about each of these apps that is not immediately obvious to most people. There’s actually precedent for this approach, too: The MSN Apps + Maps chapter uses this approach. That will be the approach for all the bundled apps chapters in the new book.

More desktop, power use and technical content. With Windows 10 marking the return to the desktop, we have an opportunity to apply the approach above to expanded coverage of the desktop (and of course tablet/hybrid usage) and to more technical content too. I’m looking forward to stepping away from the 101 stuff: By this point, anyone coming to this book should know the basics of using Windows on a computer. We will assume that.

There are some other issues to figure out—pricing, for example, as I’m worried that we undervalued the book last time, though I would like to keep things affordable—and also how Windows 10 will impact my/our coverage of phones. My current thinking on that is that Windows 10 Field Guide will focus on tablets, detachables and PCs, whereas a sequel to Windows Phone 8 Field Guide—whatever it’s called—will focus on phones, phablets and small tablets. I’ll know more as I write more and as Windows 10 evolves.

For now, I’m going to get started writing Windows 10 Field Guide. Starting with the flight home today, I’m going to focus at first on digestible topics—maybe Maps, which has a nice finite look to it—and see whether this approach makes sense. I think it will, but we’ll see more.

More soon.