Succinctly Series E-book Author Q&A with Xavier Morera

Xavier Morera is an entrepreneur, project manager, technical author, trainer, Certified Scrum Professional and Scrum Master, and Microsoft Certified Professional. He has spent a great deal of his career working on cutting-edge projects with a primary focus on .NET, Solr, and occasionally iOS. His expertise is primarily .NET web applications, with a focus on search using Apache Solr. Throughout multiple projects he has acquired skills in dealing with complex enterprise software solutions, working with companies that range from startups to Microsoft, where he worked as a worldwide virtualization trainer and evangelist..
Here, we ask him about writing his Succinctly Series E-Book, Apache Solr Succinctly.
Why write a book for Syncfusion?

Learning a new technology is hard and usually takes a long time. There are plenty of technical resources to help developers, but a lot of them are not that good because they are either too short to explain anything, too long to be practical, or somewhat cryptic. Sometimes great developers are not too good at explaining topics at a beginner level, thus raising the entry barrier.  

I was in this position when I started working with enterprise search, which I believe is one of the most misunderstood functionalities in IT. Therefore, I wanted to help others have a smoother start with Apache Solr and enterprise search.

And what better place for a Solr e-book than the Succinctly series? Syncfusion helps solve the problem of high learning curves by providing a set of over 70 (and counting) e-books that help people get started using new technologies with concise, quality content for free. It is a great initiative, and I loved having the opportunity to be part of it.

Are these books your first technical manuals?

No. I am also a Pluralsight author, and I co-wrote Microsoft's 32-bit to 64-bit migration manuals, which I then used to deliver training sessions worldwide. I participated as co-author on a Microsoft Press book on VB6 to VB.NET migration. I have also participated in other less visible or private efforts.

In addition, I have recently signed on to write a new Pluralsight training and another Syncfusion e-book!

What is your favorite outdated technology?

There is one outdated technology that I loved but now has been replaced to the point that younger kids are not even aware of how much the world has changed. Just ask them if they know what a "Kodak moment" is and their face will say it all.

In my honest opinion, with digital photos, life has changed tremendously. More and more people worldwide document and share their lives with digital cameras, and more commonly, with their smartphones. Rewind a few years to the time when you had to use a 12, 24, or 36 picture roll, and it all seems like the Stone Age.

Back then, you took a small amount of pictures and took them to your local Kodak store, and a couple of days later you got an envelope with those precious moments. Pictures were expensive and you had no way of knowing if you got it right. You cherished every moment you froze in time and made a good effort on trying to capture each picture as best as you could. Nowadays you see people taking more pictures of their dinner than the number of old fashioned pictures that you could take on an entire vacation to Costa Rica!

What have you learned since writing your e-book?

I have learned that writing a book for Syncfusion, while a fun activity, is a very rigorous process that adheres to high standards to deliver a quality product. My friend Peter Shaw, who also happens to be a Pluralsight author as well as a Syncfusion author and editor, taught me a lot about book writing. It was indeed great as well as a learning experience.

Do you have another reference that you would recommend to people interested in Apache Solr?
If you are just getting started, I recommend my training on Pluralsight: Getting Started with Enterprise Search Using Apache Solr. However, if you are past the initial stage I recommend the Apache Reference Guide. I also enjoy Instant Apache Solr for Indexing Data How-to by Alexandre Rafalovitch as a good reference for indexing.
All in all, I can recommend other trainings and materials, but the way to master a technology is with deliberate practice. So go ahead and java - jar start.jar and start playing with Solr!
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