why posting errata matters

We’ve been posting every errata we receive about our a href=”/oca”>OCA 8 book. There’s something about cert books that attracts errata. I think it is because readers have to be so attentive.

Error count

We have slightly more errata reported than K&B 7 (which has 89 at the moment; we have 117). That book covers more (both OCA and OCP) so it isn’t a fair comparison. However, it has more versions published (starting with Java 4 I think) which means there were more opportunities to catch and correct theirs. It’s kind of interesting how certain errors can pass by so many people.

Anyway, my point is that while I’d love for our book to be perfect, I think our errata rate is acceptable for a cert book. Plus it gives us something to try to beat for our a href=”/ocp”>OCP 8 book. I am glad that most of the errata in the “stupid typo” department and not the “understanding” department.

Why reporting each and every errata matters

Ok. So if most of them are typos, why bother making a list? There’s three big reasons I think about:

  1. If we write that Java 9 version of the book, I don’t want these errors in it. I want there to be different errors for crying out loud! It’s like experience; you don’t want to keep making the same mistakes.
  2. If another reader isn’t sure if something is wrong, he/she can look at the thorough errata list.
  3. Finally, when I read a book and see something technical wrong, (even if it is a typo in a code snippet), I start to wonder “if I can’t trust this which I caught without knowing the topic, how can I trust the rest.” An exhaustive errata list provides transparency. You know if something was wrong it would be listed. That’s why I “categorized” the errata so you can see what is a typo and what is significant.

For the readers, it’s also helpful to have that engagement. By knowing that every question about the book posted in the forum, will get a reply, readers have confidence they wouldn’t be confused.

Which brings us to a big thank you

Interestingly, three people reported over half of the errors. So a big thank you to Mushfiq Mammadov, Elena Felder and Cedric Georges. I’d also like to thank Roel De Nijs. He didn’t report many errors, but he *confirmed* a whole boatload of them. Which saved me a lot of time and I really appreciate.

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