New Book on ESP8266 by Bestselling Author Erik Bartmann
Feb 27, 2017
Erik Bartmann is a bestselling author who has written copiously about programming and electronics. His latest book is on ESP8266, and is entitled Das ESP8266-Praxisbuch: Mit NodeMCU und ESPlorer (The ESP8266 Practice Book: With NodeMCU and ESPlorer). It was published in German by Elektror-Verlag in November 2016. Erik has kindly given us an interview where he explains why he became fascinated about ESP8266 in the first place, and what his readers will learn about our chip by reading his book. Erik also talks about his writing philosophy, as well as whom his book is addressed to and why.
Espressif: Hi Erik, we are delighted to host you on Espressif’s official website and talk with you about your book on ESP8266. Let me start by asking you this: how did you become involved with ESP8266 in the first place? What did you find so intriguing about ESP8266, which made you write a whole book about it?
Erik Bartmann: To be honest, it was its price! In November 2014 I ordered, for the first time, five ESP8266 modules from China for 15 euros altogether. My primary intention was to check if these modules worked properly together with an Arduino board. And they worked! Then, I started thinking about writing an additional chapter for my German bestseller on Arduino, entitled Die Elektronische Welt mit Arduino Entdecken (Discover the Electronic World with Arduino, ISBN 978-3955611156). But when I started writing that chapter I realized there was more to say. So, I decided to write a book about ESP8266.
Espressif: How long did it take you as a user to explore everything that ESP8266 can offer, and how long did it take you to turn this experience into a book?
Erik Bartmann: As a maker I am used to exploring new hardware. And as an experienced author I am able to find out technical possibilities very quickly. But to be honest, ESP8266 was not easy to discover. That changed when NodeMCU, a dev board for the ESP8266 module, came out and when ESPlorer, an integrated development environment for ESP8266 from Russia, was released.
I started writing the ESP8266 book in October 2015, but I had to interrupt my writing several times, due to my father’s health problems. I finished writing up my book in September 2016. The book is entirely associated with memories of my father. He eventually died last year, so I’ve dedicated this book to my father.
Espressif: How easy was it to translate the power of technology into words? Was writing an exhausting or energizing process for you?
Erik Bartmann: When I realized that not only is ESP8266 a Wi-Fi module for Arduino but also a standalone device, I felt there was something really new about it, which I wanted to introduce to the makers’ scene. I had the same feeling when I started writing my Arduino book in 2009, and when I wrote the first Raspberry Pi book for the worldwide audience in 2011. All in all, writing was an energizing process for me!
Espressif: Who is this book addressed to?
Erik Bartmann: I always write my books for curious people, regardless of their background knowledge. I try to respond to the curiosity I personally have about my topics by writing books about them. I always try and combine the basics of electronics with concrete cool hacks. My intention is to provide makers with information exactly when they need it. I call this “learning just in time”.
Espressif: How hard was it to make your knowledge of ESP8266 understandable to the wider public? Did you try to write the book keeping in mind the user’s perspective?
Erik Bartmann: I always write my books from a maker’s perspective. I am a maker, and I write for makers and for people who want to become makers.
Espressif: What is the most important thing about ESP8266 that many users do not know about, but they will learn by reading your book?
Erik Bartmann: The fact that you can use ESP8266 as a standalone device; that you can build a heater-monitoring system with that module for only 10 US dollars, and also build some additional electronics standards.
Espressif: What was the hardest part of the book to write, and why?
Erik Bartmann: The hardest part comes always after having finished the first draft of a book, that is, when revising the text. At that point, I am tired of writing and want to do other things; not reading again and again the same stuff.
Espressif: What question do you wish that someone would ask about your book, but nobody has? Can you please write it out here, and then answer it?
Erik Bartmann: “Will there be a book about ESP32 from you in the future?” The answer to this question is that hopefully there will be one!
Espressif: What project(s) are you working on at the moment? Can you tell us what is your next book going to be about?
Erik Bartmann: Actually, I am revising my Arduino book. It’s a bestseller in Germany and France, and I am currently working on its third edition. It will be published in June 2017.
Espressif: Thank you ever so much, Erik, for taking the time to answer our questions. We wish you the best of luck for your future projects and we really look forward to reading a book about ESP32 from you in the near future.
Erik Bartmann: Thank you very much for giving me the opportunity to answer your questions!
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