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cladhaire

New book about customizing the WoW UI

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This has been posted elsewhere, but I wanted to let everyone in this community know about a project I've been working on for the past half year or so. The author of Atlas and myself have been writing a book called "Hacking World of Warcraft", which is part of the ExtremeTech series by Wiley Publishing (This series includes Hacking Firefox, Hacking Gmail, etc.) The book is written to give all users a good introduction to World of Warcraft Addons, how to download/find/install, and then gives reviews and profiles of a number of different addons. The later chapters teach the user how to create two full scale non-trivial addons which are actually useful.

The publisher's website has some excerpts, including the Table of Contents, the Index and a part of Chapter 1. http://www.wiley.com/WileyCDA/WileyTitle/productCd-0470110023.html.

Quick link to Amazon for those interested: http://www.amazon.com/Hacking-Warcraft-ExtremeTech-Daniel-Gilbert/dp/0470110023/ref=pd_bbs_sr_1/002-4168492-8826450?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1180654222&sr=8-1

If you have any questions, please let me know, or contact me on the boards, or at cladhaire@gmail.com

- Jim

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Its a book about customizing the UI of World of Warcraft. If it doesn't belong here, I'll gladly delete it, but I'm not sure why it wouldn't be relevant.

*shrug*

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I was under the assumption this book is a guide for illegal activities pertaining to the coding of WoW. Thats what I think of when the word "hacking" comes up. I apologize if this is not the case but,"Hacking World of Warcraft" seems to be a leaning to the shady side of addons.

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Perhaps you could read my thread, or the link before responding. All of the book in the ExtremeTech series have the title "Hacking ..." and in no cases do they promote illegal activity. Although the term "Hacking" has changed drastically over the past twenty years, it's as relevant here as it was back then.

I will change the post title to hopefully stop this from happening again.

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Yeah, I saw the thread title and immediately assumed this was going in the direction of "zomg how i hax0r w0w for moar goldz?" In hindsight, I definitely recognize your name from various addons, but you might want to try and change the title of the thread :) Sounds like an interesting premise for a book, though. It's nice to see some addon authors getting a little something in return for their contributions to the community.

Edit: And I'm well aware that "hacker" has a different connotation these days. That doesn't mean morons won't abuse the term on these forums.

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You may wish to evaluate the thread on the basis of its actual content rather than simply applying a blanket statement because of a single word. Although it is true that "hacking" is an ambiguous term, the mere use of the word does not imply that the book pertains to illegal or unsavory activities.

(edit) Beaten to it by two others... :p

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I apologize for my brash responses, I did read both the link and the original post and was a little confused at what the premise was:

(take from the link)

"Hacks, hacks everywhere-hacks encompass such unique topics as combat, artwork and model, map, interface, loot, chat, raid, PvP, class specific, and more!"

However, I do understand that "hacking" also refers to the art of writing and redefining computer programs.

I guess I'm just biased from all the other books, or guides, involving World of Warcraft that end up being cheap scams that any real player would know at once (Leveling Guides for example.)

Anyway, the book does look interesting and informative.

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Understood. I'm used to fighting this fight, and I'm sure the other authors from this series have dealt with the same sort of issue. Unfortunately, Hacking Gmail doesn't exactly have the same connotation as Hacking World of Warcraft due to all the issues with bots, farmers, and people who try to exploit the game. Thanks for the feedback!

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Congrats, and I feel your pain having worked with Wiley on two books a couple of years ago. :D

Looks interesting though how much of it is aimed at people using the default UI and few mods vs. the (usually) highly organized and heavily modded UIs that tend to be posted here?

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Actually, the way the addons are grouped together ("Combat Addons", "Raid Addons"), etc. it can be good for people who don't spend all their time browsing the mod sites looking for the latest and greatest =). Its really geared towards your guildmates, your friends, and anyone who may not know what addons are really available, or what types of addons are available.

If you're a budding addon author, the two addons you write are non-trivial and actually do something useful in both cases. They don't just tell you what to type, they explain why you're typing it =).

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Hello, I'm Dan, the other author! Just thought I'd say hi here...

I've been struggling with the name too for a long time, and I knew this kind of confusion would happen as soon as the book was made available. Unfortunately, the name wasn't up to me, rather it was Wiley's decision from the start. In the end, it was probably a good marketing choice for them, but certainly causes a fair share of confusion for many players.

Anyhow, Jim gave y'all the basic information. If you have any questions, feel free to ask (my email address is loglow@gmail.com). There'll most likely be some contests coming up where you can will a copy of the book (since I've got a whole box of em). At the very least they'll be at atlasmod.com, possibly some bigger sites elsewhere ;) stay tuned

enjoy

Dan

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The term "Hacking" is actually the correct one. If the book were about exploits in-game, it would more correctly be called "Cracking".

A Hacker is someone who, in general terms, makes software do what he or she wants it to, with the express purpose being generally ease of use, or implementation of features left out by the original designer.

A Cracker does the same things, just with malicious intent.

Customizing your UI fits under the first category, running a bot the second.

These days hacking carries a wide number of negative connotations, from Script Kiddie to Cyber-terrorism, but it's still the correct and accurate nomenclature to use in this case.

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I was under the assumption this book is a guide for illegal activities pertaining to the coding of WoW. Thats what I think of when the word "hacking" comes up. I apologize if this is not the case but,"Hacking World of Warcraft" seems to be a leaning to the shady side of addons.

A "Hack Solution" is a quickly coded application or method/function that is just what you need for the moment, not necessarily fleshed out in any way. :p

Figured I'd pass that along as well.

--

I'll definitely be reading this book at a Borders around here somewhere (go go college budget/debt)... I've been looking for a way to get into coding addons, but I'm not experienced with Lua. I was encouraged when Antiarc said something about how it's similar to JavaScript, so I'll be looking forward to a formal introduction to Lua and writing addons.

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Pretty much, if you're done any sort of programming language before you can pickup LUA without that much trouble, it's not a very complicated language for getting started and mainly requires knowing the basics.

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The term "Hacking" is actually the correct one. If the book were about exploits in-game, it would more correctly be called "Cracking".

Yeah, unfortunately modern journalism never made the distinction. Hacker, some few years ago meant person able to analyze, understand, configurate and operate the complex computer systems. Nowadays, it's most likely portraying a guy who eats junkfood all day, lives in a cellar and does illegal stuff with computers.

Big difference. The war about proper use of words has been a lost cause for a long time now. Lots of people still call themselves hacker and most often that's meant in the old sense.

I'll definitely be reading this book at a Borders around here somewhere (go go college budget/debt)... I've been looking for a way to get into coding addons, but I'm not experienced with Lua. I was encouraged when Antiarc said something about how it's similar to JavaScript, so I'll be looking forward to a formal introduction to Lua and writing addons.

Lua itself is not complex. I'd put it somewhere in the range of javascript, really. If you've programmed *something* in the past, you can really jump right in. I'd recommend starting with the nice Tutorial available from wowace.com: http://www.wowace.com/wiki/WelcomeHome_-_Your_first_Ace2_Addon

You really pick all the important stuff out by just doing this and you already start with the Ace-Libs, which do a lot of work you'd need to do manually otherwise.

As with everything programming, learning by doing is imho the best way, though a good book is always great if it can give you a better understanding or some inspiration alongside.

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You're going to be far better off if you learn how to do everything yourself first rather then having to rely on libraries all the time, using the book and/or wowwiki you can get a pretty good idea on how to do the basics involving events and so on.

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You're going to be far better off if you learn how to do everything yourself first rather then having to rely on libraries all the time, using the book and/or wowwiki you can get a pretty good idea on how to do the basics involving events and so on.

I used to have the same opinion, but I do no longer.

If you really really want to know exactly what's happening right down there, then yes. I still know people that in this day and age write C or Assembler and not this "modern crap" that abstracts and don't let people get their hands really dirty by allowing to manipulate every single bit.

If you want to know exactly what is happening, then yes, I agree with you, though I wouldn't really start out with looking deep into that.

Today, I've moved away from NIH-syndrome ("Not invented here"-Syndrome; no accusation to you, just as example) and just take a good lib when I find one instead of trying to do all myself. Guess working for years in Java tends to make you yearn for good "classlibs". I personally find that people need to work more on understanding and using abstractions correct in order to be good programmers rather than able to track down each and every last bit. Just because the latter more often than not is no longer really relevant, where you work with layers upon layers of abstractions. Of course, being able to do both is always great. But I really only go looking below the hood if something is repeatedly not working as it should or I expect it to.

In short (and a bit evil, for which I apologize), I much rather just write a self:RegisterEvent("foo") and concentrate on the event handler instead of finding out how events work, writing my own event manager and then go to the event handler which I need to do in any case. And that's just a simlpe case, I don't really want to localize spell names in all languages, I couldn't even do it outside german and english. Yet all I need to do now is to get Babble-Spell for example and I have a maintained, working and proven solution. I just don't need to invest time there. Divide and conquer, really. Concentrate on what you want to do new stuff, don't reinvent X for the umpteenth time. It's there, it works already, it's in use other places. If there is a bug, other people will very likely find it before you even know there is one and it will most likely be fixed before you ever get bitten by it.

If you *need* to do it all by yourself, which of course isn't bad at all, you can do it. I guess not many of you built the house they are living in from scratch by themselves but are doing some hosework and changes here and there. It's the same for all software project beyond trivial complexity. You can build everything from scratch (and it may make sense to do so), but if you do it, you are just more likely to make more errors and mistakes than if you take bits and pieces that are known to work and just put it together and then expand a bit here and there. Especially if you've never done it before. It can be a great learning experience, but most likely you don't want to live in that first built house of yours but instead build a better second one.

Sorry for the longish derail on software design. You can guess what my day job is now :)

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Yeah, unfortunately modern journalism never made the distinction. Hacker, some few years ago meant person able to analyze, understand, configurate and operate the complex computer systems. Nowadays, it's most likely portraying a guy who eats junkfood all day, lives in a cellar and does illegal stuff with computers.

Big difference. The war about proper use of words has been a lost cause for a long time now. Lots of people still call themselves hacker and most often that's meant in the old sense.

An internet-savvy forum of reasonably intelligent WOW players should aim for a higher standard than mainstream media. We certainly don't enforce fourth grade readability standards, among other things.

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In short (and a bit evil, for which I apologize), I much rather just write a self:RegisterEvent("foo") and concentrate on the event handler instead of finding out how events work, writing my own event manager and then go to the event handler which I need to do in any case. And that's just a simlpe case, I don't really want to localize spell names in all languages, I couldn't even do it outside german and english. Yet all I need to do now is to get Babble-Spell for example and I have a maintained, working and proven solution. I just don't need to invest time there. Divide and conquer, really. Concentrate on what you want to do new stuff, don't reinvent X for the umpteenth time. It's there, it works already, it's in use other places. If there is a bug, other people will very likely find it before you even know there is one and it will most likely be fixed before you ever get bitten by it.

Consider that even with Ace, you really can't do anything without understanding the API. Consider that the API has no official documentation, and you have to pick things up on your own from Blizzard's code in the default UI. Libraries are all well and good, but they help you one small (trivial) aspect of mod development. If using self:RegisterEvent() is somehow easier for you than making your own event handler, then I'd have larger questions about whats going on. Writing addons is easy. Very easy.

I think libraries are great, but in this case, Ace just adds a mythical level of abstration that isn't necessary to something that's already incredibly simple. You wanna talk inter addon communication? Sure, that should absolutely have a library. Event registration, not so much, especially not the 1000 lines of code Ace uses for it.

Oh and my day job, software engineering. My PhD work? Pedagogy in introductory computer science.

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Cladhaire, I've enjoyed your mods, and have been using them for a long time now (PerfectRaid, Clique). This book looks pretty interesting, and I just might pick it up just to support your work that you've given out to the community over the last several years.

Good luck with the book!

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An internet-savvy forum of reasonably intelligent WOW players should aim for a higher standard than mainstream media. We certainly don't enforce fourth grade readability standards, among other things.

If I were a gambling man, I'd lay money on claidhaire's title getting misunderstood far more often - even by his target audience - then would probably be keen. Will that lead to more sales ("Sweet, cheat codez for the wows! $$$ching ching$$$") or less ("I'm sorry, I'm looking for a development handbook!") is an exercise for the reader, I suppose. The entire linguistics debate is irrelevant to the pragmatism that (and this is supposing a statistic I heard from another MMO developer is true as generalized) fewer then 1% of a game's players use the official forums. Insert fractions to get to EJ and then EJ mod to explain to them that us old folks use the term "hack" to just mean widger around with.

At any rate, thanks for the mention, claidhaire, I wouldn't have known about this any other way, and now the book is going on the Christmas list to myself. I'll also sneak in this opportunity to say, thank you for PerfectRaid and Clique.

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