MacIT Conference January 2, 2013 at 9:59 am

Lessons Learned From Our Latest Revision of the OS X Server Essentials Materials

“The only thing constant is change.”

“Timing is everything.”

These two sayings would become so very true to me and Arek Dreyer as we were wrapping up the last edits and corrections to the materials for “Apple Pro Training Series: OS X Server Essentials: Using and Supporting OS X Server on Mountain Lion,” published by Peachpit Press.

The most noticable change is that there is now one guide: previous incarnations of the course included a reference guide with some exercises for the independent reader, and a separate workbook with exercises to be completed in the course led by an Apple Certified Trainer in an Apple Authorized Training Center. This latest version is a single guide with reference and exercises designed for both audiences.

During the summer of 2011, during the development of the materials for the OS X Lion Server Essentials course, we learned the importance of taking selective screen captures, so that when new elements appear in the interface, our screen captures had a chance of not immediately appearing outdated. During the development of the latest course materials, Apple released Server 2.1, which included some minor changes, like the appearance of the Logs pane in the Server app. Among other changes, we scrambled to update the troubleshooting sections to refer to using the Logs pane where appropriate.

As for Server 2.2, like anyone who joins Apple’s $99/year developer program, we had access to pre-release builds of Server 2.2, and we were excited with the changes it brought (specicifally the changes to SSL certificates, and the Caching service for Mac App Store and OS updates), but we had hoped that our guide would be in the hands of users before it hit. Nope, the update to Server 2.2 was released at almost the same time as our guide, and it impacted some of our descriptions and certainly the screen captures. While it didn’t render our information incorrect, it was time to hit the errata, make some notes for the guide’s readers, and update the classroom materials.

Frustrating? Sure, but only for a moment. We knew that changes are inevitable and with the new separation of Server from the underlying operating system, we knew it was going to happen, and it will probably happen again. And it is all for the best! Now updates to Server can come as needed and desired and not be tied to an OS release. This is big news! Also, Apple has the freedom to add and modify services as needed; a luxury not available in the past. This is good and something we need to embrace.

Both Arek and I will be presenting at MacIT, the technical conference attached to Macworld in January and February (last year MacIT had well over 500 people participate). Arek will be presenting a day-long workshop on the topic of iOS deployment with Kevin White (co-author of Apple Pro Training Series: OS X Support Essentials), and I will be doing a session on DNS. This is our chance to present the latest and the greatest, and for the participants to learn what is fresh and new. Take a look at our guide and come out and join us. Just please, no questions why the screen captures don’t match.

About Ben Greisler

Ben Greisler is a Certified Apple Consultant and Trainer based in the Philadelphia, PA metro area. He consults and teaches nationally, is a regular speaker at Macworld and has co-authored training material for Apple. He has worked on major Apple deployments both nationally and internationally for schools, government, and enterprise-level organizations. He can be reached at ben@kadimac.com.

1 Comment

  • Congrats on the book — this is a welcome addition to the OS X Server books.

    How about a link to the book or your website, so others don’t have to reverse engineer a way to find it?

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