Ryan Frantz
I'm not Writing a Book

A few months ago I announced a book project:

I enjoy writing, learning in the open, and teaching. I've also been thinking about writing a book lately. I decided to combine all those things into one project about web authentication and authorization!

Check out https://t.co/1vDHIAYQVE

Sign up for updates incl book outline.

— Ryan Frantz (@Ryan_Frantz) March 3, 2021

However, I’m not going to write that book.


Leading up to the announcement, I had been evaluating authentication vendors and sundry solutions in the space. I dove into blog posts and RFCs to achieve a deeper understanding of various standards and protocols so that I could better analyze the available options. At times, it was confusing and I thought that perhaps there was an opportunity to build something useful that demystifies online authentication (and authorization) for software engineers.

So I secured a domain, set up a site on Squarespace, and even created a mailing list on ConvertKit. I drafted a few short posts to get the ball rolling and announced the project.

I got ten folks to sign up. I know all but 2 of those folks.

No matter; I knew I did not have any sort of reputation for the content and I had planned to use some of what I wrote in future short-form blog posts. I drafted an outline and began researching the subject more. I took notes and formed some updated ideas.

Something of Value

Now, several months on, I know that I don’t want to continue this project. There are several reasons:

That last point is the most salient. Web authentication and authorization are complex. Enterprises may prefer SAML; SaaS companies offer OAuth integration with Twitter and Github; lately Ethereum provides a means of identifying oneself (via ENS). And the current standards are being updated as new attack vectors are discovered.

What I truly want to build is a multimedia learning experience that immerses students in the subject matter. Something that allows folks to stand up their own systems to poke and prod and tinker with.

That’s going to take a lot of time and effort. Right now, I’m simply not motivated to build it.