Jason, there's a lot of great content in this tutorial so far. I like that you cite the motivation for each snippet rather than just saying "paste this code". For instance, you do a nice job explaining the purpose of the BOM and the need for the Java EE APIs as a provided scope dep. I also like that you forewarn the developer of potential missteps to prevent them from tripping up early on and getting discouraged.
I would like to see the tutorial be more development-oriented rather than configuration-oriented. At first glance of the index, we see that the tutorial is structured based on the activation of Seam modules (i.e., configuration). Each section begins with dependency configuration, followed by configuration for activating features of Java EE or a Seam module. As a reader, I'm looking at this saying "wow, all I'm doing is configuring stuff"...and that leaves it being very dry. I don't think this is the right way to structure it.
(To cite a very specific example, showing the configuration for the transaction interceptor in beans.xml is way too premature. That should be added once we visit persistence the first time).
So we are still stuck in the "I can tell you everything you'll need to setup so that you can code" mentality. Rather, what we want is, "I want to write code, stop me when I need to configure something so I can continue writing code." and "How am I doing?" We need to feed the reader those rewards and assurances.
What I like about the play framework tutorial is that it focuses on adding some code, configuring it to run, then seeing the result. To get there with this tutorial, here is the general idea of the structure I would propose:
- Starting the project
(create an alternative version of the first chapter for starting the project using Seam Forge)
- Creating your first pages with pretty URLs
- Querying the database and displaying the results
- Authenticating a user
- Handling errors gracefully
- Writing integration tests
Then you just cover the configuration as it comes along. Take it in stride. If a developer wants to see just the instructions for how to activate a Seam module, that's what the reference guide is for. Here we need to be in a flow. You should try to show code first, then show the configuration to activate it (unless you need the API deps, then maybe switch it) and finally, tell them how to run the application at that stage.
For instance, I want to see what's in conferences.xhtml. Maybe at first, it's just a shell since we haven't queried the database. So we just have placeholders where the data will be. But at least the user can run it and see that the pretty URLs are working.
If you want, at the very beginning of each section you can mention which modules will get used, and which ones will be activated for the first time. Something like:
"In this section, we'll setup Seam Faces and use it to map URLs to JSF views. We'll also use more features of Seam XXX that you configured in the last section."
I think you can re-purpose the existing content into this new structure rather easily.
Let me know if you need more specific feedback.
p.s. I also think that this structure will make the tutorial a lot more fun to write.