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Not so practical techniques
on October 4, 2010
Original review written by Pasquale Granato, JUG Lugano, [...]
First of all, let's clear the field from a possible misunderstanding: this book is not about general mobile design and development but it is about web mobile development. The author states a precise, despite arguable, opinion that brutally said is: do not code native applications but prefer as much as you can web applications. This statement is largely discussed across the book and everyone can make up his own opinion about this. Mine is that currently times are not mature to consider to write just web applications both because mobile browser are not powerful enough (on average) to assure a smooth experience on all devices and because of the lack of a good way to make money from your web app.
The first three chapters of the book are a really good introduction to the history of mobile, to the mobile current status and to the reasons that should drive an approach to the mobile development. These chapters are a well written recap of the status of the art and present a lot of data useful to understand the global situation. Unfortunately the book is printed in black and white and several pie-charts and graphs are pretty much impossible to read.
The central part of the book, chapters from four to ten, is devoted to design issues and, despite the lack of an in-depth examination of some subjects, offers a pretty good survey of the topic.
The final part of the book is slightly more technical covering topics such as XHTML-MP, CSS, HTML5, device adaptation, etc. The problem here is that there is nothing really practical and all remains at an introductory level. To give you an example, a capital topic in device adaptation like Media Queries is covered in half a page with just a trivial example. Furthermore the author seems to be unaware of things like XwapProfile or UAProf (that is probably a obsolete and unreliable method but deserve at least a notation).
My biggest complain is anyway about the author's obsession for the iPhone. The Apple's jewel is referenced continuously and always with great glorification: the word iPhone recurs 99 times in the book and out of the 115 pictures in the book as many as 37 depict an iPhone. An entire chapter is devoted to iPhone web applications development even though most of the concepts presented here are common to other modern devices.
This is overall a decent introductory book, if you are completely new to the field, and it's packed with many good advices but do not expect much from the practical techniques promised by the title.