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PhoneGap Essentials: Building Cross-platform Mobile Apps (Older Version 2012) 1st Edition

4.0 out of 5 stars 23 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0321814296
ISBN-10: 0321814290
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Editorial Reviews

From the Author

This book was publishedin 2012 and covers PhoneGap 2; it was written right about the time that thePhoneGap project was donated to the Apache Foundation and renamed to ApacheCordova. PhoneGap refers to Adobe's distribution of Apache Cordova, but formost everything Cordova and PhoneGap are the same.
Cordova/PhoneGap changeddramatically with the release of Apache Cordova 3; the Cordova development teamsimplified the way projects are created and essentially invalidated the contentin PhoneGap Essentials.
Instead of updating thisbook when newer versions of Cordova were released, I instead split the bookinto two parts and updated each part separately as a new publication. The firsthalf of this book, the part that covers setting up a Cordova developmentenvironment and everything related to Cordova development, has been updated forApache Cordova 4 and published as Apache Cordova 4 Programming. The second halfof PhoneGap Essentials, the part that covers all of the Cordova APIs in detail hasbeen updated to cover recent updates to the APIs and published as ApacheCordova API Cookbook.

About the Author

John M. Wargo has more than twenty years of experience designing and developing enterprise applications with a focus on collaboration and process automation. John has spent the last five years focusing on mobile development having worked for Research In Motion and authored BlackBerry Development Fundamentals (Addison-Wesley, 2010; www.bbdevfundamentals.com) and a series of articles on mobile development for The View (www.eview.com). He is a frequent speaker at industry conferences, delivering sessions on mobile development and analysis of mobile industry trends. In his current role, he is a practice manager in AT&T’s Advanced Mobile Applications Practice, specializing in mobile application platforms and frameworks, and helping customers realize their mobile initiatives.


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Addison-Wesley Professional; 1 edition (June 11, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0321814290
  • ISBN-13: 978-0321814296
  • Product Dimensions: 7 x 1 x 9.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (23 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #829,291 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
When I bought this book, there were no reviews, so I was a little hesitant, but I'm glad I did. Overall, for a first edition, I'd say it rates about 4.5 out of 5. Just so you know where I'm coming from, I'm an experienced developer with about 20 years of experience, the last 10 in web technologies. I wasn't looking for this book to teach me how to program, or even how to program using web tech, just how best to apply what I already know to the PhoneGap platform.

The book is organized into three sections:

Section 1, about 50 pages, briefly introduces PhoneGap and the general approach used to develop for it. I'd rate this section 3 out of 5. It does a decent job of covering the very basics, but could have gone into a lot more detail on best practices and patterns for different types of apps. Also useful would have been detailed information on the degree of HTML5 support offered by the container on the various platforms, what JavaScript techniques to avoid, what tend to be acceptable sizes for images, js files, audio files, etc. In short, answers to more of the questions a web developer used to developing for a browser will have.

Section 2, about 150 pages, provides detailed instructions for setting up development environments for each platform. Overall, excellent and useful - 5 out of 5. In a couple places, though, it does gloss over things that would be helpful to know. For instance, it mentions Applaud, an Eclipse plugin that "helps simplify PhoneGap development for Android devices." Simplify how? Is it worth bothering with? This section also covers the PhoneGap Build service.

Section 3, about 150 pages, takes a cookbook approach, covering each of the key functional APIs like camera, contacts, etc. This section is good for use as a reference and provides guidance (keep image quality at or below 50%), as well as sample code. 5 out of 5.
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Format: Paperback
This book can either be exactly what you need or a waste of your time, depending on what you're looking for. While the book summary is fairly accurate as to what the book covers, I just wanted to expand on that so that readers know what they're getting into.

The first part of the book is a general overview of PhoneGap - its history, high-level architecture, limitations, how it compares to other approaches, etc. For some people, this section may be exactly what they need and the most useful part of the book since it solves one of the essential problems of software development. namely, whenever you jump into a new area of technology, there will be some things you know, some things you know that you don't know, but mostly, a whole lot of things that you don't even know that you don't know. Its this last point which the first part of the book addresses well. It raises many issues and poses many questions so that by the time you finish reading, you will at least know everything that you don't know. Unfortunately, it doesn't go into very much detail on specific issues, so you must follow up elsewhere for answers, but at least you'll know the questions to ask and often that's the most difficult part.

The second part of the book are detailed tutorials on setting up various development environments. While the tutorials are thorough and fairly well-written, they don't really contain any information that couldn't be obtained easily by searching on the internet.

The third part is a series of recipes and examples on how to make use of various PhoneGap API's. While this information can also be found on the internet, the commentary and analysis does prove helpful. I found myself wishing the recipes were more detailed, but this is still a useful section.
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Format: Paperback
I really wanted to like this book better, however as a more advanced Javascript, HTML, CSS developer I found the book tedious. The level of detail (click here, type this, right-click there) makes finding the hidden gems (what does/doesn't work on certain devices, oddities and pitfalls of doing certain things) a real pain. Mostly I would have prefered to see a high level summary at the start of the more detail sections. For example, a statement such as: "In the next 20 pages we are going to download and install Eclipse, build the following directory structure, and create files that can be found on pages...". Instead one must read through the entire section, which I notice today when I picked up the book again to write this review, is very difficult to re-read (i.e. skim for information you remember reading near another subject, but don't remember all the details).

The third section discusses all the basic functionality that PhoneGap offers and in places offers some sage advice. But, it's again hard to find and would have benefited from a lot of "Warning!" and "Note" type call outs making the re-finding of them much easier. Instead it's organized exactly like the PhoneGap API website and with things changing a much as they are it's hard to say which is the better resource.

The only great part of the book is the first section where a high level overview of the history, development, building, testing, and general knowledge you can't find easily on the web are presented. I found this section well organized and it helped me to understand better how PhoneGap is setup to run on all devices it runs on.

Overall, it's a fine book for the beginner.
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