Author: Duncan Campbell
Publisher: Peachpit Press, 2009
Aimed at: Neither beginners nor advanced iPhone developers
Pros: Short practical examples
Cons: Disjointed, doesn't cover enough
Reviewed by: Harry Fairhead
This is a very straightforward introduction to creating applications for the iPhone. It starts off with an introduction to Objective-C and Cocoa. To make any sense of the book you need to know how to program in an object-oriented language such as C#, C++ or Java.
The ideas are introduced quite rapidly and with little spoon feeding. It also has to be said that there is a lot of white space in this book with most of the pages only containing a single narrow column where there is most certainly room for two columns.
By the end of Chapter 1 you have a rough idea what makes Objective C different but you really have no idea what Cocoa is all about.
Chapter Two moves on to tools and covers Xcode, the iPhone Simulator and Interface Builder. The treatment is fairly slight and in most cases you could work out for yourself how to create a new file and so on.
Chapter 3 moves on to "Common Tasks" and it is here that we start to put everything together and actually build an application but as the title suggests things are introduced in almost any order. I really isn't until Chapter 4 that we meet the iPhone user interface. In this case everything is done in code and the Interface Builder is mostly ignored.
Chapter 5 goes deeper into Tabs and Tables, Chapter 6 deals with files and networking and the book concludes with Chapters 7 and 8 on touch and location respectively. Nowhere is there anything like a complete example and to get anything at all from the book you have to be a fairly confident programmer. The topics covered are also fairly arbitrary and often lack depth.
What this means is that book isn't suitable for the beginner and it might well run out of steam for the more advanced programmer. The fact that it doesn't make heavy use of the Interface Builder is also a negative point for the beginner. If you just happen to fit into the narrow band of experience that the book is suitable for it might get you up to speed in a fairly painless way, but you will need another more advanced book to complete your education.