Author: Jennifer Kyrnin
Aimed at: Presumably aspiring mobile developers
Pros: Over in 24 hours
Cons: Not about programming, insufficient and misleading coverage of mobile issues
Reviewed by: Lucy Black
This is another learn everything you need to know in 24 hours, or rather 24 sessions, book from Sams. This time the task looks almost possible, because the book, at fewer than 500 pages, is comparatively thin.
The real question however is, what exactly the author has in mind for the term "Mobile Application Development"?
In fact all we get is an account of more or less traditional HTML5 application construction with the occasional mention of the fact that the page will be viewed on a small screen with limited power. You could probably learn as much from a book focusing on mainstream HTML5 app creation. To be clear, this book isn't really about mobile anything.
In addition there are very few explanations of how mobile apps are different. For example, in the CSS3 account there is little to no mention of vendor prefixes. If you are going to code for a webkit browser, which is what you mostly find on a mobile device, then you are going to have to use vendor prefixes to make it all work better than average.
There is also a very strange attitude towards IE, which seems to paint it as being the most evil thing ever invented. I agree there are problems with Microsoft's attitude towards standards, but it isn't as bad as it used to be and IE9 (and the soon-to-be-released IE10) supports most of HTML5 as well as the other browsers.
Another problem is the way that the capabilities of browsers are described in vague and often contradictory terms. One minute a browser hardly supports HTML5 and then it seems to be OK to use.
Part II is titled Learning the HTML5 Essentials - which raises the question of what we have been learning up to this point? It covers the semantic use of HTML5, Canvas, fonts, audio, video, forms, editing, microformats, drag and drop and HTML5 links. This is all a very conventional look at the technologies that are generally part of HTML5 application development. Again the coverage is very shallow.
Part III is titled HTML5 for Mobile Web Applications - which once again raises the question of what we have been learning about so far? The topics covered include webSockets, web workers, offline web apps, web storage, the history API, geolocation and converting to a native app. Again all of these are standard HTML5 topics and not much is special to a mobile app - except of course for the information in the final chapter which discusses native apps. Here you will find out the difference between an HTML5 app and a native app and what is involved in creating one. PhoneGap is mentioned, but it is all too brief, too shallow and far too late.
Overall this is not a good book. It is basically about creating HTML5 applications in a general context with a few comments thrown in about mobile. There are lots of alternative books that cover the same ground more completely or in more depth.
If you already know how to create an HTML5 app then you will still know how to at the end of the book - but I doubt you will add significantly to your knowledge of mobile HTML5 apps. If you don't know how to create an HTML5 app then you still won't at the end of the book. As a result you can give this one a miss.