jQuery Mobile: Up and Running

Author: Maximiliano Firtman
Publisher: O'Reilly
Pages: 272
ISBN: 978-1449397654
Audience: JavaScript programmers
Rating: 4.5
Reviewer: Ian Elliot

jQuery Mobile is an easy way to build mobile apps using nothing but JavaScript, HTML and CSS. Does "Up and Running" cover it all?

The most important thing to point out is the jQuery Mobile is not jQuery. This book covers only jQuery Mobile and some reviews that have criticized it for not explaining selectors, or jQuery in general, should be ignored. If you want to know about jQuery you need a different book.

jQuery Mobile is best described as a uniform app construction kit that allows you to build mobile apps using nothing but standard web technologies and yet have the app look more like a native app. The construction kit also does its best to smooth out the differences between mobile browsers but it has to admit defeat in the case of some primitive browsers so what you get isn't 100% platform independent.

One other area that jQuery mobile doesn't tackle is the problem of using the phone or tablets hardware. For this you need an additional technology such as PhoneGap or you need to try to figure out your own way though the mess that is the current HTML5 standardization for mobile APIs.

 

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This book starts off with a look at what mobile is all about, the problem that jQuery Mobile attempts to solve and how it does it. Chapter 2 moves on to actually getting and using the framework. It then moves on to explain the basics of building an app. This is really the only difficult part of understanding what jQuery does. Its architecture replaces HTTP page fetching with an Ajax layer that downloads pages in the background and shows them using transition effects. When it works it all looks so much better. In this one short chapter you meet pages, navigation, dialogs and the use of URI schemes to integrate with the phone. It is a lot to take in so early but once you emerge from Chapter 2 you have the core of jQuery Mobile mastered.

From here the book goes over specific aspects of using jQuery Mobile. Chapter 3 deals with the UI components - Toolbars and buttons. Next we have lists and forms including the usual controls - labels, text fields, sliders, date fields, select menus, radio buttons, checkboxes and file uploading.

Chapter 6 moves on to consider the interaction of jQuery Mobile with the reset of the system - events, CSS and so on. Chapter 7 is all about themes - the jQuery UI way of changing the way things look in a single operation.

Chapter 8 is an important one as it deals with making your app work off-line. This should probably be an earlier chapter because it provides another architectural layer for more jQuery Mobile apps that really does have to be mastered and mostly without the help of jQuery Mobile. After this we have a chapter devoted to a complete example on extending the framework, i.e. writing a plugin. Finally we have packaging your apps for stores including a very brief look at using PhoneGap.

Overall this is quite a good book. It will explain to you the basics of using jQuery Mobile and it takes you far enough for you to be able to create apps that don't use the device hardware except in very simple ways. The explanations of how things work are good but there is a tendency to be repetitive and occasionally things could be presented in a more logical and easier to understand way. Even so it mostly all works as an introduction to jQuery Mobile. As long as you know HTML and JavaScript well then this is a good place to get started with building web apps that run on most mobile platforms.

 

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Building Enterprise Applications with WPF and MVVM

Author: Raffaele Garofalo
Publisher: Microsoft Press, 2011
Pages: 224
ISBN: 978-0735650923
Aimed at: WPF developers
Rating: 1
Pros: Good explanation of some difficult ideas
Cons: Fragmented and disorganized
Reviewed by: Mike James

This book seems to be of specific interest to those working with Windows Pres [ ... ]



Making Embedded Systems

Author: Elecia White
Publisher: O'Reilly, 2011
Pages:328
ISBN: 978-1449302146
Aimed at: Programmers wanting to get into embedded
Rating: 4
Pros: Insightful
Cons: Not specific enough to be practical
Reviewed by: Harry Fairhead

The idea of getting programmers interested in embedded systems is a good one but  [ ... ]


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