PhoneGap 3 Beginner's Guide
PhoneGap 3 Beginner's Guide

Author: Giorgio Natili
Publisher: Packt
Pages: 308
ISBN: 978-1782160984
Audience: Experienced JavaScript Programmers
Rating: 3 
Reviewer: Alex Armstrong

PhoneGap is becoming increasingly influential and beginners need a place to get started. 

The big problem is that there are two components to creating a PhoneGap project - the native packaging and the HTML/JavaScript.

The HTML/JavaScript part is fairly straightforward and much like creating a web page or a web app. The packaging as a native app is much more tricky in that the programmer has to make use of the native programming environment. You don't have to write any code in the native development system but you do have to know how to crate a project and how to compile it. You also need to know how to submit it to the appropriate app store and all of these details differ between platforms. You might even have to go out an buy a Mac or a PC to run the necessary software. 

It is all very confusing and complex and this makes even this beginners book seem very complicated. It could have made things simpler by focusing on getting one of the platforms up and running - Android say - but this would leave users of the rest of the platforms out in the cold. 




Chapter 1 gets you started with PhoneGap and, be warned, it covers Android, IOS and Windows Phone. As already mentioned this makes it seem complicated. In practice it is unlikely that you would attempt to get started in all of the environments in one go. My advice is to skim read this chapter for general pointers and pick one environment to install and use. 

Chapter 2 gets even deeper into multi-platform development and discusses how to organise your HTML/JavaScript plus topics like remote debugging and so on.

Chapter 3 is a crash course on mobile JavaScript development. It isn't particularly logically presented so prepare yourself to spend some time working out what is going on and what is important. The next few chapters are similarly messy in that they deal with a wide range of topics put together in roughly related sections. 



The good news is that the book settles down at Chapter 6 and starts to explore the PhoneGap APi. Chapter 6 is about storage and the contacts API. At this point it is possible to focus on a single way of doing something and the book seems a lot simpler and easier to read. Chapter 7 continues with a look at the device sensors. Chapter 8 is about location data, Chapter 9 covers the file API and Chapter 10 deals with device media.  Chapter 11 brings the book to a close with a look at developing PhoneGap plugins.

Because of its attempt to cover everything, this is not a beginner's book. A beginner's book would probably have to start with how to develop a JavaScript web app and then move on to getting it running on the native platforms - perhaps one per chapter. The book is also littered with off-the-cuff comments that aren't going to be of any use to the complete beginner. For example, in a section on loose coupling one of the suggestions for how to achieve this is:

Create a client-side template engine based upon regular expressions able to render markup pieces within slots that must be filled by JavaScript.

I have no idea what this means, and this isn't the only place where casual comments are not really helpful to the beginner or even the expert. 

For the beginner, the additional problem is that the whole book isn't focused or logical and it doesn't succeed in making a difficult topic seem even a little bit easier. PhoneGap is an easy way to create near native apps on a range of phones but this books doesn't do much to convince you of this. 



Murach's jQuery 2e

Author: Zak Ruvalcaba & Anne Boehm
Publisher:  Murach 
Pages: 596 
ISBN: 978-1890774912
Print: 189077491X
Audience: Students and educators
Rating: 3.5
Reviewer: Ian Elliot

This is a very big book on jQuery. Does this JavaScript library deserve so much attention?

Python 3 Pocket Primer

Author: James R. Parker
Publisher: Mercury
Pages: 250
ISBN: 978-1683920861
Print: 1683920864
Kindle: B071CV9NXN
Audience: Beginning Python programmers
Rating: 3.5
Reviewer: Mike James
A handy pocket guide to Python 3 is worth knowing about.

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Last Updated ( Monday, 12 May 2014 )

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