16 July 2011

Book Review--jQuery Mobile

jQuery Mobile
by Jon Reid
O’Reilly 2011

O’Reilly Publishing provided me access to an electronic copy of this book for review purposes.

Mobile technology is developing at a rapid pace.  Where once people accessed content via mobile webpages they now want to access content via mobile appls.  And for designers this poses a major problem.  How do you design an app that works on all platforms?  Do you pick one and hope for the best? Or do you design for them all?  Thankfully a new option is being developed.  jQuery Mobile, based upon the popular jQuery library, is a package currently being developed that will work on all platforms with no extra programming knowledge needed.  And I for one am really impressed with how easy and simple it is to develop with the current package of jQuery Mobile.  It’s clear that the programmers have put a lot of thought into making it as easy as possible to use, especially since it comes with a CSS style sheet and icons built into the package.

This jQuery Mobile guide may seem short at a 130 pages, but packs a lot of useful content.  The jQuery Mobile package is currently in beta 1 (the book covers alpha 4) and is based upon HTML5, CSS3, and JavaScript.  Jon states in the introduction this book works best if you’re already have basic familiarity with mobile browsers, the jQuery library, and basic designing for mobile webpages.  Jon provides copious screen shots and sections of code so that the reader can easily see how the package works and how to design their own apps based upon the jQuery package.  The book talks you through the basics of beginning with the package to building a working application that utilizes the Twitter API to design a working jQuery Twitter client that incorporates multiple pages and UI components.  My only real complaint about the book is that there's no index.  But if you're using the ebook version of the book it's easy enough to search and find what you need.

Basically if this your first dive into designing and developing with jQuery you may want to supplement the book with a jQuery guide (great documentation on the web or using something like "jQuery: Novice to Ninja" or "Learning jQuery 1.3"--a bit older but still good content.)  The book dives right into working with the code which is a great way to learn, especially since the author provides lots of examples of how to build the code and what it looks like on the mobile platform.  The book is written in an easy to understand format and that as long as you have some knowledge of how jQuery works you’ll have no trouble following along. 

I’m impressed with how well this short book is written.  It’s easy to use and easy to follow along.  My one note of concern (as some other reviewers have noted as well) is that the book is based upon the Alpha 4 release and we’re now into the Beta 1 release of the program.  That being said I would still recommend this book as a way to get a good idea of what can be done with package.

I review for the O'Reilly Blogger Review Program
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