O'Reilly Book Reviewer

I review for the O'Reilly Blogger Review Program

Sunday, December 2, 2012

My Review of HTML5 and JavaScript Web Apps

This book rocks!

By sandyboy55 from St. Louis, MO on 12/2/2012


5out of 5

Pros: Helpful examples, Accurate, Well-written, Easy to understand, Concise

Best Uses: Novice, Intermediate, Expert

Describe Yourself: Developer, Technical Leader

Having met with Wesley Hales personally at the recent SAPInsider conference, I was pretty impressed with the quality of his presentation. Naturally I picked up this book as I wanted to learn more and I must say - This book rocks!

Today web app development is a convoluted place to be. Wesley Hales demystifies the landscape by explaining what has changed from the traditional client/server model. That is, the browser is the platform!!! The browser has traditionally been a thin interface between the user and the server and that has changed in recent years due to enormous strides in the JavaScript capabilities supported today.

I don't want to mention too many details of this book but do want to mention how much I thoroughly enjoyed reading each and every chapter and learned quite a few new things in each chapter, although I have been playing with HTML5 for more than a year now.


Friday, November 2, 2012

My Review of JavaScript and HTML5 at OSCON 2012

Just OK

By sandyboy55 from St Louis, MO on 11/2/2012


4out of 5

Pros: Easy to understand

Cons: Not comprehensive enough, Too basic

Best Uses: Intermediate, Novice

Describe Yourself: Developer

Compared to OSCON 2011, these set of videos are just OK. There is no introductory type videos but most of the videos are just general. The number of videos is lesser too compared to last year. The quality of the videos is great. The presenters are well-respected too.


Sunday, October 7, 2012

Video Review: An Introduction to iOS Programming by Alasdair Allan

An Introduction to iOS Programming

From Getting the SDK to Submitting Your First App
This is an insanely great video for those starting out fresh with iOS Programming. iOS programming is much more complex than Android programming due to the large initial setup and licensing agreements. This video makes it easy to understand what exactly needs to be done and when. The author has made it look dead simple. Making absolutely no assumptions whatsoever! I was amazed at the detail oriented coaching that the author has put through with this video. It covers everything from the basics to getting your app prepared for sale on the app store and uploading it to iTunes Connect. This is so much better than reading a book. I was able to play the video side by side on a dual-screen with me trying out stuff in the first screen. It was an enjoyable experience.

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Book Review: Super Scratch Programming Adventure by The Lead Project (O"Reilly)

Scratch is developed by the Lifelong Kindergarten Group at the MIT Media Lab, with financial support from the National Science Foundation, Microsoft, Intel Foundation, MacArthur Foundation, Google, Iomega and MIT Media Lab research consortia.

I had heard of Scratch before but I didn't know what age group of kids it targetted. I assumed it was for teenagers that had an interest in computing but weren't interested in developing heavy-weight enterprise level projects. Since my kids are not teenagers yet, I put Scratch on the backburner. I was wrong!!!

This book made me rethink the target userbase for Scratch as anyone 8 and above (although 7-years olds will do well too!). Each page in the book is very colorful and full of graphics which makes it a pleasure to read for kids as well as adults (me!). I thoroughly enjoyed reading each page as I felt like a little boy out on an adventure. Once I did completed this book, I got my kid started and enjoyed his feelings and thoughts on Scratch. He hasn't completed the book yet but I know he will go slow and steady on it.. probably reading a chapter a week. This is his third week and he is on chapter 3 and he hasn't put the book down yet. I don't think he will!

Friday, September 7, 2012

Book Review: What's new in CSS3 by Estelle Weyl (O"Reilly)

If you are a serious HTML5/CSS3/JavaScript developer, chances are you have heard of Estelle Weyl, seen her presenting at OSCON and other conferences, or bookmarked her standardista.com website. Estelle Weyl is a very popular speaker and author so I was naturally excited to get this book. For the most part it is good stuff.

This book is a very very brief overview of what's happening in the CSS3 world of specs and recommendations. Most of the chapters are extremely small. For example, Chapter 10 and 11 are just one paragraph each. Chapter 9 is just two pages. The writing is of high quality just like the author. However, I am slightly disappointed by the total lack of any depth in the book. It would easily have been an article on the web or just a blog. The actual book content (excluding TOC, Preface, etc) is about 25 pages. If you remove the last pages of the chapters that are just a paragraph long, it's even lesser.

In short, I absolutely love the author and am a huge fan of her presentations on OSCON and other conferences. This book falls short of my expectations, not in the quality of the content but in the lack thereof.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Book Review: WebGL: Up and Running by Tony Parisi (O'Reilly)

This book makes it easy to learn WebGL. Although not targetted for advanced users, it made it easy for me to understand WebGL and the three.js library. Honestly, I haven't worked in 3D so most of the concepts were pretty new to me. This book cleared some of the concepts and didn't overwhelm me with complexity. Tony Parisi has definitely taken care to keep it simple and useful.

There isn't much coverage on how WebGL works natively and I probably don't need to learn that. What I got out of this book are concepts and more depth on three.js and for a beginner, that's more than enough.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Book Review: Head First HTML and CSS, 2nd Edition (O'Reilly) by Elisabeth Robson, Eric Freeman

There are two kinds of people in this world - those who know Elisabeth Robson and Eric Freeman and those who don't. If you have read any of the "Head First" series of books, you would know why the web developers love these guys. "Head First HTML, CSS, and XHTML" was a super-hit when it launched and most of us, including me, had great pleasure reading it. The book is back with a refresh and with a couple of new chapters on HTML5 and also loss of a chapter on XHTML. If you are a fan of the "Head First" series, then this is the book to get on HTML and CSS before you venture out to "Head First HTML5".

Since I had read the first edition, it was great to quickly skim through this book and stop occasionally to read some new material. My only disappointment was that there was no in-depth coverage of CSS3 but overall this book is worth it. I do hope the authors come up with a "Head First CSS3" book in the future. I would be the first to buy it.


Book Review: Windows PowerShell for Developers by Douglas Finke (O'Reilly)

To be honest with you, I had just a slight idea what Windows PowerShell was. I had never used it before but I had heard of it being a scripting language for .NET and the Windows Platform. Similar to what BeanShell provides for Java. There is a lack of resources on Powershell that explains the power you can unleash for automation, testing, repititive tasks,etc. This book explains the concepts step by step so that not just the pros but also regular developers can take a shot at using it without fear.

The first three chapters are very basic and are devoted just to help you get started. This includes installation for the different flavors of Windows and also the language constructs. They are very well written so that the reader gets curious to continue reading more. The rest of the book takes a deep dive into explaining how to embed PowerShell in your applicaiton, use it with web services, XML and JSON processing. It also shows how to create UIs and interacting with DLLs. I found interacting with DLLs very useful as I needed to do that for one of my projects which had a third-party DLL and I wasn't ready to buy Visual Studio and learn C# .NET just to play with the DLL. This book helped me quickly get started on doing that.

This book is definitely for any developer, not just .NET or Java or Ruby or Python developers. If you are working on the Windows Platform, regardless of your language of choice, this book will take you to new heights. As a plus, it offers an overview of PowerShell V3 and Windows 8 so that you are ahead of the curve.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Review: Velocity Conference 2012: Complete Video Compilation

The Velocity Conference motto is  "Building a Faster and Strong Web". As such, the conference is focused on Web Performance and Operations. This conference is targetted for web professionals from companies of all sizes. I happen to be one of those web professionals. Unfortunately, this year I couldn't go. Or so I thought until I got access to this video compilation of all sessions! I am happy again.

The whole gamut of web performance has been covered in this video sessions. All the sessions are pretty good so I am unable to say "this one was better than that one". Also, I haven't watched all the videos since it covers whole 3 days. I do make it a point to watch in my infinite spare time and I learn something new each time. Regardless, these videos are making me smarter and standing out at my work place. It's been incredible. I strongly recommend this compilation to anyone wanting to make a difference in their app performance.  

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Book Review: Mobile JavaScript Application Development: Bringing Web Programming to Mobile Devices by Adrian Kosmaczewski (O'Reilly)

This is an excellent book that focuses on using Javascript (and only Javascript with HTML and CSS) for mobile application development. The author introduces HTML5 in chapter 1 which is a must for developing using Javascript on the mobile devices. He also introduces the Modernizer library to test for HTML5 features for cross-browser compatibility. Snippets of code that introduce the reader to Geolocation, Orientation, Device motion, Network connectivity, Canvas, Client-side storage, etc, set the base for the future chapters. Chapter 2 is a quick introduction on using Javascript productively by avoiding common pitfalls.

Chapters 3, 4, and 5 provide a detailed coverage on jQuery Mobile, Sencha Touch, and PhoneGap. These are the leading frameworks for Javascript Mobile development. Chapter 6 completes the gap by going over debugging and testing using Jasmine and Siesta and other tools, like Adobe Shadow and iWebInspector. Chapter 7 concludes by providing a comparison of various frameworks and when to use what.

Overall, this book is very pleasant to read and is really geared towards folks evaluating different JavaScript mobile frameworks and didn't know where to start. This book will make it easy for you to decide what's suitable for your application.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Video Review: Fluent Conference: JavaScript & Beyond Complete Video Compilation

I think this is the first time that O'Reilly has held a JavaScript & Beyond conference totally focused on JavaScript based technologies. The video compilation is an excellent collection of presentations from the stalwarts who have defined and shaped the JavaScript industry.

If you can make time for 54 hours or even half of that, you would come out technically stronger and make an impressive impact at your workplace. I was amazed at some of the presenters' in-depth knowledge and command of the technology while appreciating the simplicity in presenting the concepts. I have watched about half of this compilation and I am going to watch the other half including keynotes. I have already started making an impact at work with the knowledge gained from these videos. I feel more empowered to talk about concepts at work since they are now clear.

If you missed attending the conference in person, this is the next best thing and there is no doubt about it. It's totally worth the money even if you watch half of the videos.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Web Design Bibliography (O' Reilly)

This is a good compilation of web design related categories. The categories are classified into - Web design fundamentals, Planning, Web Coding, Web Design Toolkit, Usability, Imagery and Illustration, Advanced Graphic Design, Design Lifestyle and Business, Mobile Design, and Content Management Systems.

This book provides a handy reference to all currently available books on Safari pertaining to a particular category. Safari online links are provided for each item.

My only disappointment is that all of the items listed in this book are Safari online items. There are no references to anything outside of Safari like blogs, web articles, etc. This makes the book appear more like a Safari catalog than a bibliography.

Friday, June 29, 2012

Book Review: The Manga Guide to Linear Algebra by Shin Takahashi (Trend-Pro Co Ltd)

To be honest I haven't touched Linear Algebra for 20+ years. I had a gruelling time in high school just trying to keep up with an insane syllabus that I didn't have the time to really understand the purpose of Linear Algebra in real life. To make it worse, my professors didn't bother to explain either as they had a lot of topics to cover in very little time. So it was all mechanical learning trying to solve problems and proofs without understanding why. I always had this feeling in me that my learning of linear algebra was incomplete in spite of scoring well in Math. So 20 years later I picked up this book out of sheer curiosity whether my learning could be completed.

I must say I am very impressed with the approach of this book. The author has made learning delightful using a comic format with two kids - one a math wiz trying to explain it to the other who is struggling. At a steady pace, the book covers a lot of the basic concepts of linear algebra like vectors, matrices, Gaussian elimination, subspaces, dimension, and linear span. The author makes it interesting by explain how they apply in computer graphics, cryptography, and engineering. I finished reading the entire book in 3 hours! It all just came back to me after 20+ years! Thanks to this book, I am glad that my kids will not be struggling to understand math when they go to high school.

Albert Einstein said, "You have really learned something if you can explain it to your grandmother". I can confidently say I have learned the concepts of Linear Algebra thanks to this book and I can teach it to my grandmother (if she is willing to learn!).

Monday, June 25, 2012

Book Review: Enterprise JavaBeans 3.1, 6th Edition (O'Reilly) by Andrew Lee Rubinger and Bill Burke

I was not a big fan of EJBs as the previous versions of the spec left me baffled and frustrated. I kept away from learning EJBs as not one at my work place seemed to care about them either. With EJB 3.1 there has been a renewed interest on this topic and so I started reading "Enterprise JavaBeans 3.1, 6th Edition - O'Reilly".

I think the authors have done a good job starting with the basics in the first section of the book explaining what the purpose of EJBs are and how the container takes care of providing services so we can focus on writing the business logic instead of re-writing plumbing and cross-cutting code.

Section two of the book provides chapters of the book provide a coverage on the various types of beans with practical examples on when each is suitable to use. I really enjoyed this section of the book as I could relate it with my daily life as a programmer.

Section three and four focus on Entity beans and Container services but I read them lightly as I don't have much interest in going too deep into those. Section five of the book wraps up with lots of practical examples (like recipes) on each bean type. I enjoyed reading this section of the book as well.

Overall, I think this book is much better than reading the EJB 3.1 spec online and the authors have done a great job in bringing the spec to life with practical examples and simplified language.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Book Review - Node: Up and Running by Tom Hughes-Croucher and Mike Wilson (O'Reilly)

If you have heard of Node (which true web developer hasn't!) but haven't had the courage to get your feet wet, Node: Up and Running (O'Reilly) is the book to get. In a true "up and running" style, this book assumes zero knowledge of Node, other than a familiarity with JavaScript. This book is well-written with lots of example code snippets generously thrown inside the book.

This book is not the book to learn JavaScript. The authors have provided clear and concise examples on using Node to assist you as much as possible to write robust, scalable, and maintainable Node applications. I haven't seen a better book on Node and the material online just doesn't compare.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Book Review: Just Spring Integration by Madhusudhan Konda (O'Reilly)

This is a concise, well-thoughtout book, with absolutely no fluff. Madhusudhan has done a great job of simplifying the landscape of Spring Integration into seven useful chapters. The first two chapters lay the groundwork of spring integration covering how and why spring makes business-2-business and application-2-application integration simple. I always thought spring integration was complex until I read this book. Chapters 3 and 4 cover message channels and endpoints in more depth. No discussion of spring integration is complete without discussion how to transform data from one format to another and that is covered in Chapter 5. Chapter 6 covers flow components and Chapter 7 finishes the book with a coverage of the various adapters like file, FTP, JMS, and JDBC.

Overall, I must applaud the author for keeping it simple and to the point and not using any fluff or unnecessary words to fill pages in the book. I really enjoy this style of writing as it helps me keep the focus and also use this book as a ready reference in case of emergency.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Video Review: Strata Conference Santa Clara 2012: Complete Video Compilation

Video Review: Strata Conference Santa Clara 2012: Complete Video Compilation
The Business of Data
Alasdair Allan

This is an excellent video compilation by all measurable standards. I had absolutely just a little idea was Hadoop was and very little knowledge about the challenges facing today's world in "Big Data" terms that traditional databases (SQL!) were not able to meet. I absolutely loved watching all of the Hadoop videos. I admit I was totally biased towards Hadoop as that is the next big thing at my work place and everyone wants to jump in. This video series has made me quite competent and confident in speaking about Hadoop, discussing ideas with my superior and peers, and earning tremendous respect with other virtual teams at my work place. I didn't miss being at the conference at all. This video takes you right there. Anyway, I wouldn't have had the time to be at all the sessions unless I cloned myself. This entire compilation let's me watch videos on my time.

I will be watching videos on the other topics like Geo Data visualization, Apache Cassandra, etc, when I am a little bit over the Hadoop fever. This is a priceless collection!

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Book Review: 20 Recipes for Programming PhoneGap: Cross-Platform Mobile Development for Android and iPhone by Jamie Munro

This is a small, concise book of about 76 pages containing a variety of recipes using PhoneGap to build device agnostic applications using GPS location, maps, media, accelerometers, and much more. This book assumes you already know the basics of PhoneGap and will point you to the "Getting Started" link if you are not already familiar with using PhoneGap. You will also need to download jQuery and jQuery mobile library and setup your system before trying any of the recipes. It's not that difficult though and you should be doing that before picking this recipe book.

Each of the 20 recipe provides a systematic Problem/Solution/Discussion/Code format. From simple recipes to detect if the device is ready, detecting network status changes, retrieving device information, the book advances to more complicated recipes like using the GPS and displaying a position on a map, using the compass for navigation, using the accelerometer, etc. It also has recipes on saving data to a remote server, capturing audio and video, and extending PhoneGap with plug-ins.

The nice thing about this book is that it is easy to read and recipes can be quickly tried out. I finished reading this book in about an hour. It has found a place in my reference shelf to reach out to when needed.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Book Review: Mobile Design Pattern Gallery by Theresa Neil (O'Reilly)

Mobile apps have become quite the rage. Forget about consumer apps, these days even enterprise IT teams have been asked to develop corporate apps for the tablet. I was quite surprised myself when my project lead took me aside the other day and asked me, "When can we have a lite version of our web app on the iPad?". A lite version! I had no idea what that meant or where to begin. For sure I knew that the web app that looks super cool on the desktop would look like a disaster on the tablet. Think Mobile First! Who does that? Certainly not me. Old UI habits die hard. However, as Darwin said, "It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent that survives. It is the one that is the most adaptable to change."

I knew I had to start with my screens. Unfortunately my years of knowledge of desktop browser UI designing was of not much use. I can throw a hundred UI components in the desktop browser and it will just work. Mobile UI design is a totally different ball game. So I got this book!

This book will not teach you mobile programming. There are plenty of other books to do that. This is the ONLY reliable book that has a catalog of all mobile UI design patterns. Do you like the Facebook and LinkedIn apps? Did you know the names of the layouts for each of the screens in those apps? I didn't until I read this book. I learned quite a lot about designing navigation, forms, tables & lists, searching, charts, etc. The chapter on designing Invitations was pretty intuitive. I really hadn't noticed the power of invitations and how useful they are for mobile apps until I read this chapter. The book ends with a powerful chapter on anti-patterns - things not to do in a mobile app should be a part of your strategy in designing your mobile apps. Appendix at the end provide valuable additional resources including the website of this book. Also provided is a summary of all the UI design gallery in this book so you can always go to the end of the book when you are in a hurry.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Book Review: jQuery Mobile: Up and Running by Maximiliano Firtman (O'Reilly)

jQuery Mobile has taken the world of mobile development by storm. With an incredible fully enhanced A-grade AJAX support for all the major platforms and desktop browsers, it has become a viable choice to start coding mobile applications quickly compared to the step learning curve for native development. Not only that, you can also deploy your jQuery mobile webapp natively to many mobile devices using the phenomenal PhoneGap. This book will teach you how.

One of the drawbacks of this book is that it assumes you know jQuery, which is fine for the most part. Event handling and Theme rolling are explained very nicely. You would need another jQuery book to supplement this jQuery Mobile book.

You don't need this book if you are not doing any mobile development but, if you are, then this is one of the books you must have on your bookshelf (or a mobile device like Kindle or iPad).

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Book Review: The Little Book on CoffeeScript by Alex MacCaw

Whether you love it or hate it, JavaScript is back with a louder than ever bang, thanks largely to HTML5. However, frameworks like JQuery provide concise syntax that eliminates the need to write buggy and verbose code. So why CoffeeScript? Curiosity led me to pick up this "little book". It turns out that CoffeeScript is a language that compiles down to JavaScript with a syntax inspired by Ruby and Python. In a little book of 6 chapters and 48 pages, Alex MacCaw cuts to the chase and explains the nuts and bolts of CoffeeScript neatly.

In the first chapter, the author goes over the CoffeeScript syntax, variables, scope, functions, looping, flow control, etc - the usual, gentle, "hello world" type introduction. Things start getting interesting from chapter 2 as the book dives into CoffeeScript classes and goes into a little bit more detail into OO related topics pertaining to CoffeeScript. Chapter 3 covers CoffeeScript idioms like iterating over arrays, using Maps, select filtering, and other operations related to arrays. This chapter also covers how to use external libraries (like JQuery) which is extremely useful.

Chapter 4 introduces the Cake (yummy!) build system to compile CoffeeScript. This is the best chapter in my opinion as it contains detailed information on how to maintain your code and not let it burgeon into sphagetti. I was delightfully surprised to see a section on deployment with Heroku. Chapter 5 guides you into avoiding pitfalls using CoffeeScript. This is really good to know as it will avoid hours of debugging later. Chapter 6 provides a conclusion about the intent and philosophy of CoffeeScript emphasizing that "It's Just JavaScript". The book invokes your curiosity to try out other compile-to-JavaScript languages on your own. The book will not make you an expert in CoffeeScript but does a great job of laying down a strong foundation.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Book Review: Beginning PhoneGap by Thomas Myer (John Wiley & Sons, Inc)

There are two times PhoneGap made big waves in the mobile developer community. The first time was when the first PhoneGap code was authored at the San Francisco iPhoneDevCamp in August 2008. The second time was at the Adobe MAX in October 2011 when Adobe announced that it had bought Nitobi, the maker of PhoneGap. PhoneGap is an amazing technology that lets you unleash mobile applications to 7 platforms using the same code base. It makes the "write once, deploy anywhere" aspiration come true. Beginning PhoneGap by Thomas Myer is an excellent book to get started with PhoneGap.

This book is targetted for anyone with an intermediate knowledge of HTML, CSS, and JavaScript that is looking to develop mobile applications quickly using PhoneGap. Step-by-Step the author explain using PhoneGap to develop applications for the 3 major platforms - iOS, Android, and Blackberry, with an honorable mention of the other platforms like Symbian and WebOS. The first three chapters are devoted to learning the basics of setting up PhoneGap on your machine. From chapter 4 through chapter 14, the author dives straight into the PhoneGap API with Events, Network and Notifications, Accelerometer, Compass, Geolocation, Media, Camera, Storage, Files, Contacts, and Capture. Each chapter introduces the topic, provides sample codes to try out, then explains clearly what the code does. The last chapter contains information on how to design and build an app from scratch using the Capture, Geolocation, Storage, and Files API.

There is very little fluff and lots of useful and to-the-point stuff. I finished reading the first five chapters in less than an hour. I was able to finish the rest of the book over the weekend. The author has provided lots of screenshots and sample code to make it easy to learn. Buy this book and make your PhoneGap foundation strong. I strongly believe PhoneGap has a promising future and this book is the first step to lead you there.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Book Review: Software Change Management: Case Studies and Practical Advice by Donald Reifer

Unlike other books on Software Change Management, Donald Reifer brings a fresh new perspective dedicated to the fearless few and brave agents of change. Introducing or changing software processes is not for the faint of heart but Donald bring his decades of mastery in this field into a dozen chapters with 10 real-life scenarios. The nice thing about this book is that it explains how to introduce change by using sensible and politically sound tactics. Indeed some change agents fail miserably because even though their intent was good, their expressions might come across as combative and without senior management buy-in. This book teaches not just "what" to do but also "how" to do it and what to "watch out" for.

This book is targeted for Project Managers, CIOs, Senior management, and anyone desiring to be a lean practitioner in the IT industry. Overall, the author has done an excellent job writing this book unlike other books on this topic that are quite dry.

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Book Review: Arduino Cookbook by Michael Margolis

The best way to describe Arduino is "open-source electronics". The hardware and software combination provides a platform for interactivity designers to prototype embedded devices before beginning any mass production. Arduino cookbook is one of the best books I have read on this platform that explains step-by-step how to program and build interesting circuits that fascinate and make you stand out among your peers.

This book assumes no previous knowledge on the part of the reader. Indeed you must have some basic understanding of electronics but just enough to be able to connect the Arduino board to your PC and also install and run the IDE software. If you know just that much, this book will take you to the next level. The information on Arduino is so scattered on the Arduino website and other sites, this book will provide the basis for a strong foundation for you. I like the style of cookbooks in general as "problem statements" and "solutions" are presented together followed by a "discussion" paragraph. This is a huge book of 724 pages covering the entire gamut of simple programming, serial communication, analog and digital input, using sensors, visualizing the output, audio output, etc. It has entire chapters devoted to I2C and SPI communications, wireless, and Ethernet networking. Followed by a chapter on creating your own libraries. The appendix sections at the end help you understand about electronic components, schematic diagrams and data sheets, using a breadboard to build and connect the circuits, and tips on troubleshooting software and hardware problems. You can grab this book as an absolute beginner and graduate to become an Arduino master at the end.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Book Review: Head First Mobile Web by Lyza Danger Gardner and Jason Grigsby (O'Reilly)

First of all, I am a big fan of the Head First series. That doesn't necessarily mean I have read all the books in the series. However, for the most part, the books that I have read have consistently reinforced my knowledge in that subject area. By creatively repeating the concepts via different perspectives, like two inanimate objects engaged in a debate, interviewing of a new technology, bubble speeches, etc, the books are a pleasure to read and absorb. I feel that the authors have put a lot of work into making difficult concepts easier to understand.

The Head-First Mobile book is an exceptional book. The mobile development space is obfuscated by the variety of technologies, devices, screen sizes, and so on. This book dispels the complexity and puts everything in perspective. For example, it talks about responsive web design in which you can adjust the formatting of your content dynamically depending on the device that is asking for the content, all done using the same HTML and CSS file. How cool is that! Later chapters talk about intermediate and advanced concepts like mobile-optimized websites, device databases, and mobile development frameworks. All in all, this book does a great job of demystifying the complex workspace of mobile application development and clearly explains how to design and develop bullet-proof websites.