O'Reilly Book Reviewer

I review for the O'Reilly Blogger Review Program

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).