I generally have a hard time with programming books. They are either too broadly focused and as a result never give enough truly useful information or they are so narrowly focused they are only useful if one is trying to solve exactly the problem the book is focusing on. When I agreed to review this book (in return for a copy), I expected to find it on one side or the other of that spectrum. I was very pleasantly surprised. Simply put,this book is not like that. The author has done an excellent job covering a very broad and potentially complex subject in enough detail to be useful without getting bogged down in minutiae.
Using practical examples of apps that one can actually see as being useful, the author provides both the general background and detailed coding examples to get you started coding with LiveCode and actually get your apps up and out the door on Android and iOS devices. The first part of the book provides a compact introduction to LiveCode geared towards those with some previous experience in Xtalk-like languages (HyperCard, SuperCard, MetaCard, etc). The intro may be a little too compact for non-programmers but the natural language character of LiveCode makes it less daunting and LiveCode's flexibility makes it well worth the effort.
Once through the familiarization section, the book takes off into the nuts and bolts of coding for mobile devices with LiveCode. The details are dealt with in a clear, concise manner with none of the common "fill in the missing pieces of code" parts that plague many other books. It focuses on three key apps: a web page data extractor (great for demonstrating internet connectivity and text handling), a jigsaw puzzle app (great for working with graphics) and a reminder app (great for working with time, location and notification features expected from today's apps). Once those are done, the book addresses how to get your app out of the development environment (i.e. stuck on your personal device) and into the real world including how to distribute to beta testers and app marketplaces.
The only significant issue I have with the book is that it addresses the challenges of graphic controls for mobile devices (and in particular the iOS devices) with a tool called MobGui which is not a part of LiveCode. I'm not sure a LiveCode for Beginners book should rely so heavily on an extra tool that one must pay for. In addition, MobGui appears not been updated in quite a while and may not be the best choice for the task at hand. That said, using MobGui for the interface elements does allow the author to move beyond the frustrating subject of building controls and geometry management for mobile devices and on to the more important (in my mind) details of coding in LiveCode... the official subject of the book.
All in all I believe this is an excellent book (and the only one!) for learning how easy it is to develop and deploy mobile apps using LiveCode