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The iPhone Developer's Cookbook: Building Applications with the iPhone SDK: Building Mobile Applications with the IPhone SDK (Developer's Library) [Paperback]

Erica Sadun
2.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)

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The Core iOS Developer's Cookbook (Developer's Library) The Core iOS Developer's Cookbook (Developer's Library) 5.0 out of 5 stars (1)
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Book Description

13 Oct 2008 Developer's Library

“This book would be a bargain at ten times its price! If you are writing iPhone software, it will save you weeks of development time. Erica has included dozens of crisp and clear examples illustrating essential iPhone development techniques and many others that show special effects going way beyond Apple’s official documentation.”

—Tim Burks, iPhone Software Developer, TootSweet Software


“Erica Sadun’s technical expertise lives up to the Addison-Wesley name. The iPhone Developer’s Cookbook is a comprehensive walkthrough of iPhone development that will help anyone out, from beginners to more experienced developers. Code samples and screenshots help punctuate the numerous tips and tricks in this book.”

—Jacqui Cheng, Associate Editor, Ars Technica


“We make our living writing this stuff and yet I am humbled by Erica’s command of her subject matter and the way she presents the material: pleasantly informal, then very appropriately detailed technically. This is a going to be the Petzold book for iPhone developers.”

—Daniel Pasco, Lead Developer and CEO, Black Pixel Luminance


The iPhone Developer’s Cookbook: Building Applications with the iPhone SDK should be the first resource for the beginning iPhone programmer, and is the best supplemental material to Apple’s own documentation.”

—Alex C. Schaefer, Lead Programmer, ApolloIM, iPhone Application Development Specialist, MeLLmo, Inc


“Erica’s book is a truly great resource for Cocoa Touch developers. This book goes far beyond the documentation on Apple’s Web site, and she includes methods that give the developer a deeper understanding of the iPhone OS, by letting them glimpse at what’s going on behind the scenes on this incredible mobile platform.”

—John Zorko, Sr. Software Engineer, Mobile Devices


The iPhone and iPod touch aren’t just attracting millions of new users; their breakthrough development platform enables programmers to build tomorrow’s killer applications. If you’re getting started with iPhone programming, this book brings together tested, ready-to-use code for hundreds of the challenges you’re most likely to encounter. Use this fully documented, easy-to-customize code to get productive fast—and focus your time on the specifics of your application, not boilerplate tasks.


Leading iPhone developer Erica Sadun begins by exploring the iPhone delivery platform and SDK, helping you set up your development environment, and showing how iPhone applications are constructed. Next, she offers single-task recipes for the full spectrum of iPhone/iPod touch programming jobs:

  • Utilize views and tables
  • Organize interface elements
  • Alert and respond to users
  • Access the Address Book (people), Core Location (places), and Sensors (things)
  • Connect to the Internet and Web services
  • Display media content
  • Create secure Keychain entries
  • And much more


You’ll even discover how to use Cover Flow to create gorgeous visual selection experiences that put scrolling lists to shame!


This book is organized for fast access: related tasks are grouped together, and you can jump directly to the right solution, even if you don’t know which class or framework to use. All code is based on Apple’s publicly released iPhone SDK, not a beta. No matter what iPhone projects come your way, The iPhone Developer’s Cookbook will be your indispensable companion.


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The iPhone Developer's Cookbook: Building Applications with the iPhone SDK: Building Mobile Applications with the IPhone SDK (Developer's Library) + Beginning iPhone Development: Exploring the iPhone SDK
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Product details

  • Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Addison Wesley; 1 edition (13 Oct 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0321555457
  • ISBN-13: 978-0321555458
  • Product Dimensions: 22.9 x 17.8 x 2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 2.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 751,728 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

More About the Author

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Product Description



About the Author

Erica Sadun has written, coauthored, and contributed to about three dozen books about technology, particularly in the areas of programming, digital video, and digital photography. An unrepentant geek, Sadun has never met a gadget she didn’t need. Her checkered past includes run-ins with NeXT, Newton, iPhone, and myriad successful and unsuccessful technologies. When not writing, she and her geek husband parent three adorable geeks-in-training, who regard their parents with restrained bemusement.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
30 of 31 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Colour me unimpressed! 10 Nov 2008
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I've learned a large number of languages, toolkits and SDKs over the years and been part of the review process of a fairly well known book as well, so believe me when I say this is not a great quality book!

If you read the back cover and even the prerequisites, you might think this book is for you. The prerequisites page only mentions the following with regards to knowledge required: "Familiarity with Objective-C". No mention is made of familiarity with writing software for OS X, but by page 23 we're seeing statements like "These essential frameworks enable you to build your iPhone applications using the same fundamental classes and calls you are familiar with from the Macintosh". This is followed on 24 by a comment about Info.plist - "It works the same way Info.plist files work on the Mac." Even as early as page 7 we're seeing things like "As with the Macintosh..." This book does not stand well on its own and that will make it less accessible to some people.

Then we get to the missing stuff - in the very first project, we're instructed to "Drag the three image files from the Chapter One Project folder provided with this book..." Provided where? There's no CD in the back, and I've not found anything in Chapter 1 so far that tells me where this resource is supposed to be included.

The first code listing spans almost two full pages as a single block of text. While the code is commented, there is no in-line breakdown of what each section is and you'll find yourself flipping back to previous pages to tie what you read there back to the code being displayed. Once this two page block of code is over, you don't see it again during this chapter - there is no further discussion of the code so you have to take it on faith for now and learn about it later.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
By Seraph
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I was utterly disappointed with this book as I've been a long-time reader of Erica's posts on and have enjoyed her efforts on MacBreakWeekly and her less official iPhone development.

Unfortunately the problem with this book is that she is too experienced to talk to anyone but other experienced developers. With her 'Hello World' app, traditionally the first app you will learn to write in any language, you are told to throw away parts of the folder structure that Apple sets up in XCode, along with some of the pre-written code and use the code she writes with absolutely no real explanation of why. The net effect is to leave you utterly lost, not really knowing what you can and cannot do with the tools you are given.

The second problem is that it seems that Erica seems to have written the book in a huge hurry. No time is taken to explain anything. Maybe I'm not the target audience for the book but I was absolutely none the wiser about the basic tools in the SDK after reading the first thirty or so pages and I am an object-oriented ActionScript developer with some experience with the MVC design pattern so should have some affinity with the OOP code used in Objective-C (even if the syntax is a bit more alien).

I have since bought Beginning iPhone Development - Exploring the iPhone SDK by Dave Mark and Jeff LaMarche and have found it's pace much more manageable and feel much more able to take on the examples after reading through the theory.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Just to give a reference for my perspective - I have a software engineering degree, 12 years of commercial experience from engineering through to technical product management with the majority of technologies out there (including ARM ASM/C/C++/Java etc). I've been programming Objective-C for several months on the Mac for home projects quickly transitioning using Hillegass' great OSX starter book.

The book isn't what I'd hoped for. The author is obviously intelligent but lacks the focus to bring that intelligence to either a beginner or a seasoned professional transitioning from other languages. The information is badly laid out and missing vital subjects that hamper dropping into sections when referring back to it.
I found myself ready to burn the book on more than one occasion and certainly does not live up to the other Developer's Library books.

The book in use
The book itself seems to be designed to start from page one and read to page 336. The subject matter isn't clearly defined into sections to reference and stops short of providing real world actual components (such as switching view controllers). I found myself attempting answer "I want to make it do X" but then failed to find the starting point to reference.

There are some interesting points raised about general usability - the user will use then resume their session later - which shows some experience with real world. There's also some examples of funky ideas and some guidance with what Apple will accept in terms of user experience.

There is one single example program project that accumulates as it runs through the book and often in the middle of the chapter it will instruct to "delete the source files" rather than make a point of starting a new project. To me this is lazy and makes it hard to follow.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Not really for iPhone SDK programmers! 28 Jan 2009
There's no question that Erica Sadun is hugely knowledgeable about the inner workings of the iPhone. Her website is full of snippets that she has culled from sniffing around the iPhone's innards. The trouble is, this book is, too.
For a book with the subtitle "Building Applications with the iPhone SDK", this book wastes a lot of space covering things that Ms Sadun has found ways to make the iPhone do, but which are not available in the SDK. For sure, they are generally quite exciting things, like callout views and CoverFlow-style browsing, but since they use calls that are undocumented in the SDK, there is a good chance that Apple will reject apps that use them. Even if they don't, there's a chance that Apple will change or remove the calls in a later version of the iPhone OS, without telling anyone, so your clever little app could just stop working, and you may not be able to find an easy way to replace the broken functions. I can't help but think that the space wasted by these demonstrations of how well Ms Sadun knows her subject could be replaced by something that is actually useful to iPhone SDK programmers. Examples of how to write equivalent versions of undocumented features, perhaps.
As other reviewers have commented, Ms Sadun also mentions doing things that, on the face of it, make no sense, with no explanation of why; deleting the Classes folder from her Xcode project, for example. I use this folder to store my classes, as you might expect. Is this wrong? If so, why? No answer to be found in this book, sadly.
Finally, if you're not an existing Objective-C programmer, this book is probably not for you.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars Good content but let down by incomplete code examples
good look 'under the covers' of iPhone OS with some good tips and tricks but it's let down by incomplete code examples. Read more
Published on 6 Oct 2009 by R. Thompson
2.0 out of 5 stars gets you going, up to a point
Lots of code examples cover a large part of the SDK, all code works and explains one aspect. This is nice, but the book will not teach you how to organize your projects, and it... Read more
Published on 3 Jun 2009 by drs Meijer
5.0 out of 5 stars An excellent cookbook, not a tutorial for absolute beginners
To properly appreciate this book one needs to read its title attentively: it is a cookbook, not a tutorial for beginners. Read more
Published on 30 Mar 2009 by Alexander Kolesnikov
5.0 out of 5 stars Very helpfull for advanced mac programmers
I can only agree with the previous reviewers - this book is not for beginners but is so helpfull for xcode developers that want to take the step beginning iphone development. Read more
Published on 27 Jan 2009 by Chris
2.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing
I don't know if this book can be of any help to seasoned Cocoa developers, but it's definitely useless to beginners. Read more
Published on 25 Jan 2009 by De Sio Michele
3.0 out of 5 stars Good book, but lacking in places
I found this book useful, but it definitely lacks in places. I am using it as a resource for finding out little tricks or tips on how another programmer lays out their work. Read more
Published on 10 Nov 2008 by Matt Galloway
3.0 out of 5 stars Useful samples, not for beginners however
I thought this book was well written but be aware it does throw you into the deep end pretty much immediately. Read more
Published on 5 Nov 2008 by M. Housley
4.0 out of 5 stars The book we've all been waiting for!
This is a brilliant book, and contains a whole host of fantastic examples that shed a lot of like on developing using the iPhone SDK. Read more
Published on 29 Oct 2008 by Matt Sephton
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