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Beginning Android 3
Beginning Android 3
by Mark Murphy
Edition: Paperback
Price: £31.49

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Android 3 basics explained, 31 July 2011
This review is from: Beginning Android 3 (Paperback)
Recently, I am involved into the project where Android is one of the technologies we use. This is quite fresh experience for me, since I am server side (Java) and iOS developer. I wanted to see how is it to be at the Android's side, thus I decided to read something devoted strictly to Android. It turned out, that Beginning Android 3 was a nice reading and quite good choice - as for beginner. The book is all about starting your experience with Android 3 development. It will guide you through all the basics, mostly, using Eclipse. As a matter of fact, book is not bound to any particular IDE, however, first part provides detailed description of how to configure Eclipse for Android 3 development. I am pretty sure, that you will stick with it if you are fresh in this matter. It is simply the easiest way to start.

After you have you environment up and running, you will be guided by Mark through the basics of Android development. This section is really great. It guides you step by step how to download, install and configure all the software required for development. After everything is up and running, you can go to next parts where Mark will show you how to deal with various aspects of Android development. Each part discusses different topics. Part 2 is devoted to basic UI concepts, and resource management. This is the easies way to start. You can simply create working application in a few minutes - literally. Third part discuses most recent improvements introduced by Honeycomb (Android 3) - mostly in the context of tablets. Fourth part discusses access to external resources via Internet and how to deal with SQLite. You will also be guided how to utilize Services and how to develop applications using external frameworks that employ HTML5 (PhoneGap).

As for the content, book presents pragmatic approach. You will find lots of examples and as much theory as needed. Even though most of the topics are just for beginners, and should be as simply explained as possible, some of them are discussed rather shallowly. I have few concerns here: SQLite, i18n, and application testing (debugging). These topics are not presented us good as they could be.

When it comes to the style, Mark use informal one. This way you feel entertained while reading the book, however, sometimes it is hard to get what's really behind the sentence. This, especially, alters non native speakers. Sometimes it is simply hard to find at the table of contents what you are looking for. Especially, when titles are expressed via idioms.

The overall verdict, when it comes to judging this book is: OK. The book is good introduction to Android 3. It really covers what's good for beginners. However, if you are not familiar with Java, you will have to buy companion book related to Java language. If you just start your experience with Android 3, I think you can go for it. If you are already familiar with Android, head for "Pro" book instead.


iPhone JavaScript Cookbook
iPhone JavaScript Cookbook
by Arturo Fernandez Montoro
Edition: Paperback
Price: £27.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Alternative for Objective-C in iPhone development, 27 July 2011
If you are working with CSS, HTML and JavaScript rather than with C++/C or Java it is worth considering to write applications using JavaScript instead of Objective-C. iPhone JavaScript can help you in here. This book provides you with a simple examples showing how to achieve various tasks like building basic UI elements, handling events, and incorporating images and sounds into your application.

Book starts with an introduction to frameworks that will be used later on within examples. You are guided by hand in here and I think that Arturo made a really good thing by incorporating this chapter into the book. You will be simply lead step by step straight to the point. This is nice, in case you are a novice to iPhone development. However, there are small errors within the book when it comes to the chapter content. For example, you won't find wget at Mac OS, you have to use curl instead. Another issue is, that author assumes that you are familiar with CLI. For real beginners working with Mac OS it will be hard to understand why copying files into /Library/WebServer/Documents/iui simply doesn't work. You have to "su -" at first in order to get an access to this directory. Question is, what the target reader will be. If you are complete novice, pay attention to some statements within the book.

After describing how to install all the necessary frameworks, you will be guided through various, UI related topics. You will be told how to create basic UI elements like menus, buttons, lists, etc. Next chapters will teach you how to deal with images, sound, and SQL databases. When it comes to SQL related topics you will get mostly all the information that is required to create typical CRUD based application. For some of the people it will be fine, for others it might be not enough.

Disadvantage of the book is that it is slightly outdated. When I tried to follow it, I was getting into trouble whenever XCode 3 is mentioned - this was because XCode 4 was the standard at the time of writing. You will notice different screen shoots and you will have to pay attention to the description of how to perform. This is not a huge disadvantage, however it may put you slightly off.

When it comes to the topic of the book there are, definitely, two big advantages of using JavaScript over Objective-C. First, you don't have to learn new language if you are already familiar with JavaScript, second, you don't have to publish your application at Apple Store. Drawbacks? It will be harder for you to sell the application itself.


Head First iPhone and iPad Development: A Learner's Guide to Creating Objective-C Applications for the iPhone and iPad
Head First iPhone and iPad Development: A Learner's Guide to Creating Objective-C Applications for the iPhone and iPad
by Dan Pilone
Edition: Paperback
Price: £38.50

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars iPhone development made easy, 26 July 2011
Head First iPhone and iPad Development (second edition) takes you, again, on a great journey across iPhone development related topics. What you get here is a gentle introduction into iOS programming.

Book covers most common issues you will definitely face during iPod development. It starts with introduction to XCode (iOS devoted IDE). What's worth mentioning here, it covers XCode version 4 (most recent one). Then it presents how to develop simple "hello world" like application. This way, you can fell what coding for iPhone/iPad is in practice. Apart from that, you will be taught how to use multiple views (very common use case for iPhone applications), how to access data (both via plists and Core Data), how to use tab bars, and some of the iOS frameworks. In general, this is very gentle introduction to iOS related development. And it's written like any other Head Firsts series book. It uses simple language, simple examples and good analogies. This way, you don't have to pretend that you are an expert with the topic before you start to read it.

If you are new to iOS and Mac world you will definitely notice that Objective-C is something totally different than Java/C++/C#. Here, Dan provides you with the very basics of the Objective-C. However, these basics are tightly bound to UI related development. You won't get detailed syntax explanation here. If you want to get it, you will have to look somewhere else anyway. This is not that big disadvantage after all. In fact, most of the iOS development related books lack good explanation of Objective-C.

I have read Head First iPhone Development (first edition) some time ago. In fact, this had been one of the books I have learned to program iPhone from. I think it was a good choice at that time. I'd recommend it to all the people who are at the very beginning of the journey. If you know something about iPhone development already. It might be that this book will cover topics you already know. In that case, deciding for iOS 4 Programming Cookbook or Concurrent Programming in Mac OS X and iOS might be a better idea for you.


Concurrent Programming in Mac OS X and iOS: Unleash Multicore Performance with Grand Central Dispatch
Concurrent Programming in Mac OS X and iOS: Unleash Multicore Performance with Grand Central Dispatch
by Vandad Nahavandipoor
Edition: Paperback
Price: £13.50

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars good introduction to queues within Objective-C, 26 July 2011
This book is really short one. But don't be fooled by it's size. In fact it's very comprehensive. One remark here - regarding title. It might be slightly misleading. Book is related to queue mechanics within Mac OS X and iOS rather than treads. But let's take a look at the content. At the very beginning Vandad leads you through the, so called, Block Objects. They have really awkward syntax, but Vandad does a good job here and explains how to construct them. He uses analogy to C and Objective-C related constructs. He also introduces Grand Central Dispatch (GCD) that is a heart of queues. After basis are laid he goes to the topics related to queues and ways of utilizing them. Here, he presents examples that show how to develop parts of code that will utilize queues. This way, you can easily get in touch with the paradigm. Great advantage is that you can easily download source codes from the book page. They work with the XCode 4 out of the box.

This book, in my opinion, is addressed to experienced users. You will definitely require Objective-C knowledge, and basics of Mac OS X or iOS programming. However, if you are a beginner, simply write the tittle down and come back for it later, when you are ready to go. Or, maybe, when your application will require task based development.


The Book of CSS3: A Developer's Guide to the Future of Web Design
The Book of CSS3: A Developer's Guide to the Future of Web Design
by Peter Gasston
Edition: Paperback
Price: £22.50

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars CSS3 rules explained, 26 July 2011
Peter is perfectly right with his introduction to the book - "Let me tell you a little about who I think you are: You're a web professional who's been hand-coding HTML and CSS (...)". This sentence, probably, describes most of the home grown HTML developers around the world. If you are working with CSS and you want to know what to expect when it comes to CSS3 this book sound to be quite useful. Peter goes over the features of CSS3 while at the same time presenting them in a structured way. He discuses particular rule, shows examples of the usage, and, at the end of each chapter, summarizes their support within most commonly used web engines: WebKit, Firefox, Opera, and IE. You will find this list again within appendix - this way you can easily check whether particular feature is missing or not within given Web browser.

When it comes to the content, it turned out that I am really a casual user of CSS. There are many rules that I was not aware of. This way, I was able to learn new stuff. On the other hand, I think that material is quite demanding for the reader. As Peter states at the beginning of the book: "The Book of CSS3 helps you leverage the excellent knowledge you have of CSS2.1 in order to make learning CSS3 easier. I won't explain the fundamentals of CSS". This is true indeed. You have to have the knowledge of basics in order to benefit from the book. I suggest getting some other position that will teach you CSS from the scratch before targeting this one. What I can definitely say about the book is it's style. It suits me. Peter simply focuses on the matter itself. However, keep it mind that book is not for a beginners.


Graphics and Animation on iOS: A Beginner's Guide to Core Graphics and Core Animation
Graphics and Animation on iOS: A Beginner's Guide to Core Graphics and Core Animation
by Vandad Nahavandipoor
Edition: Paperback
Price: £13.50

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Graphics and Animation on iOS, 26 July 2011
Graphics and Animation on iOS is another book devoted to iOS written by Vandad Nahavandipoor. He has also written iOS 4 Programming Cookbook. Graphics and Animation on iOS seems to be a supplement for iOS 4 Programming Cookbook. You can find here topics that are not covered in previous book. These topics touch the issues related to graphics manipulation within iPhone applications. Even though the book is not a typical Cookbook, it has similar style.

Book itself is rather thin. It covers just few topics. You will find here basics that most of programmers face sooner or later and it is addressed to people who start their experience with iOS development. That means, issues explained within the book are not very sophisticated. You will find here answers to commonly asked questions like: how do I draw something on the screen, how do I draw a text, how can I scale the image (shape), how can I rotate the image (shape), etc.

Graphics and Animation on iOS is a typical "learn by example" tutorial. Examples are very simple and supporting code makes running them as simple as copy-paste. One remark here. Copying examples from book into XCode doesn't preserve formatting which means you have to manually reformat code within IDE. In fact, you mostly work with _single_ UIView method - drawRect throughout the book. Everything happens inside it. This is really nice.

Book has two drawbacks. First of all, title implies that both graphics and animation will be covered in, let's say, equal proportion. This is not quite true. Animation related topics are like 10% of the whole book. Another issue is that I miss clipping related section - this is usually an issue when it comes to graphics related development.

In overall I think this book is really devoted to iOS beginners. On the other hand you can always use it as a handy snippets base with detailed explanation. What is really nice here is that code examples are really small and functional.


Learning Android
Learning Android
by Marko Gargenta
Edition: Paperback

9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Welcome to Android's world, 26 July 2011
This review is from: Learning Android (Paperback)
Developing Android based application is like any other development. You have to get tools, learn basics and explore the details of the API. Learning Android covers first two topics.

First of all, you can get the overview of Android, what it does, who develops it and so forth. You can call it an overview from 9K feet height. After that you are explained how Android is organized and how all the system layers are organized. This is quite useful part because you can get the feeling what to expect when it comes to the API. Then you will be guided through the initial setup that allows you to develop Android based applications. This part is quite useful, because it allows you to get all the information required for preparing development environment. You will be, literally, lead step by step how to configure everything (at this point you can tell that Marko has some experience when it comes to providing people with tutorials - you are simply not able to go wrong here). One remark here. Marko doesn't mention that you have to set-up Android's SDK location before you proceed with "Hello world" example. In order to do this, you have to go to: Eclipse -> Preferences -> Android -> SDL Location and set proper SDK location. He also forgets to mention that after setting up ADT you have to go to: and install all the packages that are required for Android development.

After you are ready to go with coding, there is a place for getting familiar with Android's API. Here, Marko provides you with information related to Various aspects of Android related development. In general, it's fine, but there is one drawback. Marko tries to provide you with the knowledge related to Android by conducting you basing on hypothetical application (Yamba). It means, that through out the book you will be hooked to this application and you will try to approach it from various perspectives: UI, database, services, etc. This kind of approach ha it's pros and cons. Pros are that you can get the feeling of real application being developed using technology you are interested in. Cons are: you are stick to example project through out whole book, you can't jump between topics without the overview of the example of application. I generally prefer "Cookbook" series where you are presented a solution for particular issue.

What I have missed most in this book are: HTTP communication within Android apps, Web Service calls within Android based applications, description of Android Market.

In general, this book is OK, but definitely not perfect. I missed lots of topics to be covered here. On the other hand, it has quite well prepared introduction to Android, initial set up and Android's basics. This way, you are provided everything that allows you to start developing Android applications.

Stay tuned, I will update this post as soon as I read some other books on Android. I'll tell you then, whether this book can compete with others or not.


Programming iOS 4: Fundamentals of iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch Development (Definitive Guide)
Programming iOS 4: Fundamentals of iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch Development (Definitive Guide)
by Matt Neuburg
Edition: Paperback
Price: £38.50

4.0 out of 5 stars iOS 4/XCode 4 explained, 26 July 2011
Programming iOS 4 is one of the publications available on market that are devoted to iOS related programming. And I was quite impressed when I was reading it. First of all, it is based not only on iOS 4 but on XCode 4 as well. This is huge advantage because you don't have to think about transition between XCode 3 and XCode 4 while reading the book. Not only book is based on the XCode, but Matt provides you with an introduction to the tool. This way you can get familiar with it fairly easy. You will find information regarding how to access documentation, how to deal with code snippets, how to deal with code completion (BTW - if you are moving from any other IDE I suggest replacing Esc with Ctrl+space for code completion being invoked), static analysis of the code. It's a pity that this is another book where Instruments are not explained in greater details.

iOS development is based on Objective-C, which means that you have to get familiar with it when you move on from Java/C# world. Matt provides you with an introduction to the language. This section contain basic information related to C and Objective-C. Be warned here. I'd definitely suggest to buy some solid C guide - like a classic "C Language" by K&R. The same situation relates to Objective-C, go and buy something that is entirely devoted to language itself - Programming in Objective-C by G. Kochan would be good idea. However, this is not mandatory. If you need just a brief overview of the language, Matt provides all you need here. However, there are small issues in C introduction. Matt refers to "nil" which is not C standard - it is introduced by Objective-C. The same refers to NSString object. As far as I recall, you can't use them in pure C.

After making you familiar with development environment Matt goes over features of iOS API and presents various aspects of iPhone programming. You won't get here complete solutions, instead he focuses on what's most important in each case. This way you can briefly go over the topics and focus on what's most important for you. At some point it might be irritating, because it looks like not much more than API description from the documentation, but in most cases it's something more than that.

In general, I find it quite useful. I have found few topics that I was not aware of after moving to XCode 4. I think the book is worth reading.


Data Mashups in R
Data Mashups in R
by Jeremy Leipzig
Edition: Paperback
Price: £9.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Data Mashups in R, 26 July 2011
This review is from: Data Mashups in R (Paperback)
Have you ever wondered whether R can utilize regular expressions? Have you been forced to download data from particular source before you start using it within R? Or maybe you were not quite sure how to deal with XML within R scripts. Well, thats what Data Mashups are all about. Jeremy and Xiao-Yi show you how to deal with all these aspects. They show it in very condense way, but still, you can get the feeling what's R and scripting is all about. You will find here regular expressions, XML parsing, how to use PBSmapping package and description of how to combine all of this within single project.

The book is quite interesting - in terms of the topic. However, it looks little bit messy. I would expect that you get the idea of the problem we want to solve before you start solving it. Well, not this time. Jeremy and Xiao-Yi skip this part and jump straight into solution. It complicates the process of getting through the ideas presented in the book. I prefer to be offered problem before I start looking for a solution. Question here is - maybe for this kind of topic, essay is really enough. I don't know. I am still getting through R and it's "traps", and honestly, I choose other R related titles from O'Reilly over Data Mashups. If you start your adventure with R choose "R Cookbook" or "25 Recipes for Getting Started with R". If you are already familiar with R, and you want to go beyond what can be called standard, go ahead with Data Mashups.

Idea of the book is very good. The application, not the best one. I can value the solutions and the code snippets that are shown - you can always reuse them at some point in your own projects, however, the way everything is bound and presented doesn't quite appeal to me.


Gamestorming: A Playbook for Innovators, Rulebreakers, and Changemakers
Gamestorming: A Playbook for Innovators, Rulebreakers, and Changemakers
by Dave Gray
Edition: Paperback
Price: £17.61

7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars have fun while creating great things, 26 July 2011
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
If you want to came up with something you usually have two options. Either you go with some kind of process (this way is usually good one if you want to have your back covered) or you go with unconventional methods (if you have enough money to cover your expenses in case of failure). The second approach is what Gamestorming is all about. First of all, you get the explanation of what playing game is all about. This is very important part, because it will give you arguments when it comes to convince other people to play a little bit instead of just "inventing" things through regular process of "thinking". It might be hard work to convince your co-workers to use this way of solving issues. Many people find "playing games" a perfect example of wasting the time. That's why it is very good idea to show how playing games makes your brain work different way. After explaining the concept of gamestorming authors go through various examples of games that might help you solve your problems. The collection of games is really impressive. There are almost 100 different games presented within the book. Games are divided into sections that help you solve particular issues. Opening games help you produce ideas quickly, exploring games help you go through the ideas you came up with, closing games help you to get into the end of the innovation process. Reading the book really is fun, however, mind one thing. Not everybody likes to play. If your colleagues do not like to play RPGs, they don't know what RTS is, and board games are just a mean of wasting time, gamestorming is probably not good for you. I agree that pushing people into "another worlds", with different rules might be good way of finding what hasn't been found yet, however - not everybody is ready for that. Not everybody likes to play. People simply feel very uncomfortable in this kind of situations. I think that book should be read by people who either have their own company or have team of really open minded co-workers - people who like to explore alternative ways of finding solutions. I find this book very inspiring, but, you know, I have graduated from philosophy (among the others) and studying philosophy is by itself similar to playing with ideas and exploring new worlds


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