Book Review: Mobile Web Development

Who Wrote It?

Mobile Web Development is written by Nirav Mehta, the head of Magnet Technologies a software development firm in India. He blogs about a variety of business and tech topics at www.mehtanirav.com.

What’s Covered?

Mobile Web Development covers a wide variety of topics related to…guess what….mobile web development. Nirav does a fantastic job of introducing a wide variety of technologies needed to begin mobile web development including sending and receiving SMS and MMS messages, optimizing your site for mobile devices and using AJAX on the mobile web.

The book, from Packt Publishing, takes a very solution-based approach. Each chapter, with the exception of the first and last, has a very specific task that it is concerned with accomplishing. Usually, I’m not too awful fond of the format. It often feels like such books aren’t teaching me a topic so much as giving me snippets of code I am comfortable with manipulating.

This book, however, is an exception to that rule. Each chapter, in addition to accomplishing the task at hands, takes the time to explain the possible solutions to the problem, and their pros and cons. The result is that once you’ve finished the book, you have a nice foundation of real working knowledge that will allow you to immediately get started with mobile web development. For those of us that may want a deeper understanding of the technologies, there are plenty of nods towards resources that will provide that information.

Should I Read It?

The book is intended for people with at least a basic understanding of CSS, Javascript and PHP. In particular, there is a fair amount of PHP code, so you should probably be comfortable with looking through it.

The book manages to cover a surprisingly large amount of information for being such a brisk read. The truth though, is that at least in the beginning, the basics of mobile web development are quite similar to the basics of web development, and you’ll be pleasantly surprised by just how easy it is to get started.

One of the things I enjoyed most about Nirav’s approach to the book is the emphasis on the user. Keeping the user in mind is always important, but particularly when the user needs to get the information quickly and needs to do it with a very small amount of screen real estate. Each chapter makes sure to mention how a given solution can help or detract from the user experience, ensuring that you have the understanding necessary to make good decisions that will benefit your users.

One Minor Complaint

The one and only issue I have with the book is that the editing could have been a bit better. Don’t worry though, the editing is no-where near bad enough to confuse you. There’s just a fair amount of a’s and the’s that are AWOL. Like I said, not enough to cause you trouble understanding the information, just enough that you’ll notice.

Final Verdict

Mobile web development is one of the most important new avenues for web developers to pursue. The amount of people making use of mobile devices to get their information on the run is growing very quickly. Minor editing issues aside, the book was a great introduction to getting started with these technologies. I would highly recommend picking up the book and giving it a thorough reading. It’s surprising how easy it is to get started in the mobile web, and after reading it you’ll have a solid base of working knowledge to allow you to start creating your own mobile web content.

Great…Where Do I Get a Copy?