Great books for building mobile apps

In my attempts to figure out how to create mobile learning content, I realized that I needed to better understand how to build mobile applications. I started this process by working through the first few chapters of iPhone Application Development for Dummies by Neal Goldstein, but I didn’t get too far. I found the book useful for figuring out how to run the iPhone emulator on my Mac, but it was going to take more longer than I had the patience for to learn Objective-C. It is definitely a language designed for the hard-core programmer. With a little more searching, I found this gem of a book, Building iPhone Apps with HTML, CSS, and Javascript by Jonathan Stark. Since I’m already familiar with HTML, CSS, and Javascript, the idea of building apps using these tools makes more sense. The added bonus is that apps build using standards-based markup and script languages would be reusable on multiple devices – so I wouldn’t need to rebuild the same thing multiple times. Now that I have an Android phone, I’m interested in Android apps rather than iPhone apps. Fortunately, Jonathan Stark has the equivalent book for Android: Building Android Apps with HTML, CSS, and Javascript. A lot of the content is the same, which emphasizes just how portable this approach to mobile development is. I found the Jonathan Stark books to be a great way to introduce myself to the utilities available for mobile website development including: CSS, Javascript, AJAX, jQuery, jQTouch, HTML5, and PhoneGap. I do find that the book just scratches the surface – it gives you just enough information to create a little application, but doesn’t go into depth on any of the utilities. What it did do well is give me an idea of what utilities where out there to make mobile web development easier. Now I just need to learn each of these utilities!

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