{ by david linsin }

December 21, 2009

Book Review: Beginning iPhone 3 Development

Apress was kind enough to pass me a copy of this book, which I agreed to review in return.

I reviewed a couple of fine books for Apress over the past two years, but I must say that "Beginning iPhone 3 Development" is one of the finest! The authors did an excellent job, addressing the code and complexity of the underlying platform.

When I first got my hands dirty with iPhone development everything was new: the IDE, the programming language and the environment to which my code is deployed. I didn't know my way around Xcode and I had no idea what Protocols are in Objective-C. This kind of knowledge is what the authors of "Beginning iPhone 3 Development" assume and work with very nicely. They are not trying to explain Xcode in every detail or tell you all about Objective-C, instead they focus on what you need to know right there and then to solve the problem the chapter is focused on.

I like this concept a lot! This way you get to know Xcode and Objective-C step-by-step in bits and pieces, with really good examples. Although the authors are not explaining all the tools and language features in detail, I think you really get a good sip of background information.

Another thing which really makes "Beginning iPhone 3 Development" stand out from other books I read lately, is the style of writing. It's not only the words the authors chose to describe a complex junk of Objective-C code, but also the way they approach it. They keep repeating the basic concepts, but always in a different way, so it doesn't get boring to read about stuff like Delegates and ViewControllers over and over again. It's just exactly what you need to wrap you head around this sort of topics.

If you follow the blog of Jeff Lamarche, one of the authors, you can really see that this guy is all about writing. You can find tons of tutorials there for iPhone development, which immediately remind you of "Beginning iPhone 3 Development". The style and tone of writing are quite similar.

After all the praise there is one downside, it's a minor one, but then again, to you it might be important: the website. It's really just a pointer to a phpbb forum, which is meant to be a place where people can discuss or ask questions about the book. That's all well and good, but the thing wants you to register, even if you merely want to download the source code, which sucks. I just don't need another forum account.

A colleague raised the question why you need a book, in order to develop for the iPhone? After all, the documentation Apple provides is pretty extensive and of high quality. That is true! Apple's Developer Connection provides a plethora of documents on all sorts of topics, all very well written. The problem with those documents is that they don't give you a coherent picture. It's more of a reference documentation. You go there, if you need an answer to some specific problem.

"Beginning iPhone 3 Development" on the other hand, provides a nice example for each chapter, which leads you through all the features of a certain angle of iPhone development. You can tag along and at the end of the chapter, you have a pretty good understanding of what just happened the past 50 pages.

For me, "Beginning iPhone 3 Development" gave me a good insight of what it takes to develop an iPhone application. It even encouraged me to dive deeper and change my development perspective from solely Java towards the iPhone platform. If you are planning to get started with iPhone development, go and buy this book! You won't regret it!


Foxinfosoft said...

your site is very informative
Thank you
iPhone application development


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