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© October 2010 Anthony Lawrence

Building Android Apps with HTML, CSS, and JavaScript

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  • Building Android Apps with HTML, CSS, and JavaScript
  • Jonathan Stark
  • 1449383262

I am going to start off with a complaint. It is a complaint I have made before, but I think it is valid and it is something I keep coming across in many books.

In this case, it is the "Web Programming Crash Course" that is the second half of the first chapter. This is a very basic introduction to HTML, CSS and Javascript and there is no reason in the world for it to be in this book. Anyone who actually needs such a cursory introduction will find themselves drowning in a very few pages and for the rest of us it is pointless and useless.

As the author seems far too intelligent not to understand that, I can only hope that some annoying O'Reilly editor insisted that this fluff be added and that the author groaned silently and put it in because doing that was easier than arguing about it.

This book has caused my brain to come to a screeching halt. I had bought an iPad some months ago and had lightly delved into the mysteries of app development. The promise of a new OS release this past summer (now put off until November) made me shelve the development idea until the new release; I didn't want to waste my time learning a development system that might change radically.

Now, after reading this, I am wondering whether I need to bother with learning any of it at all. As the book title says, this is about developing mobile apps with CSS and Javascript - well, with JQuery, but that's just a library download away. The apps I have in mind don't need any more than that and a little storage provided by the Web SQL Database. The author says that database access rocked his world when it became available; I think it just rocked mine too. Cookies are clumsy; Web SQL eases all that fumbling.

This avoids learning Apple API's and Objective C and Java for Android. If Microsoft ever manages to break into the mobile market, they'd be using Indexed DB instead of Web SQL Database, but that would be minor changes in code, and Microsoft may very well remain unimportant forever anyway. This looks like the right way to go for me. The PhoneGap compiler adds the finishing touches to tie into any device specific needs and to package up a ready to distribute app.

Though I do have to wonder who really needs this book. Yes, there are some clever examples here, but you could pretty much sum up the whole thing in a sentence or two: Hey, did you notice that you can create cool mobile apps by using the Web SQL Database and a little CSS? A person capable of taking that and running with it doesn't need a lot more and those who are not may not find enough here to get them rolling.

I'm kind of in the middle. I grok all of it, but I have never done much with Javascript because of all the platform dependencies and gotchas. I knew that JQuery could smooth some of that pain, but I had no real incentive; I had nothing I needed badly enough to make the learning curve worthwhile. This book turned on a big lightbulb because mobile apps is the incentive.

So, for me, the examples and advice are good. Well, not that silly "Web Programming Crash Course", but the rest of it is just what I need. I'm looking forward to diving into this with the help of this book.

Tony Lawrence 2010-10-17 Rating: 4.0

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Inexpensive and informative Apple related e-books:

Take Control of iCloud

Take Control of Pages

Take Control of High Sierra

Take Control of Apple Mail, Third Edition

Photos: A Take Control Crash Course

More Articles by © Anthony Lawrence

Wed Mar 30 12:56:35 2011: 9410   anonymous


if the author ever managed to supply the book code examples it would be worth investigation.
He still has not made them all available.
a very dumb move

Wed Mar 30 12:59:01 2011: 9411   TonyLawrence


Still not available? You are right: that's ridiculous!


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