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Head First Mobile Web Paperback – Jan 1 2012

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About the Author

Lyza Danger Gardner (@lyzadanger) is a dev. She has built, broken and hacked web things since 1996. Curiously, Lyza was actually born and raised in Portland, Ore., the town where everyone wants to be but no one seems to be from.

Lyza started college early and cobbled together a motley education: a BA in Arts and Letters from Portland State University, followed by a master’s program in computer science at the University of Birmingham (UK).

Lyza has written a lot of web applications (server-side devs, represent!), defeated wily content management systems, optimized mobile web sites, pounded on various APIs, and worried a lot about databases. Fascinated by the way mobile technology has changed things, she now spends a lot of time thinking about the future of the web, mobile and otherwise.

Since co-founding Cloud Four, a Portland-based mobile web agency, in 2007, Lyza has voyaged further into the deep, untrammeled reaches of Device Land, exploring the foibles and chaos of mobile browsers and the mobile web. She has an odd set of anachronistic hobbies and it has been said she takes a fair number of photographs. She owns a four-letter .com domain. We’ll bet you can guess what it is and go visit her there.

After spending over a decade as a desktop web developer, Jason joined forces with the three smartest people he knew and started Cloud Four. Since co-founding Cloud Four, he has had the good fortune to work on many fantastic projects including the Obama ‘08 iPhone App.

He is founder and President of Mobile Portland, a non?profit dedicated to promotion and education of the mobile community in Portland, Oregon. Jason is a sought?after speaker and consultant on mobile technology.

You can find him blogging at, his personal site and on Twitter as @grigs.Jason’s expertise includes information architecture, usability, and emerging technology like social media. He has been a featured speaker at various organizations on topics ranging from web analytics to web site performance.

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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
Something for Everyone! Feb. 13 2012
By David Hayden - Published on
Format: Paperback
I was surprised and delighted with just how much this book covers. There is something for everyone in this book as it discusses mobile web development from quite a few angles: responsive web design, jQuery Mobile, device detection and databases, developing hybrid web apps using PhoneGap Build, etc. Along the way it is going to teach you various HTML5 Programming features like LocalStorage, Geolocation, and Offline Web Apps. And, of course, in the responsive web design chapters you get a big dose of web design topics like fluid layouts, CSS3 Media Queries, etc. If that wasn't enough, you also get introduced to quite a few resources and development techniques to help you develop mobile web applications.

If you are just diving into mobile web development and want a well-rounded education on the topic, Head First Mobile Web is a great first book!
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
Practical & Useful Book on Mobile Web Techniques Feb. 1 2012
By Amazon Customer - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
When talking "mobile" apps seem to get all of the attention but a mobile-optimized website is a necessity for many businesses. Any company that relies on email or social media to help spread the word about their offerings (think "web links") really should make sure their website is easily viewable on a phone. Jason and Lyza do a fantastic job of taking a "new to mobile" developer through the various options that are available for making a website mobile-optimized (their are many!).

The book includes hands-on lessons with each chapter (including code you can download) and useful "case studies" to make it clear how each technique should be used. By covering the latest trends like Responsive Web Design and HTML5 APIs and some old school techniques like device detection and CSS-MP "Head First Mobile Web" makes a great resource for anyone looking to get into mobile web development or, like myself, looking to brush up on their skills.

What I think I appreciate most about the book, beyond the depth & practicality of the information, is Jason's and Lyza's frankness in the pros and cons of each solution and being clear how each can be useful. I was most struck by this in the WURFL section. A lot of time is spent talking device detection (one of my favorite mobile techniques) but they're very clear about some of the licensing downsides to the product. They don't just gloss over that very important issue.

It's a surprisingly quick read considering the thickness of the book. That's probably because, rather than being big blocks of text talking theory, it has a lot of examples, tips & tricks and uses a great conversational tone. This book really is designed to be, above all, practical and easy to learn from and it is. If you're at the start of a project and want to know what is available to you with mobile web or using web technologies (they also cover PhoneGap for making HTML-based apps) you should really pick this one up.
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
An excellent introduction for the complete newbie! March 11 2012
By renaissance geek - Published on
Format: Paperback
I've read a few "Head First" books now and come to the conclusion that their use is inversely proportional to how much you already know about the topic and this book is no exception to that rule of thumb. If you're a neophyte mobile web developer then you will come away with a good overview of how to work; if you're a seasoned mobile web developer looking for a reference book you'll probably come away frustrated. The book's information is presented as a set of increasingly complex worked examples; excellent as a functional learning process but not so hot if you are looking for an all in one manual. That proviso aside this is an excellent introduction to developing for the mobile web. The book covers design processes (e.g. mobile first responsive web design), techniques (e.g. building hybrid web apps) and tools (e.g. jQuery mobile). Now as Head First Mobile Web doesn't come in an inconveniently large suitcase the coverage of these is necessarily quite shallow but to give you a springboard into the world of mobile web development it's the best book I've seen. Sure there are areas you will need to brush up on later such as HTML5, a smattering of CSS and perhaps most importantly javascript but you don't need to be all that well versed in any of these to get the full benefit out of the book. What you will need to do is to treat this as a doing book rather than a straight reading one. Get your hands metaphorically dirty and work through the examples and you will get vastly more out of the book than if you just sit down and read it.

I was really impressed by Head First Mobile Web and would highly recommend it to anyone interested in getting a grounding in the increasingly important mobile web development arena.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
NOT for beginners, a solid guide for experienced web developers. Feb. 22 2012
By Leo of BORG - Published on
Format: Paperback
Upshot: Everything you'd want to know about developing or porting a website for Mobile Devices, even ones older than, and even not iPhone/Android. Yes this still matters. Any downsides? Gets a bit dense at time, but pain is good for you.

I was really impressed with the coverage and focus of Head First Mobile Web by Lyza Danger Gardner & Jason Grigsby. As with other books in the Headfirst series, with the pictures & useful asides things can get a bit dense,-- and that happens here with sections on porting CMS sites to mobile, as well as with the coverage of making sure your website is compatible with a number of types of mobile devices: iOS/Android, as well as earlier WAP/XHTML "non-smart" phones.

This still matters as the US telcos move users, sometimes forcibly so, to tiered data plans that, IMHO, discourage the full use of smartphones.

You'll be learning Mobile-First RWD (Responsive Web Design) and server-side device detection with WURFL. This will be with PHP, so looking at code that begins with "<?.." should not scare you. Neither should Javascript, CSS, or the variants you will be learning to use more effectively. If you don't have these things under your belt, I might recommend THOSE Headfirst books first. Highly recommended to folks who already have a solid grounding in web development.

Disclosures/biases: I received the eBook download(s) from O'Reilly for review purposes.
Also, as of this writing, AT&T has throttled my 3G "unlimited data" service for the past couple months. Not happy with them.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
A good start but not a defacto book on mobile design March 4 2013
By Alarinn - Published on
Format: Paperback
This is a good book to get your feet wet when diving into mobile development. It provides good examples on how to get started and gives a number of code snippets in each chapter. The issue is many times they explain what you need to do only to throw all of that out when they put the code together. For example, Chapter 8. I was tasked to cover this chapter in a book review to other associates. The chapter is clear, talks about using phonegap build to create the apk file that you download to the emulator or to your phone. Good stuff.

The issue is as they are putting together the Tartan Hunt app the code deviates from the prior text covering the chapter. On page 350, they even warn you that the code looks different than what was just discussed in the prior pages. The captureImage method is way different and that required me to spend a bit more time trying to make sure I understood it completely. The other issue is the book left out an important requirement - a feature to allow permission to store files. It took me a couple of hours of searching on the forums to find out that you must add a feature to the config.xml so that once you take the photo that pressing done or check takes you back to the tartan and you see your photo added. Otherwise, pressing done does nothing. I understand that typos are common in books but the source code from the main site doesn't include the changes, yet the apk file they say use as a last resort does work. Why not add an addendum or maybe a readme file to the root of the chapter source code giving this info? Remember, your audience is new to mobile development and may not know about all of the feature permissions.

Keep in mind, the frameworks used in the book are constantly updated. What you see in the book may not work as designed. It's a good book to get a taste of mobile computing but you may need to get separate books on the various topics covered (like HTML 5, jQuery Mobile, and docs). This might be daunting to the beginner who has never developed code for a mobile device. Keep that in mind that if something doesn't work, you will need to do some research. They do a decent job of providing the final code for each chapter so compare your code with theirs if you find your code doesn't work.