- Category: Mobile Development Mobile Development
- Published: 27 November 2011 27 November 2011
Although there are many books out there that mention PhoneGap or cover the topic lightly, it was nice to see books in the works entirely on PhoneGap. With PhoneGap Beginner's Guide being the first one out the gate, I was excited to receive my copy. Unfortunately I agree with many of the other reviewers on Amazon in that there were a lot of incomprehensible sentences in the book. It's clear that Packt, like with many other of their books, rushed this one out and didn't give it the thorough read it needed.
The bigger thing for me was that the book's really not about PhoneGap. Sure, there is a chapter on installing the PhoneGap framework and tools and there are a few chapters on the PhoneGap API's, but the majority of the book covers mobile web development rather than PhoneGap. The majority of the example applications shown in the book were demonstrated in the desktop browser rather than in a native application built using PhoneGap. I understand that you can test some UI stuff in the desktop browser, but PhoneGap has No UI API's - none. So why would you write a PhoneGap book that's mostly about UI? PhoneGap is all about interacting with the device, so as soon as a developer creates their application's UI and starts using the PhoneGap API's, they have to leave the desktop browser and either test in a real PhoneGap application or use RIM's Ripple emulator.
I did a quick count and there's only about 76 pages on PhoneGap related topics (out of a total of 283 pages – about 25%) while the rest of the book is all about how to do mobile web development. I didn't buy a PhoneGap book to learn about Mustache, XUI or jQuery Mobile – I bought the book to learn more about PhoneGap. I figured since the author worked for Nitobi (the creators of PhoneGap) that I'd learn things I didn't know. Not the case.
I truly believe this book should have been called Mobile Web Development for PhoneGap Developers – that way the purchaser would at least know that this book is more about mobile web development than it is about PhoneGap.
Now I'd be remiss if I didn't point out that I'm in the process of completing my own book on PhoneGap called PhoneGap Essentials, so I may be a little biased. One of the things I do while writing Essentials is to assess every topic against the title of the book. I'm regularly trying to pull stuff out of the book because it's not related to PhoneGap. If you read PhoneGap Essentials, you'll find that it's all about PhoneGap, nothing else. Since PhoneGap doesn't have any UI API's, you'll find some pretty horrible UI's in the sample applications I'm including in the book. Everything's focused on how to use the PhoneGap framework and tools and how to use the PhoneGap API's (all of them) in your PhoneGap applications. If you're an experienced PhoneGap developer, don't buy the book – you're only going to be disappointed. If, on the other hand, you're new to PhoneGap and want to know what PhoneGap is all about, then PhoneGap Essentials is the book for you.