Review: Head First Mobile Web

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Head First Mobile Web (Brain-Friendly Guides) by Lyza Danger Gardner and Jason Grigsby is from O’Reilly (2012). I confess I got a little excited reading this book, which I haven’t done in a long time with a book I intended to review. The excitement came from the fact that I was learning so much.

Generally, I review books about topics I have some experience and expertise in–mostly HTML and CSS with a few general web categories thrown in. I may learn new things, but I’m mostly looking at what’s covered, how it’s handled, how clear the writing is, how clear the examples are, the overall tone of the writing, and the order in which information is delivered.

But I know little about building for the mobile web as a first (and perhaps only) step in creating a web site or app. Hence, excitement.

If you’ve never used a Head First book before, be prepared for different. There are a lot of images, jokes, exercises, quizzes, reminders, and other techniques you don’t normally see in technical writing. Head First books are written this way because of learning research into how best to help you, the reader, remember and use what you read. As you read, you are expected to work along with the text. Downloadable files are provided to help you put together the mobile web sites discussed in the examples. Here are the topics in the table of contents:

  1. Responsive web design
  2. Mobile first responsive web design
  3. A separate mobile website
  4. Device support
  5. Device databases and classes
  6. Frameworks for mobile (the book example uses jQuery Mobile)
  7. Progressive enhancement, offline mode, and geolocation. This is a very good chapter–the explanation of cache manifests is excellent.
  8. Hybrid mobile apps with PhoneGap
  9. Being future friendly
  10. Appendices include setting up a web server environment, installing WURFL and installing the Android SDK.

In going through these chapters you actually build more than one web site–a responsive one using media queries, a business oriented site with password sign in, and a mobile site with user input and offline uses. There is plenty of discussion about problems, pitfalls and ways to work around them.

I think you could get the information you need to get started building for the mobile web from this book and don’t hesitate to recommend it as a text.

Summary: Good hands-on experience while learning.

A review by Virginia DeBolt of Head First Mobile Web (rating: 5 stars)

2 thoughts on “Review: Head First Mobile Web”

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