Review: Creating Mobile Apps with jQuery Mobile

0069OSAs an instructor of an introductory mobile application development course, I am always on the lookout for materials that can be used as resources for my students. Creating Mobile Apps with jQuery Mobile is just such a resource that I can recommend to my students. Shane Gliser begins the book by introducing the reader to the value of prototyping. I applaud him for reinforcing the idea that we should first spend some time with paper and pencil before we open our favorite editor (either code or design) to create our next mobile masterpiece. From there, the author lays down some foundational information on meta viewports, recent changes to the jQuery event model, and some CSS/media query structure. Then he takes the reader through the process of creating a jQuery Mobile app for a restaurant. Although he does touch on some jQuery Mobile basics, he does assume some working knowledge of jQuery Mobile, and HTML/CSS/JS in general. That might prove to be an issue to some.

What I did like is that he does address some common issues that new users to jQuery mobile might face, such as adding custom icons within jQuery Mobile, working with Google Maps, and form validation. I also enjoyed the fact that he introduces client-side templating to the reader. jQuery Mobile apps can become quite heavy with all the markup that is repeated.

However, I do wish the author had spent more time exploring the use of HTML 5 video with a jQuery Mobile app. He does cover HTML audio nicely, but the coverage of video did not address enough of the challenges of video playback in a non-Flash based world. I also found the section on HTML5 manifests a bit light. Manifest files can be a bit tricky to create and debug, so some guidance for the reader might have proved useful. The section on compiling your project with PhoneGap Build was another section that seemed far too short. Often, jQuery Mobile is part of a workflow that includes using PhoneGap as a solution to create a native application. It would have been helpful to guide a reader to some of the modifications one should make to have a better performing application.

Overall, I think the book is a nice companion to another Packt publication, jQuery Mobile Web Development Essentials written by Ray Camden and Andy Matthews (one of the technical reviewers) and think it will be a useful addition to those seeking to expand their use of jQuery Mobile as a solution to their mobile application toolkit.

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