Book Review: “Head First Mobile Web”

I recently purchased the book Head First Mobile Web by Jason Grigsby (@grigs) and Lyza Danger Gardner (@lyzadanger). I follow Jason and Lyza on Twitter as well as read their blog posts on Cloud Four so I figured it'd be a good read. It was really useful and I learned quite a bit from it. Read on for my review. And if it comes off really gushy it's because I really liked the book.

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 practical examples, tips & tricks and uses a great conversational tone. This book really is designed to be, above all, practical and easy to learn from. 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.

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