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Mike Riley

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Learning iPhone Programming Book Review

May 11, 2010

With the unbridled success of the iPhone and Apple's App Store, commercially-driven developers are flocking to create and/or port applications to this highly successful mobile platform. Computer book publishers are also flocking to the subject, exemplified by the fact that dozens of iPhone programming books have been released in the last year alone. O'Reilly has added yet another introductory iPhone programming book to this stack. How does it compare to the others? Read on to find out.The tagline for this book is From Xcode to App Store and that is exactly what this 350+ page book offers. Learning iPhone Programming leads developers with a minimum of C language experience initially through the Apple Developer Connection sign-up process to Xcode and Objective-C orientation. Then roughly seven chapters are spent on learning how to interact with various iPhone libraries, from network and data management to using sensors like the accelerometer, camera and GPS. The author also walks readers through the app store setup and distribution process. This can be especially helpful for those who have never distributed an application on Apple's App Store before. Even though Apple has made the process simple, it can be daunting to take account of all the right steps on the first attempt.

The book concludes with chapters on app integration with iPhone data sources like the Address Book and Media Player, a chapter on other iPhone development platforms like PhoneGap and MonoTouch (although no mention is made of the iPhone 4.0 OS developer agreement that could limit the use of such tools for apps being distributed from Apple's App Store), and a final chapter on pointers to other topics not covered in the book such as core data, push notifications, In-App purchases and Game Kit.

Learning iPhone Programming does a good job at presenting a vast amount of information to quickly orient the uninitiated programmer to the iPhone development universe. The book follows the standard O'Reilly 'Learning' series layout with the usual animal track call-outs and bear trap warning icons, code listings with numbered bullet indicators, and the usual font and format layouts tech readers have come to expect from O'Reilly. The author does a very good job of covering such a broad number of topics in a relatively compressed amount of space. His code walkthroughs are also well documented and easy to follow. I recommend the book to anyone considering diving into iPhone programming, and once they are more familiar with the overarching aspects presented in this book, I strongly suggest reading Stephen Kochan's Programming in Objective-C 2.0. Top this off with Erica Sadun's excellent iPhone Developer's Cookbook. Of course, once the iPhone 4.0 OS is available, a number of iPhone books will need to be updated to reflect the new features in that OS, with the most important new addition being multitasking support. Even so, Learning iPhone Programming is reasonably priced and should remain a solid introductory text for new iPhone developers for some time to come.

Title: Learning iPhone Programming Author: Alasdair Allan Publisher: O'Reilly Media ISBN: 978-0-596-80643-9 Pages: 384 Price: $29.99 US

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