Book Review: Master Mobile Web Apps with jQuery Mobile

Master Mobile Web Apps with jQuery Mobile” is an e-book on jQuery Mobile written by Matt Doyle, an experienced technical author and coder. According to the author, the book is intended for web development and design professionals who want to start building apps and therefore a basic knowledge of web technologies including HTML, CSS, JavaScript and web servers is required.

The book is written for jQuery Mobile Beta 2 which is the current version of jQuery Mobile and there are 3 parts to the book.

Part I covers the basics you need to know about jQuery Mobile. The thing I like about it is that it contains a lot of sample code, so if you like to create a website while reading the book, you can do so easily with the help of sample code. The tutorials in Part I is great for someone who wants to just get a simple mobile site up and running without wanting to worry too much about the UI and the nitty gritty details.

Part II focuses on the fundamentals of building user interfaces with jQuery Mobile. It covers dialogs, forms, navigations, lists, header, footer and other essential elements of a website. I particularly liked the “Creating Forms” chapter because it contains a lot of information about different input elements and attributes that you can use in jQuery Mobile. Forms are one of the most trickest elements in web designs and it is very helpful to have the whole chapter dedicated to this subject. If you are looking to create a mobile web application that uses forms, this chapter is a must-read.

Part III is titled Beyond the Basics and it contains 3 chapters; themeing jQuery Mobile, the jQuery Mobile API and a complete web app example. As you probably already knew, jQuery Mobile comes with 5 default themes that you can choose from, but more often than not, you need to create a custom theme that suits your website or web app. Themeing jQuery Mobile chapter explains just how you can do that with an example red theme. The jQuery Mobile API is another favourite chapter of mine because when I was developing in jQuery Mobile a few months ago, there weren’t a lot of resources available on how the API works, in particular, the methods and events available. It could have saved me a lot of time if only I had this book back then. The last chapter in Part III is a complete web app example. The web app example uses PHP5 for the back end and as the title suggest, it is a complete app, meaning you can take the example code, upload it to your web server and have a fully functional web app in jQuery Mobile.

Overall, the book is an excellent book for developers who want to dive into mobile app development with jQuery Mobile. There are a lot of screenshots, code examples and references to help you get started. What I like most about the book is that it’s written by a developer for developers which means the tutorials are easy to follow and will get you up to speed on the basics of app development in no time.

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Update (October 2012): The 3rd edition of the book is now available for purchase. It’s fully updated for jQuery Mobile 1.1 and 1.2, and covers everything from the new transitions through to the new popup widget, data attributes, and the latest versions of PhoneGap and XCode.

What’s new in the latest edition?

– Chapter 3: Covers the 2 new transitions, turn and flow, as well as the new transition system

– Chapter 6: The new main section on popups (about 2/3 of the chapter)

– Chapter 7: Covers the new data-mini attribute for mini form elements, as well as improvements to sliders

– Chapter 8: The section on the listviewbeforefilter event

– Chapter 9: The data-collapsed-icon and data-expanded-icon attributes, and collapsible listviews

– Chapter 11: Includes a lot of the new jQuery Mobile settings, as well as the new loading spinner and loading() method

– Chapter 13: Revamped “CityChums” app so it runs more smoothly, plus it’s updated for the latest versions of PhoneGap and Xcode, and the iPhone 5 display

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Sample PhoneGap Project

If you would like to get a sample PhoneGap project (uses jQuery mobile), you can download PhoneGap App using jQuery Mobile source code.

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