Monday, 22 February 2010

Book review: iPhone Advanced Projects

Name: iPhone Advanced Projects
Author: Various
Publisher: APress
Price: $39.99
Pages: 374
Reviewed by: Pete Goodliffe
Verdict: OK
Book homepage: here

This is another book in the APress iPhone "projects" series. It follows the form of its predecessors; it is a series of 11 essays by different authors on a particular topic which that they have some familiarity (I'm not sure I can always say "expertise") in.


First, the book production bears discussion. Unlike previous books, this one is printed in plain black and white rather than the accustomed luxurious full-colour. The book still costs the same amount, so this appears to be a ploy by publisher to increase profit rather than a way to position book at lower price point to gain more readers.

Unfortunately, the book suffers because of this. Not only is it less visually appealing, it is less practical and easy to follow. Some visual modification should have been applied to the format to make it work in B&W. Without colour, the sans-serif body text is harder to read and is less distinct from headings, subtitles, and illustrations.

In particular, many screen shots suffer. Often an author refers to details that are completely lost in a sea of black ink. These images should have been edited to improve contrast, or the text reworked to explain the point without an illustration.


On the whole this book has been well edited and proofed, probably better than some of the other books in the series. There are only a few typos. It hangs together as well as the other books, which is fine - it's a series of unconnected essays on different topics.

As another "grab bag" book, you'll either want to make a purchase if you care about a specific topic included (see below), or you just want a general overview of a number of topics.


The book covers the expected iPhone topics: Graphics/UI (creating particle systems, OpenGL ES reflections, and making responsive UIs), networking (writing an app backend server to integrate with iphone app, using push notifications, yet another socket-based UDP example, and sending an email from your app), audio, debugging, and data handling (both in SQLite, and Core Data).

Most chapters are sufficiently detailed. The audio chapter, I felt, was a chatty overview, but didn't provide as good a grounding as just reading the iPhone audio docs.

As ever, the detail in each chapter cannot replace the iPhone SDK docs which are complete and detailed. However, there are often little information gems that will help your development and save you a little time working with that technology.


If you're new to iPhone programming, this might be an interesting book. Also consider the other Apress titles in the series, and chose the book with the topics you are most interested in.

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