I had been looking for a new book on mobile web development and stumbled across Head First Mobile Web by Lyza Danger Gardner and Jason Grigsby. After finishing the book I was surprised at the breadth of subjects it covered, they really did walk readers through almost every aspect of mobile web development.
I’ll admit that my main reason for reading the book initially was for the sections on responsive web design but was happy to also read about mobile web frameworks including jQuery Mobile, device detection, local storage, using PhoneGap, and more.
Responsive web design to me is a mixed bag, I see the power behind the concept but the developer in me throws up red flags when building pages based on media queries alone. Sure, it would be great to leave the server side alone and alter the presentation based on the size of the user’s browser but is that something that can be done efficiently? To me responsive design is great for content heavy or informational websites but less mature for web apps. I cringe at building out components server side or making a database call only to have the presentation layer throw it away because of responsive design. I’m a developer – performance, processing speed, and memory matter.
Don’t get me wrong, responsive web design is a great concept and is here to stay, I just think it might eventually migrate to becoming a hybrid of responsive design on the front-end and server-side detection on the back.
Head First Mobile Web is definitely worth reading if you want a broad introduction to mobile web design and development. It brings up many interesting points and gives the reader a lot to think about. I also thought the book did an excellent job of trying to steer readers towards best practices and really did dive into the details on the lot of the topics discussed.