Web site development for mobile devices

    Author : Gardner L., Grigsby D.
    Translation of the book : Chernik Vadim
    Release date : March / April 2013

    We hasten to please you: in the spring we have a new translated book by O'Reilly publishing house “Head First Mobile Web”. Probably almost any IT specialist read something from the Head First series. If you have never read Head First books, then in this post you can learn about the unique, fun design of this series.

    I was looking for a new book on mobile web development, and suddenly I came across the work of Mobile Web from the series “Head First”, written by Lisa Denger Gardner and Jason Grigsby. After reading the book, I was literally amazed at how wide the subject matter is considered in it. Without exaggeration, the reader can get acquainted with almost any aspect of mobile web development.

    Personally, I started reading a book, primarily because I was interested in the topic of adaptive web design. But it was very interesting for me to get acquainted with the mobile web frameworks, in particular with jQuery Mobile, with issues of device discovery, data storage on a local device, using PhoneGap and many other topics.

    Responsive web design makes me mixed feelings. I understand the potential of this concept, but the developer in me is indignant when I try to create pages based solely on media queries. Of course, it would be great to leave the server side alone and change the view depending on the size of the user’s browser, but who can guarantee that this practice will be effective? In my opinion, responsive web design is great for content-rich or purely informational sites, but for web applications this method has not yet matured. I hate to create components on the server side or to query the database only so that the presentation level rejects it - because of the adaptive design - I'm a developer! Performance, processing speed, memory - that's what matters to me.

    Another strong impression that the book had on me was that adaptive design can be good in theory, but its practical implementation on a variety of devices can turn out to be a pretty headache and work only with constant tricks. In general, when working with CSS, I had a feeling that this was not a programming language - but it would be worth it to be a programming language. Responsive web design does not relieve you of the need for browser checks, etc. Anyone who has had a chance to work with JavaScript for a long time remembers what it takes to write browser-specific code and what a nightmare it can be debugging in multiple browsers at the same time. Then jQuery appeared, and everything changed: nowadays such problems rarely occur. I'm still waiting for the framework to appear, which also debugs CSS and saves us from browser quirks. Such a framework would significantly optimize and adaptive design.

    Don't get me wrong - of course, responsive web design has been and remains a great concept. I just believe that it can eventually turn into a hybrid, which consists of adaptive design on the client and server discovery on the machine interface.

    The PhoneGap section seemed very interesting to me. I think that as long as the mobile market continues to split up (especially if Windows 8 enters this market as well), a single platform on which it will be possible to develop applications for any device will be more and more popular. The smallest companies can no longer afford to have independent teams for development for Android and iOS. PhoneGap helps solve this problem by allowing developers to use HTML 5 and a mobile framework like jQuery Mobile or Sencha Touch in hybrid applications. Again, theoretically, it will be possible to create a website with a responsive design in HTML 5 and wrap it in PhoneGap, turning it into a mobile application. This is an interesting idea, although I'm not so inspired by the fact that web views work on devices, not the native user interface components. When web views start to work faster, using them may not be a problem. Other similar technologies, such as Appcelerator Titanium, allow developers to create cross-platform applications using JavaScript and native user interface components. That is, the need for such tools, of course, exists.

    Mobile Website Development is the book for you if you are interested in an extensive introduction to mobile web design and development. The book emphasizes many interesting points, it gives the reader rich food for thought. In addition, it seems to me that the authors of the book perfectly help the persistent reader to master the best development practices, as well as examine in detail many of the topics covered.

    “Website development for mobile devices” will be soon in all stores in your city!

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