Archive for the ‘review’ Category

Beginning BlackBerry Development by Anthony Rizk

The first book in Apress’s Blackberry series appeared this past November: Beginning BlackBerry Development by Anthony Rizk. Naturally I picked up a copy because I was curious to see how his approach (and his book) compared to my upcoming book (Learn BlackBerry Games Development, written in cooperation with Andrew Davison). Fortunately, the two books cover quite different subject matter. I’d even say they’re complimentary. It turns out that there’s quite a lot to say about the BlackBerry platform because the application lifecycle/behavior/philosophy is very different from MIDP (even though you can run MIDlets on it), plus BlackBerry has a dedicated server-side network that you can program for. John M. Wargo — who reviewed Rizk’s book on Planet Lotus — says that his book on BlackBerry Development Fundamentals is also complementary with Rizk’s. (It kind of makes me wonder if there’s overlap between my book and John Wargo’s — but I doubt there’s much.)

Rizk’s book — being an intro book — doesn’t assume a high level of Java/programming knowledge. In Chapter 1, he warns the reader that “This book is not an introduction to object-oriented programming, or even to the Java language.” However, if you’ve taken one course in Java programming or have worked through an intro book on the subject, “Beginning BlackBerry Development” would be a fine next step. It covers all of the fundamentals of how to build and deploy a BlackBerry Java application, how the application lifecycle works, how to build a user-interface (and respond to user input), the differences among the four or more different types of data persistence on BlackBerry (and how to use them), the different types of BlackBerry network communications available, and how to program for the GPS.

They timed the book to come out in time for the holidays (as well as for a BlackBerry dev conference), and it’s true that the book would make a good gift for a technophile in your life who’s thinking of going into software engineering or for a software engineer in your life who has a BlackBerry and is thinking of maybe trying to sell an application on BlackBerry App World. (And if they like it — and want to take it to the next level with the techniques for making games on the BlackBerry — well, you can guess which book I’d recommend they try next. 😉 )

A range of ideas and perspectives: iPhone Games Projects

iphone_games_projectsEven though I’m still playing with MIDP for the moment, it’s fun (and instructive!) to look over the shoulder of some of the people developing games for other device platforms.  I’ve done a little bit of work on the Android platform, and naturally I’d like to know what’s up with the iPhone as well.

So I picked up a copy of iPhone Games Projects by PJ Cabrera (and others).  This book is unusual for a computer book in that they gathered up ten highly successful iPhone game developers to give their best secrets and advice, so it gives higher-level project strategy ideas instead of spelling out all of the technical nitty-gritty.

Overall, the book answers the following questions:

  • What makes an iPhone game great?
  • How do you plan and execute a successful professional iPhone project?
  • How do you optimize for the iPhone?

The authors all present different perspectives on the subject, which naturally invites the reader to contrast them and think about their ideas! Continue reading