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Beginning iPhone 4 Development
by Dave Mark, Jack Nutting and Jeff LaMarche

Dave's Website
Dave's Book ($24.09 @ Amazon)

See Notes below

Dave and I go back a few years. I purchased his ‘Learn C on the Macintosh’ back in 1991. My book definitely looks that old or older.

Time and technology have changed drastically since then, but Dave keeps on jammin. While this book is good it is also based on Xcode 3, like all the books in my review. Apple released Xcode 4 weeks after this book was published. In the eyes of some, the book become obsolete when that happened. I happen not to believe that, as I will explain.

I do know that a lot of purchaser’s of this book were very upset when this happened. It was not Dave’s fault. (Author’s do not plan for their book to become obsolete in two weeks) And it was not Apple’s fault. If you read my intro, you know how it works. Technology waits for no one. You either get on board or watch the train leave the station. Technology marches on, with or without you. Your call.

So, just how do you learn the iOS if the book is based on Xcode 3 after Apple releases Xcode 4? The solution is simple or perhaps not so simple, if you’re a N00b. It really all boils down to how bad you want to become an app developer. One way is to just use Xcode 3 and learn from the book that way. There are no laws that say you must use Xcode 4 just because it is the latest and the greatest. Personally, I kept both versions in my Dock for months.

Reverting for a moment back to my Moderator days, I heard every excuse under the sun about why the book would not work and why a N00b should or should not use Xcode 3 or Xcode 4 ... ad infinitum. If you’re a N00b, just take the book and use Xcode 3. When your confidence is such that you are comfortable with the tools, download Xcode 4 and continue from there. It is difficult enough learning the iOS without having to work with an Xcode version that does not match the book. Make it easy on yourself : learn the iOS with the version of Xcode that matches the book. You will learn much faster.

The book may or may not be updated any time soon. If you want to wait for that to happen you can. But, if you want to begin learning, then grab a copy of Xcode 3 and get with it.

Back to the book. I pre-ordered mine, so I may have been one of the first to receive it. That was on Feb 1, 2011. Dog-eared and soiled from handling, it has been used extensively. In my world, that means it’s a good book. This book is loaded with great tutorials and information that you can apply and learn from immediately. This book covers more material than all of the books in my review except for Erica Sadun’s book, but that’s another story.

Of all my iOS books, this is the one that has helped me the most. The author’s do not skip on graphics to clarify their point(s). They take the time to explain the details to you. If you have read another iOS book previous to this one, you will understand why the details matter. They help to clear the fuzzies in your head. TYPE in all the example code and then re-read the chapter. Dissect your code, over and over again. This book is a goldmine of coding information. If you want to have just one book to learn from, this is the one.

Caveat. This book has more than its share of typographical errors. Some are serious, but the website can help because most, if not all, of the typo’s have been documented.

The website that accompanies the book is a bit odd in that the author’s do not participate. While I do have a great deal of experience with this website, I will let you reach your own conclusions about it. Joining is free and the last time I visited, there seems to be quite a bit of traffic.

I contacted one of the author’s inquiring as to why they did not participate in their own website. I did not receive the courtesy of his reply. I will leave it at that.

Note 1 - The Book link above is for their latest book on the iOS 5 SDK. From what I can tell it is simply updated so I think my comments will still apply equally well.

Note 2 - About the website: it no longer is functional. My efforts to access it (Feb 2012) have always lead to the book promo. I have no idea.

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