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Learning iPhone Programming

Learning iPhone Programming, by Alasdair Allan: a definitive book to learn native iPhone programming. Recommended for those who understand Apple, C, OOP, and wish to create high-performance full-featured applications for iPhone.

I’m an old-school coder and I would not claim myself mastering a platform before writing my own application in that platform. But there are different approaches to write our code in iPhone. The easy (and old) way is using web application with HTML-CSS-JavaScript suite. But to make the apps integrated with iPhone’s feature (camera, GPS, compass, accelerometer), we have to choose the native code: with Cocoa and Objective C. This Learning iPhone Programming book, published by O’Reilly, is a definitive book that guide us in designing such apps.

This book explores in detail the steps to take in design real iPhone apps. First it guides us to enroll in the iPhone Developer Program, to make sure our codes will be approved to run on a real device (instead of a simulator). The development environment (the Xcode) and iPhone SDK must be installed. Then, while preparing and designing our first iPhone app, we would learn the terms and tools in iPhone apps designing.

The following chapters will dig deeper in Objective-C language, design aspects, and essential features to be mastered; including network connection, data handling, sensor, geolocation and mapping, and the integration of the applications. We would also learn the distribution of our application in Appstore. The last chapter mentions the other aspects to learn further to enrich our app.

I consider this is one of the best books available to guide us designing a full featured iPhone app. I found it easy to learn (partially because I knew a bit about C, OOP, and Xcode — but you don’t really need to master them to start learning this book). I like how fast we can learn iPhone programming, guided by this compact book.

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Head First WordPress

Head First WordPress, by Jeff Siarto: An excellent book to explore the important features of WordPress as blogging platform and CMS, and to manage a well organized blog.

A couple years ago I wrote a booklet about WordPress, aimed to educate teachers and students to start blogging. The book was almost purely for novice, to use WordPress.com, to install WordPress.org, and to understand blogging world (feed, aggregator, communities, etc). This year I found that O’Reilly has published a book discussing WordPress: Head First WordPress.

As other Head First books from O’Reilly, it is rich with illustration, and clever metaphors to make it easy to understand the concept of WordPress. This is an O’Reilly, not a “For Dummies” book, so you could not expect a verbose explanation here. In brief but clear language and illustration, it discusses the concept of website and blogging, the installation of WordPress from the scratch, changing the blog’s look and feel, editing the themes. Things like webhosting selection, cloud computing, and Google Analytics are also explored. Then it explores some relatively advanced topics, including the use of plugins, multimedia services (podcast, video, etc), organizing, optimizing, and securing the site.

However, as the name implied, this is a book for starter: it does not review all features of WordPress. Features of WordPress Multiuser and Buddypress are out-of-scope. For seasoned WordPress users (or plugin developers), there are not so many new ideas to dig here. I will suggest this book for a new blogger or web designer who want to boost his/her blogging experience in short time.

One other thing: I think O’Reilly must publish the Kindle version. The current e-Book version is only in PDF format, and less enjoyable to read in Kindle.

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Twitterville, Chapter 1

At last I could catch Shel Israel‘s Twitterville at Aksara Bookshop here in Jakarta. Actually I have read some part of the book last month at Budi Putra‘s apartment. But now as I have my own book, I can read it in a non-geminian way (i.e. not-randomly). I haven’t finished half of it, so I guess it is not the right time to make a review. Instead, I just want to share a quote taken from the first chapter.

TwittervilleA devout blogger must know Ev William, the founder of Blogger (Pyra). That was my second platform for my blog, which I used from 2000 to 2006, before migrating to WordPress. When Google bought Blogger, Ev became an employee at Google. But then he decided to start his other startup: Odeo. It is in Odeo that Ev & other comrades develop Twitter. But when Ev was still at Google, he said he had learned two important lessons:

  1. Get the product right and make users happy before you worry about making money. Google had done that, and for that matter, so had Pyra.
  2. Focus is everything. Every company has to choose between what it can do and what it should do. the marketplace can be noisy and distracting. Don’t let that push you off course.

Those two lessons have guided Ev even after leaving Google and running Twitter. Even after Twitter was experiencing a prolonged ascent that seemingly had no end in sight, the issues of product reliability and focus would keep coming back, and the team consistently stay focused, and continuously put product reliability in front of other considerations.

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