Book Review: Begining Nokia Apps Development

Front cover

So several months ago a book was released for developers called Beginning Nokia Apps Development by Ray Rischpater and Daniel Zucker. I dutifully bought it intending to go through it and post a review a week or so later.  It’s taken longer than a week or so for several reasons, but I have used it enough to write a review.

The book covers Qt development through the app development lifecycle, with each chapter helping to implement an example app that tracks earthquakes using USGS data. Each chapter has sections on how to complete certain aspects of an app, and ends with a “Putting It All Together” section which has most of the code needed to make a working app, based on what was covered that chapter. It should strike a nice balance between the theory/reference book, and the hands-on lab style book. Sounds good so far.

Sadly, on at least one of those aspects it fails through a simple flaw. In several chapters, the code in the book won’t result in something that compiles, let alone runs.  This isn’t because of the odd error, or because it was written against an older version of Qt, but because there are simply bits missed out. The humungous chapter 5 (Doing More with Qt), which covers a lot of key classes and libraries in Qt, and also Qt Mobility, QtWebKit, is the worst for this. After typing in the code from the, book, you know it won’t run. Downloading the code from the Apress website, and you realize how much more there is to do compare with what is in the book. Other chapters are the same, though chapter 6 (Introducing Qt Quick) does work, and I was able to take it and adapt it for my N8.

The fact that I needed to adapt it could also be seen as an issue. Most of the code examples are written to look good on the N900. Usually this won’t matter much, and will look fine in the simulator, but for some, who want stuff to work for then without having to adapt it, it may be a frustration.

As a reference book it will fair better.   I can see myself using it as such long term and if I want to know how to receive/send a message, play a media file, there is bits about how to do that. However, it’s also fair to say there is little here that I couldn’t find out quickly at the Qt and Nokia Developer websites and forums.

Qt has moved on a bit and so has Nokia, but for now it still has relevancy for those starting out on Qt development for Symbian, MeeGo and Maemo. But think about the type of person you are before buying. If you are someone me, like me, who wants to complete code examples and exercises to learn, this book will frustrate you. If you are more likely to want to dip in and see how to use Qt to perform a particular task, this could be a great help.

I would give this a 5/10 rating.

At the time of writing, the book can be purchased new from Alibris for $9.92, or Amazon Marketplace for 9.92 new or $6.69 used, as well as many other places across the web in paperback and e-book forms.

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About bluechrism

I am a software developer with most professional experience in the Windows .Net realm and I'm currently a WPF developer with Starkey Labs. However, I have wanted for some time to start the mobile developer journey properly and being an N900 owner, this was to be in the realm of QT. Job hunting, moving to Minnesota and changing jobs put my plans on hold 6-12 months but things are starting to settle now, just as I'm getting sorted to start some things, Microsoft and Nokia merge. This blog is about my novice mobile development experiences and hopefully will end up complete with links to download some apps on various platforms, but obviously by the name, Sybian, Maemo/Meego and Windows Mobile. In other stuff, I am English, I support Everton FC, I have visited Glastonbury music festival 5 times and recommend it to anyone. I am married and my wife and i have a dog called Friday.
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