Book review: Sencha Touch Mobile JavaScript Framework

Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book from Packt to review

I finished reading a copy of Sencha Touch Mobile JavaScript Framework that Packt Publishing provided me with. In this post a review of the book.

What is this book about / what will you learn?

See also packtpub:

Overview

  • Learn to develop web applications that look and feel native on Apple iOS and Google Android touchscreen devices using Sencha Touch through examples
  • Design resolution-independent and graphical representations like buttons, icons, and tabs of unparalleled flexibility
  • Add custom events like tap, double tap, swipe, tap and hold, pinch, and rotate
  • Plenty of well-explained sample code with the essential screenshots added in for thorough understanding

You will learn:

  • Make use of technologies such as HTML5 and CSS3 to provide native-quality application experiences without the need for plugins
  • featured image

  • Create a sample application using Sencha Touch that will run on Apple iOS and Google Android
  • Efficiently use the list of components available in Sencha Touch framework libraries such as tab panels, scrollable list views, and toolbars
  • Add custom touch events like tap, double tap, swipe, tap and hold, pinch, and rotate
  • Discover the rich event communication that is available in every Sencha Touch component, allowing you to quickly respond to your users and create intuitive, native-quality applications
  • Completely control the look of your application with Sencha Touch themes and styling options.
  • Quickly put together simple components backed by the data package
  • Allow your users to store information with forms, or access remote information from other services like Google maps and Flickr
  • Learn about web storage features to store data offline, or communicate with online databases for richer storage options.
  • Explore expert topics like syncing data and compiling applications for sale on an App store.

My review

++ Easy accessible

The entry level is low, somebody with a general idea about touch devices and having some HTML/CSS skills, preferably also some knowledge of Javascript, can jump in with great ease.

++ Clear and concise explanations

The explanations and code examples were comprehensive and well structured (one caveat with the code, see further down). Especially Chapter 8 was useful: it combined the concepts building a Flickr Finder app – cool.

++ Wide range of technologies make it an interesting read

Apart from Sencha Touch a lot of other technologies are introduced like writing CSS with SASS, the Safari Error console, REST / building an API and AJAX, PhoneGap/ NimbleKit, working in offline mode. I liked this, it gives you some relevant context you need as a developer.

– - All code == Sencha Touch 1.1.0, you want to use Sencha Touch 2.x !

Here is where the book lost a bit my appetite. It uses Sencha Touch 1.1.0 and this is not the latest release. Release 2.x is out and contains important changes. The Sencha Touch 2 Developer Preview was already presented in October last year, yet this book came out if February 2012. I don’t understand it doesn’t take a sneak preview at least as the Facebook graph title I reviewed did with the Open Graph that was even fresher when that book was released.

I noted that when I loaded the 2.x library files into the 1.1.0 code examples things started to fail. This demotivated me a bit because I didn’t see any use in trying examples of an older release especially knowing that performance was the key improvement between 1.x and 2.x. I guess this is inherent to writing a book about any software topic, but I had expected a bit more here, knowing that Packt books are heavily focussed on practical code samples.

++ Overall: good book

That aside, as I already stated the material was presented in a clear and wide scope. It was an interesting and joyful ride to get familiar with the Sencha Touch framework. After reading I can clearly see this is a good approach to mobile web development. I am looking forward to dive into the release 2 documentation soon to actually build something myself.

More info

You can read more about the book here. Please let me know in the comments if you have any experience and/or example apps built with Sencha Touch.

© 2014 Bob Belderbos. All rights reserved.

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