Monday, July 14, 2008

iPhone Open Application Development: Write Native Objective-C Applications for the iPhone

I'll be interested to see how this book plays out... iPhone Open Application Development: Write Native Objective-C Applications for the iPhone by Jonathan Zdziarski. Don't be misled thinking this covers the official SDK that Apple created. This is for those of you who don't want to be penned in by someone telling you what you can and can't do on their device. Truly targeted at the inner hacker...

Breaking into and Setting Up the iPhone; Getting Started with Applications; Introduction to UIKit; Event Handling and Graphics Services; Advanced Graphics Programming with Core Surface and Layer Kit; Making Some Noise; Advanced UIKit Design; Miscellaneous Hacks and Recipes

Your satisfaction with this book will rely heavily on making sure you know what you're getting into. If you think this is the official approved method for writing applications for the iPhone, think again. Zdziarski goes the hacker route and shows how to program the iPhone using the Objective C language as well as a number of open source tools best known and understood by those in the Unix/Linux world. Considering the first step is to jailbreak your iPhone, you should know you're getting into stuff that could "brick" your cool toy if you're not careful. But since that doesn't stop the true hacker anyway, then you should have no problem continuing on. The book isn't a tutorial on the C language, so you really do need to know and understand that before you'll be able to follow along and venture outside the lines that Zdziarski lays down for you. But he does go into the UIKit in good detail, so you can start to grasp what graphical and audio capabilities you can control and use in your application(s).

I see this book being a great tool for the person who wants to write their own personal applications for the iPhone, and who doesn't want to live with the restrictions that Apple is placing on the use and distribution of "official" applications. If you're writing for someone other than yourself, your audience probably won't stray far from the hacker group who also was comfortable with jailbreaking their iPhone. If you're considering developing mainstream applications for the iPhone, this isn't the way you want to go. You'll want to stick with the SDK so that you are assured of a consistent and reliable release and distribution mechanism. Even so, spending time here before moving to the SDK will give you a much greater understanding of the iPhone operating system and hardware interface, which will likely come in handy when you go the SDK route.

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