O'Reilly's iPhone Open Application Development: Rough Cuts Version

O’Reilly has released their first version of their first iPhone programming book. The book does not cover the official SDK from Apple, but the «open» SDK used by jailbroken phones. The book is not finished; for 20 US$, you can buy the unfinished «rough cuts» version as a PDF, and you’ll get updates as the book progresses.

I just bought the book, and something I found interesting is that O’Reilly generates an individual PDF for each buyer (after paying for the book, it takes a few seconds for the download to become active). Your name and Safari ID appears on every page of the PDF, saying something like «Prepared for [your name], Safari ID: [your Safari ID].» Also, there appears to be some DRM which disables some commands in Preview; for example, you can’t use «Save As…».

Personally, although I have no intention of giving the PDF to anyone else (not that I actually knew anyone who would be interested in it), I prefer it when the seller trusts me. Also, I seem to remember a lot of outrage about the watermarking on the iTunes store; did I miss the Slashdot outrage about the O’Reilly PDF downloads, or was there never one?

As for the book itself, it’s very approachable, starting at jailbreaking your phone (although the book thinks 1.1.1 is the latest firmware) and installing the iPhone toolchain. There’s even a short introduction to Objective-C. With that out of the way, the book moves to UIKit, event handling, advanced graphics and audio. At first glance, the writing seems reasonably engaging (for a book on programming, anyways). So the book seems well-written, and it covers all the important bases. Most likely worth the 20 bucks it cost.

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designed for use cover

But wait, there's more!

Want to read more like this? Buy my book's second edition! Designed for Use: Create Usable Interfaces for Applications and the Web is now available DRM-free directly from The Pragmatic Programmers. Or you can get it on Amazon, where it's also available in Chinese and Japanese.