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Book Review: The iOS 5 Developer's Cookbook

Core Concepts and Essential Recipes for iOS Programmers

This book is much more than just a cookbook with a bunch of recipes in it. I have used plenty of cookbooks and they are never readable from cover to cover. I usually just familiarize myself with the recipes that are available, read the ones interesting to me at the time, and throw them on the shelf until I need them. This one I have not been able to put down.

The author does a great job of mixing a traditional book with a recipe book. Most chapters contain both background information and recipes. Some chapters are mostly made up of recipes, and the first three chapters contain none to a very few. The first three chapters are dedicated to introducing the iOS SDk, Objective-C, and Xcode.

I have listed the chapters below to give you a high level view of the topics covered.

Introducing the iOS SDK
Objective-C Boot Camp
Building Your First Project
Designing Interfaces
Working with View Controllers
Assembling Views and Animations
Working with Images
Gestures and Touches
Building and Using Controls
Working with Text
Creating and Managing Table Views
A Taste of Core Data
Alerting the User
Device Capabilities
Networking

This book lives up to the cookbook title. There is tons of code that comes with it and it is all very well organized and usable. The only thing I didn't like was that the author used HelloWorld.xcodeproj for the project name every time. After you open a few projects you have to go to Finder and the actual folder to reopen a specific one because all your shortcuts are HelloWorld.xcodeproj. I do like that the samples are built to run on both the iPad and iPhone, and that they run without the need to tweak them.

This book covers a ton of material, but of course I always would like to see more. The thing I would like to see most in a fourth edition of this book is much more coverage of dealing with security on web services and JSON over REST. I am using the NSJSONSerialization class, which the author only lightly touches on in the book and provides a small sample application.

I am not going to ding the book for not providing detailed coverage of dealing with security on web services and JSON over REST because it covers so much already in such great detail. No one is covering web services in enough detail for me, and although several authors have said there are plenty of resources on the web, there aren't. Especially when it comes to samples that also include security. Apple's developer documentation is greatly lacking in this area also. They provide plenty of theory, but no good clean concrete samples.

I think this book is great for both the beginner and the experienced developer. The author does a great job of explaining complex topics that make it easy to understand while going in-depth enough to completely explain the topic at hand.

This book is an invaluable asset for any iOS developer and I highly recommend it. This book will continue to be within arms reach every time I open Xcode.

The iOS 5 Developer's Cookbook: Core Concepts and Essential Recipes for iOS Programmers

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Tad Anderson has been doing Software Architecture for 18 years and Enterprise Architecture for the past few.

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