The target audience of this book is anyone with a basic understanding of html and general programming concepts who is interested in developing a mobile web site.
Writing in a lively and readable style, the author begins with a brief introduction to the mobile web, what it is and why it’s poised for explosive growth. There is a discussion of the variety of mobile devices and browsers, the differences between them and of how the mobile web is used differently than the fixed web. Design decisions like whether to build a generic Least Common Denominator (LCD) site or to use adaptation to optimize the site for various browsers by resizing images to fix different screen sizes, and varying mime types and markup are also explored.
The main part of the book walks the reader though the design and construction of a mobile site for client Luigi Mobeli’s, Pizza on the Run. The site is developed progressively starting as a static informational site with a click to call link and then adding online pizza ordering and adaption using PHP4WALL. Mehta then demonstrates how to send SMS and MMS messages from PHP using the Clickatell gateway and how to receive mobile payments with the PayPal API.
The most interesting parts of the book for me were Chapters 9 and 10 covering voice recognition and mobile Ajax, respectively. The voice recognition section didn’t really have much to do with the mobile web but I learned a lot reading it because it covers how to setup a voice recognition server using free Voxeo Prophecy software, a subject I knew nothing about.
Chapter 10 covers using pavingways.com’s Frost library to create a mobile Ajax page that updates in place using XMLHttpRequest and implements an interactive comment form.
The last chapter looks at the future of the mobile web calling out what the author considers the top trends; rich web applications, mobile widgets, full-web browsers, Google Android and occasionally connected computing with services like Google Gears.
I found Mobile Web Development a well written, up to date and comprehensive introduction to the subject. It covers so many different aspects of mobile development that even experienced mobile developers are likely to benefit from the book.