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Mobile Development with C#
Building Native iOS, Android, and Windows Phone Applications

Author(s): Greg Shackles

Released: 2012, Pages: 174
Print ISBN:978-1-4493-2023-2| ISBN 10:1-4493-2023-6
Ebook ISBN:978-1-4493-2022-5| ISBN 10:1-4493-2022-8

Publisher (more . . .)O'Reilly Media


 Four out of Five Stars
  Reviewed: April, 2013
  Reviewer: Rob Collins
       Mobile Development with C# is a book that tackles a massive subject in a concise way. It covers techniques for leveraging C# for mobile development on three decidedly different platforms: iOS, Android and Windows Phone. I think the audience that would get the most out of the book would be intermediate to advanced developers who have not done much work on one or more of the mobile platforms mentioned above.

     The book is a do-first manual. The author sets out tasks and goals for each chapter, then starts to structure a solution that meets those goals. He then explains the underlying concepts, in the context of the work being done. It is an effective technique. Even when the chapter's goal is straightforward -- such as rendering “Hello World”, you are able to see how the platforms have many similar concepts, but that they have different ways of executing them. Even the way the same C# and Mono code run on iOS and Android has interesting differences that are highlighted. (Mono is the framework for using C# outside of the Microsoft ecosystem) Be ready to code almost as soon as you open up this book – code drives the narrative.

     I also enjoyed the practical nature of the book. The author points out where using a common code base provides benefits and when it does not. He does not pretend that C#/Mono is a silver bullet -- the old "write once, run anywhere" canard -- but he does spell out practical benefits for code reuse. He follows that up with viable examples of how you can share code and how you can write code that runs on all three platforms, making allowances for each one. He explains architectural patterns with practicality as a core tenet. The three main use cases he walks through - file serialization, network access, and location/mapping are all features you are likely to use in most real-world applications.

     The clear goals and practical examples keep the pace of the book lively. They also make it feel focused, rather than abbreviated. You are not going to come out of this book with all the tools you need to write the next billion-dollar application, but you can get a running start on developing for iOS and Android with C#. You will also have good examples to build on.

     The only real downside I see is that the discussions and examples for Windows Phone are targeted for Windows Phone 7, which is one (very) major version behind. It's the nature of the beast, I suppose, since the mobile space moves so quickly, and Microsoft essentially rebooted their mobile platform (again) with Windows Phone 8. It's not a death blow, though. Conceptually, most of the things he talks about for Windows Phone 7 can be applied to 8. It also did not bother me personally, since I have a lot more familiarity with Windows Phone development and Microsoft tools in a Microsoft ecosystem than Mono on iOS and Android.

     All in all, a great book if you are looking to leverage C# skills in new environments.
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