rusq: Vol. 51 Issue 4: p. 377
Sources: Going Mobile: Developing Apps for Your Library Using Basic HTML Programming.
Heather R. Williams

Strategist for Content Processes & Services, Robert W. Woodruff Library, Emory University, Atlanta, Georgia

Going Mobile is all about the fundamentals of app development. The only requisite knowledge needed before picking up this book is elementary HTML. The author has a straightforward and thorough style that walks readers through everything: how to understand the basic terminology (for example, “mobile app” vs. “native app”), how to create one's first native app, and how to test it on users. Throughout the book, the author focuses on the guiding principle of mobile app development: simplicity. He continuously reinforces the importance of simplicity when formatting content to increase navigation and interactivity for mobile users.

Beyond the very basics, the book gives a crash course in cascading style sheets (CSS) and introduces readers to JavaScript. Importantly, the author also gives some caveats for working with JavaScript: although it has some powerful features, such as the ability to detect the size of a user's mobile screen and change the style sheet accordingly, JavaScript is not supported by all phones, so libraries should consider this before adding such code to their mobile apps.

The most helpful chapter of the book walks the reader through the process of building a “bare-bones” native app by using tools such as PhoneGap to “bridge the gap” between programmers and non-programmers with regard to mobile web development. Such tools allow a developer to create a page as they would for the mobile web, using HTML (and potentially CSS and JavaScript), and then converts that page into a language supported by a native app.

Many books, articles, and even YouTube videos have been produced on the topic of mobile web and app development, but the vast majority of these do not focus on libraries. Additionally, none are nearly as straightforward and concise as La Counte's book. This readability, combined with numerous helpful screenshots, create an accessible how-to book perfect for tech-knowledgeable librarians who want to create a basic mobile app for their library.

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