Head First Mobile Web

Head First Mobile Web

Mobile web usage is exploding. Soon, more web browsing will take place on phones and tablets than PCs. Your business needs a mobile strategy, but where do you start? Head First Mobile Web shows how to use the web technology you're already familiar with to make sites and apps that work on any device of any size. Put your JavaScript, CSS media query, and HTML5 skills to work, and then optimize your site to perform its best in the demanding mobile market. Along the way, you'll discover how to adapt your business strategy to target specific devices.

  • Navigate the increasingly complex mobile landscape
  • Take both technical and strategic approaches to mobile web design
  • Use the latest development techniques—including Responsive Web Design and server-side device detection with WURFL
  • Learn quickly through images, puzzles, stories, and quizzes

We think your time is too valuable to waste struggling with new concepts. Using the latest research in cognitive science and learning theory to craft a multi-sensory learning experience, Head First Mobile Web uses a visually rich format designed for the way your brain works, not a text-heavy approach that puts you to sleep.

A collection of images from inside the book.

Read Me:

What you should know before reading this book

This is a learning experience, not a reference book. We deliberately stripped out everything that might get in the way of learning whatever it is we're working on at that point in the book. And the first time through, you need to begin at the beginning, because the book makes assumptions about what you've already seen and learned.

We expect you to know HTML and CSS

If you don't know HTML and CSS, pick up a copy of Head First HTML and CSS before starting this book. We'll explain some of the more obscure CSS selectors or HTML elements, but don't expect to learn about that foundational stuff here.

We expect you to feel comfy around web scripting code

We're not asking you to be a world-class JavaScript expert or to have done a graduate computer science project using PHP, but you'll see examples using both languages throughout the book. If the merest notion of a for loop makes you hyperventilate (or if you have no idea what we're talking about), you might consider tracking down a copy of Head First PHP & MySQL or Head First JavaScript then heading on back here.

We expect you to know how to track things down

We'll be blunt. The Mobile Web is an enormous topic, and mastering it involves expanding your existing web development skills. There are too many things to know about the Web for any one person to memorize, whether it's a detail of JavaScript syntax or whether a particular browser supports a specific HTML5 element attribute. Don't be too hard on yourself. Part of the toolset of a good web dev is keeping your Google chops sharp and knowing when and how to hit the Web to look up info about web topics. We bet you're good at that already.

We expect you to go beyond this book

It's a big and beautiful mobile web world out there. We hope we can give you a shove to start you on your journey, but it's up to you to keep up your steam. Seek out the active mobile web community online, read blogs, join mailing lists that are up your alley and attend related technical events in your area.

The activities are NOT optional

The exercises and activities are not add-ons; they're part of the core content of the book. Some of them are to help with memory, some are for understanding, and some will help you apply what you've learned. Don't skip the exercises. They're good for giving your brain a chance to think about the ideas and terms you've been learning in a different context.

The redundancy is intentional and important

One distinct difference in a Head First book is that we want you to really get it. And we want you to finish the book remembering what you've learned. Most reference books don't have retention and recall as a goal, but this book is about learning, so you'll see some of the same concepts come up more than once.

The Brain Power exercises don't have answers

For some of them, there is no right answer, and for others, part of the learning experience of the exercise is for you to decide if and when your answers are right. In some of the Brain Power exercises, you will find hints to point you in the right direction.

Advance Praise:

"If you have been considering buying a book about mobile development that is cross-browser and cross-vendor, you should stop right now and buy Head First Mobile Web. It's written by amazingly smart people that have great experience on mobile and don't stop at one platform, but work on all of them. Many developers spend days arguing if they should go native or Web, this book smoothly goes from introductory topics to advanced ones giving you all the needed information to create exciting content for mobile."

— Andrea Trasatti, leader of the DeviceAtlas project and co-Creator of the WURFL repository of wireless device capability information

"A pragmatic introduction to the chaotic world of mobile web development as it is today, with a glimpse of how we can and should approach it for tomorrow. Head First Mobile Web successfully presents practical techniques all readers can use immediately, while giving plenty of foundation and resources for more experienced developers to build upon."

— Stephen Hay, web designer, developer, speaker, and co-founder of the Mobilism conference

"Hands-on from the get go, Head First Mobile Web provides an excellent introduction to the challenges and opportunities available when exploring the next chapter in web design"

— Bryan and Stephanie Rieger, founders of yiibu.com

Book code and downloads

Download the example files (all .zip files):

Download All Examples (4.7MB)

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Buy 2 books, get 1 free!

Buy 2 books and get the third free! Use the coupon code OPC10 when you check out.

Who is this book for?

For you if...

  • Do you have previous web design and development experience?

  • Do you want to learn, understand, remember, and apply important Mobile Web concepts so that you can make your mobile web pages more interactive and exciting?
  • Do you prefer stimulating dinner party conversation to dry, dull, academic lectures?

Not for you if...

  • Are you completely new to web development?
  • Are you already developing mobile web apps or sites and looking for a reference book on Mobile Web?
  • Are you afraid to try something different? Would you rather have a root canal than endure the suggestion that there might be more than one true way to build for the web? Do you believe that a technical book can't be serious if there's a walrus-themed pub and an app called the Tartanator in it?