Sencha Touch books – Cookbook

I started to look into Sencha touch ‘seriously’ about a year ago.  Having spent a short while on it about a year ago with the intention of doing a lot more – but as ever time flies on by. I now have 3 Sencha touch books and I’m getting my head back into Touch (and Ext JS) so thought I’d review the books to advise how good or not they are.

The first one is the new Sencha Touch Cookbook 2nd Edition. I may be an experienced programmer with Flex/Actionscript but when it comes to Touch I’m definitely a newbie. So if you are looking to learn Touch then you’re probably in the same boat as myself. So is it worth getting or not? That is pretty much the main question and from what I’ve gone through I’d say YES – if you’re a beginner or maybe even an intermediate that is.

Why?

Well if like me you can’t stand config and you want to get into the code as soon as, then the initial part of the cookbook comes with some of the following

  • Setting up the Android-based development
  • Setting up the iOS-based development
  • Setting up the Blackberry-based development (not quite sure how useful this will be now 🙂 but its there anyway)
  • general config and detecting features

It also shows you how to set up for tools such as Eclipse and running the code in a simulator. Again if you’re new then this will save so much time as config can be hit or miss when you’re not sure where to start and just wish to get going.

What I did find odd was that at the start of every recipe it had a ‘Getting ready’ section that pointed you to chapter 1 to get things set up.

Most of the recipes did have a ‘How it works’ part which focused on the parts of the code which make that particular recipe work and on the whole they add to the learning from the book. As an experienced programmer I know that there is more to code that just writing small snippets that do stuff and I’d have liked to see some best practise code examples. When doing something new its all to easy to get into bad habits because it works and next thing you know you have spaghetti and unmaintainable code! Sencha have created a great way to write Javascript in a OO way that helps you keep it organised and structured, so it would be great to see a few good/bad examples highlighting the common mistakes that developers make. But I suppose that sort of guide might not necessarily be for a cookbook.

For a recipe book it covers a fairly wide range of topics. Charts, videos, offline storage, Google maps, taking a picture, XML etc so it covers a large enough amount of topics to help you get started.   Overall its a recipe book, so its code is short snippets that doesn’t  really need to show best practise but it does show you how to do things.  So what I found myself doing was flicking through some of the examples in the book then I went to get a more in depth explanation elsewhere.

Conclusion

I liked it, but its not the only book that you will need should you wish to get into Sencha Touch, but certainly worth getting alongside a reference book.
Sencha Touch Cookbook 2nd Edition

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