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GLOBAL – If you want to get started building apps for Nokia devices, Beginning Nokia Apps Development: Qt and HTML5 for Symbian and MeeGo is a comprehensive guide to designing and programming.¬†Written by author and engineer Ray Rischpater and Nokia’s own Daniel Zucker, who is based at the Palo Alto Research Center, the book aims to give newcomers to the platform a thorough guide. It is 248 pages long and, at the time of writing, costs $39.02 on Amazon.

This is not a book for the technically untrained, however. As the authors say, “you should have at least a nodding acquaintance with the technologies that lie beneath the web stack as well as C++.” The intention is to guide existing developers in using Qt tools and getting to grips with the finer points of using your coding skills for mobile.

The book could not unreasonably be described as a companion to Forum Nokia. It follows a similar architecture to Forum Nokia and the three pillars of its programming methodology: Design, Develop and Distribute. These are the main sections of the book, though more emphasis is put on the ‘Develop’ part – understandably, since this is the part that’s most challenging in some respects. There are many references to resources at Forum Nokia throughout, such as where to find design documents, tools such as Flowella and more examples of particular processes.

This emerges as a useful synergy between the site and the book. Some things are simply easier to digest when they’re read in print than they are on-screen. Or perhaps it helps to have a desk-side reference to where you need to go to find important information. It also provides an overall narrative to the Forum methodology. You can see what everything is linked to, what stage it is at in your learning process and how you might extend what you’re doing now.

The writing style is easily comprehensible, providing you have the necessary technical background as noted above. Here’s an example, non-technical paragraph:

The last step in the design process is testing and evaluation. Until your product is tested with real users on real devices, you cannot know for certain whether it is successful. The mantra here is test early and test often. Test on real devices. Test with real users. Iterate until your product is perfect!

The book is nicely chunked into short paragraphs and subsections, making for a usable index and little sense that you’re moving through heavy territory. There’s also a good selection of intelligible code examples. Perhaps more use could have been made of boxouts and more diagrams wouldn’t have gone amiss, but these aren’t so much omissions as possible embellishments.

Overall, though, we’re happy to recommend this book as a guide to getting stuck into Qt if you’ve worked on other mobile platforms, or in desktop development.

Oh yes – and we’ve got three copies to give away. Leave a comment explaining why you want one and some way we can contact you (e.g. sign in to comment with your email address – we can see it, but other users can’t).