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Shipping Greatness: Practical lessons on building and launching outstanding software, learned on the job at Google and Amazon
By Chris Vander Mey
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iPhone Application Sketch Book
Published November 2009
Amazon.com Sales Rank: 2,922,896
Availability: Usually ships in 24 hours
Think you have the next great iPhone app idea? The Apress iPhone Application Sketch Book is an essential tool for any aspiring iPhone developer. This sketch book makes it easy to centralize and organize your ideas, featuring 1.5x sized iPhone templates that include common elements such as the status bar, signal strength, and battery icons. Professionally printed on high-quality paper, it has a total of 150 gridded templates for you to draft ideas and doodle designs while providing ample room to make notes, and document the app name and screen name. This book is a must-have and an invaluable tool for bringing your next great iPhone app idea to life!
GDNet Staff Review:
Reviewer's Note: There is an iPhone, iPad, and Droid version of this book. They are similar enough that I'm posting the same review for each.
I specifically requested the Application Sketch Books because they are something rather unusual. They are basically a books of graph paper with an oversized iPhone or iPad or Motorola Droid superimposed over the grid on each page. The idea is that this book is a 150-page (75 physical pages printed on both sides) "sketch pad" for designing the UI of your mobile application. The phone graphic is quite large, but there are a couple of inches of gridded margin around the phone to hold callouts and notes and such. Also the pages are perforated and the binding lays flat so it is easy to purge and rearrange your UI design as you use and/or destroy this book.
One thing I would have liked (especially for the Android book) would be a couple of markers showing where other devices would measure up compared to the phone on the page. Or perhaps even a page containing a table of device resolutions. For example, the physical Motorola Droid has a rather oddball resolution of 854x440 pixels. And while the squares line up fairly evenly in the book at about 16 pixels per square, the aspect of the Droid is a bit different from its cousin Android phones, iPhone, and iPad. I do understand that this book is designed for making a literal "pencil-sketch" of your UI design, but if you are putting together a control-dense interface, you might want to know early on whether or not your interface will need to be adjusted for other devices.
One thing I thought would be a natural addition to the book would be a plastic stencil of UI elements. Seems like the author is already ahead of me, as he's selling templates on his website at http://mobilesketchbook.com. He has an iPad and iPhone stencil available as well as printable iPhone and iPad pages. Strangely, there's no companion template or PDF page download for Android, although the UI elements are similar enough that the iPhone templates should work fine.
Ultimately, this book isn't competing with other programming books. If anything, this book competes with a standard pad of engineering paper, which you can buy by the pound at any office supply store. The price of the Application Sketch Book is reasonable (Amazon price around $10 each at the time of this review), so a minor indulgence like this will not break your budget.
And the value of this book also depends on how paper-centric you are. If you, like me, need to have a giant pad of sticky-notes next to your computer at all times to help you sketch out your thoughts and designs, then the Application Sketch Book will be of use to you. If you are so mouse-centric that even sketching an interface on paper feels clumsy, then this is not for you.
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