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The ACCU passes on review copies of computer books to its members for them to review. The result is a large, high quality collection of book reviews by programmers, for programmers. Currently there are 1918 reviews in the database and more every month.
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Title:
Advance Palm Programming
Author:
Steve Mann&Ray Rischpater
ISBN:
0 471 39087 9
Publisher:
Wiley
Pages:
381pp + CD
Price:
£35-95
Reviewer:
Garry Lancaster
Subject:
embedded systems
Appeared in:
13-3
This book takes a practical approach to improving the reader's PalmOS skills by providing examples of PalmOS program source code, which it then discusses in detail. Its ten chapters discuss programs that perform networking, display maps, perform basic trig functions and interface with the native Palm application databases. 'Advanced Palm Programming' requires PalmOS 3.0, although most code works on older versions, and assumes you are using the CodeWarrior development suite, so GCC/PRC-Tools users must be prepared to make the occasional mental translation.

The authors have many years of experience writing PalmOS applications and their code is clearly written, once you become accustomed to their practice of never indenting comments! C is used throughout, as it is the dominant PalmOS development language. The prose is equally clear but, apart from a good final chapter on PalmOS debugging, generally lacks the ambition to tackle issues not related directly to the code.

Reviewing the code in a few chapters revealed a single minor coding error - good for a published book. Furthermore, the index is much more detailed than most non-reference books.

The book certainly goes beyond the basics, sometimes deserving the advanced label, especially when discussing networking, but generally intermediate would be more accurate. It sits between two stools; it is not ideal as a first PalmOS programming book, nor is it stuffed with the kind of tips and tricks that give a journeyman programmer truly expert insights. For the price and number of pages, about half of which contain source code duplicated from the included CD, is this book good value? Not really. But for anyone who has successfully written a few basic PalmOS applications using the Palm PDF documentation and wants to see how others do it, this book is worth considering.