Sunday, March 30, 2008

Review: Mobile Python Book

I recently bought a copy of Mobile Python, Scheible and Tuulos' guide to Python for Nokia S60 devices. First up, I'd like to point out that Scheibe and Tuulos adhered strictly to the well-known titling convention, Programming Book: Really Long Subtitle You'll Forget And Have To Fetch Your Copy To Cite It. No wonder they decided the URL should be That aside, to business. Mobile Python is one of the best tutorials on Python, never mind mobile, I've yet seen; it scoops the pot for conciseness and action-oriented goodness, whilst being almost alarmingly economic with the stuff it includes. You'd be surprised how little you actually need to explain the core concepts.

There are plenty of good examples, and there is a suitably fun attitude to mistreating mobile phones; it's also eye-opening how well the Nokia development team did in making the APIs to interesting stuff like location, digital cameras, messaging, and telephony simple and pythonic. The authors also did well in explaining complex concepts like double buffering graphics, and in having the gall to include scary cool things like how it would interwork with the Arduino microcontroller board, as seen in the new version of the RepRap, and with a robot.

On the downside, there is no excuse for calling your website - that's more than a little Nathan Barley-esque, to my mind. Neither can they do anything about the bloody awful code-signing procedure Symbian and Nokia insist on you going through; if you ever wonder about that chilling effect lark, it's successfully put me off brainwashing my mobile just yet. Fortunately, I see that somebody's hacked the damn thing.

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