Developing 7 Mobile Apps in 7 Weeks: Interview with Tony Hillerson
Ever wonder if you could build mobile apps for all devices? What about advancing your career by extending beyond your specialty platform? And what if you could do it all in less than two months?
Tony Hillerson’s latest book, Seven Mobile Apps in Seven Weeks: Native Apps, Multiple Platforms, explores how to do just that. So, when I asked to interview Tony, I jumped at the opportunity. We explored his inspiration, audience and just how realistic it is for other programmers to follow suite and build seven apps in seven weeks.
Note: the physical book is now available to order on Amazon or Pragprog, and you can also purchase the eBook from Pragprog. I've updated the order links accordingly below.
About Tony Hillerson
Tony has been a mobile developer since the early days of both iPhone and Android. He's built numerous mobile apps for numerous platforms, and often had to answer the question "which platform?" Tony has spoken at RailsConf, AnDevCon, and 360|iDev, and has created popular Android screencasts. In his free time Tony plays the bass and the Warr guitar, makes electronic music, and studies HEMA fencing.
About The Book
"Seven Mobile Apps in Seven Weeks: Native Apps, Multiple Platform" answers the question “Can we build this for ALL the devices?” with a resounding YES. It will help you get there with a real-world introduction to seven platforms, whether you’re new to mobile or an experienced developer needing to expand your options. You’ll compare writing apps on one platform versus another and understand the benefits and hidden costs of cross-platform tools. You'll get pragmatic, hands-on experience writing apps in a multi-platform world.
First of all, congratulations on finishing the book! I heard that 95% of writers who start a book actually give up somehow along the way and only 5% get it done and published. So, how do you feel now?
Tony: That's a pretty large number. Well, this isn't my first book with the Pragmatic Programmers, so I've done it before. I think with a technical book like this it's easier to have a plan that you can complete, given time, as opposed to fiction, where a concept may just not lend itself to a full book. In any case, at this point, after a year of writing on weekends and at night, I'm pretty tired of writing and I want to pick back up some of the other pursuits that I've put off in the meantime.
However, I feel satisfied that this book almost exactly matched the vision that myself and the editors developed a few years ago when we first talked about this book. I'm really interested to see if the market thinks that it's as useful as we think it should be.
Where did you get your information or ideas for this book?
Tony: Having been a mobile developer for a while now, this book was a book that I wanted to have. I was in a number of situations where I needed to write an app on a few platforms, or speak intelligently to questions about cross-platform mobile tools. I've always liked the 'Seven in Seven' series, and given those ingredients, the idea for this book just jumped fully formed into my head.
Who are the best readers for this book? Mobile developers? College students? Corporate executives?
Tony: I think anyone with programming experience, whether on mobile or not, would get something from this book.
What are the top three reasons for reading this book, compared to other books or online resources?
Tony: I'm not aware of any other comparative study of mobile technologies quite like this book. The approach of quickly trying out different mobile platforms and tools side by side with others is a novel approach patterned after other 'Seven in Seven' books, and no others.
Can we really build seven apps in only seven weeks? The book name is inspiring. It reminds me of another book called "Four-Hour Week" by Tim Ferriss. I like his mindset toward work, though honestly, it's unrealistic to work only four hours a week.
Tony: I believe it's not difficult to follow the book at that pace, but of course you can take as much time as you'd like. Really, since the code is included it's not so much that building the apps is the focus, but exploring the platforms by solving a small set of use cases.
When is the book is going to be released so we readers can buy it?
Tony: Because of the Pragmatic Programmer's beta program, readers can buy the beta, electronic version right now and get free updates as the book takes shape. I'm not sure of the final production date, but I just did some tweaks for the final tech review, so it should be to final version in a matter of weeks.
Anything else we need to know?
Tony: The 'Seven in Seven' series is a great concept for taking your programming career to the next level by learning patterns and techniques as a polyglot. This book takes that concept into the mobile realm, and I'd love to hear how it works for readers on the forum for the book at the Pragmatic Programmer's website.