by Mark Chillingworth

Book review: App Savvy

Feb 20, 2011
MobileSmall and Medium BusinessTelecommunications Industry

App Savvy Turning ideas inot iPad & iPhone apps customers really want By Ken Yarnosh (O’Reilly)

Back in 1995, as a young News Editor with a great deal more hair than graces my cranium today I would spend the mornings opening the post (remember that?). A great many of the press releases carefully delivered to me by the Royal Mail were about organisations that had one of these amazing new things known as a website.

Fast forward 16 years, a few publications, job titles, massive mortgage, two kids, wife and dull estate car and I find my inbox inundated with emailed press releases extolling the virtues of these amazing new things known as ‘Apps’.

App Savvy is a book from specialist tech publisher O’Reilly which aims to help organisations and individuals turn their ideas into “iPad and iPhone Apps customers really want” as the strapline on the book’s cover states.

Author Ken Yarmosh, who is a product strategist with considerable experience in building applications for the mobile market, has focused on the iOS apps market for Apple’s ubiquitous iPhone and its increasingly popular iPad tablet. I expect future editions will need to broaden their approach as the tablet computing market grows to include more Google Android and Microsoft platforms.

This isn’t a book targeted at the CIO; it’s a hands-on step-by-step guide to help you build an iOS app. However, Yarmosh has done a good job of writing a heavily detailed book that will enable a broad church of people within your organisation get to grips with the requirements of building the app.

This is to be applauded: where the early days of the internet were dominated by the propellerheads in the IT department, organisations have matured and so too have IT people. This book will be very useful to your development team, but equally to the marketing department, business development, the CEO and of course to you the CIO will also be able to really extract value from this title.

To that end the book is split into three clear parts that provide your team with a development framework — strategy, development and launch. Chapters within these take the reader successfully through each part of the delivery process.

Reflecting on the broad business focus O’Reilly has developed with this book, the title clearly sets out to analyse the business case for your app and strives to encourage all those involved in the app’s development to step away from their desires and look at what else is on the market, how they operate and what the numbers are for the app.

Whereas some development guides invite the reader to just jump on in and design their app without a single word of useful business advice, this book constantly reminds you to assess as you go. In the world of physical buildings, my family are always telling me to “measure twice, cut once” to avoid costly mistakes and Yarmosh takes a similar practical, experience-based approach to make sure your organisation builds an app once and gets the results it needs immediately.

The writing style is crisp and concise and no stone is left unturned as it guides you through hiring app developers and eventually making your finished app available through the Apple App Store.

As a non-developer at an organisation that is also looking to join the great gold-rush towards an app presence I’ve found it a useful guide to ensuring that we are moving in the right direction and following best practice in our development.

This is a recommended read and what is most impressive is that it achieves what so many technical titles fail to do, as it can be read and utilised by a very wide audience in your organisation.