Suggestions for learning mobile development?

This post is more than 2 years old.

This question came in via Twitter and I didn't have a great answer. Thought it would be nice to open it to my readers and get some good suggestions. The question is:

For ColdFusion devs looking to get into mobile, what's the best training sites or courses you've come across?

Speaking for myself, I've been mainly focused on non-native mobile development. First Flex, and now PhoneGap. While there is a PhoneGap book, I've primarily learned it from the online documentation.

Outside of that - I've been mainly focused on trying to learn performance and UI things - for times when I'm not using jQuery Mobile. There is no one good spot for that (not that I know of).

So... how are folks learning mobile? (Both native and non-native is fine!)

Raymond Camden's Picture

About Raymond Camden

Raymond is a senior developer evangelist for Adobe. He focuses on document services, JavaScript, and enterprise cat demos. If you like this article, please consider visiting my Amazon Wishlist or donating via PayPal to show your support. You can even buy me a coffee!

Lafayette, LA

Archived Comments

Comment 1 by Jake Hendy posted on 12/20/2011 at 8:07 PM

Just seeing Mobile websites around helps me learn to be honest, as it makes me want to make what I see. At some point in the future, I will see about actually using remote debuggers for Android/iOS.

Comment 2 by Raymond Camden posted on 12/20/2011 at 8:09 PM

That's not bad Jake. It's helpful to remind folks that "View Source" can be the most powerful tool you have. ;) Also don't forget for a list of jQuery Mobile sites.

Comment 3 by Raymond Camden posted on 12/20/2011 at 8:11 PM

Here is a good collection of basic tips - couldn't find it earlier when blogging:

Developing Better PhoneGap Apps

Comment 4 by Jake Hendy posted on 12/20/2011 at 8:12 PM


It's almost tempting to get the source of the browser for Android and incorporate a View Source action. Or at least, "Send source to" action. Alass, that is a while away for me yet!

Another thing for getting in to Mobile is just build *everything* you possibly can! The best way to learn something is by doing it after all!

Comment 5 by Chad Gray posted on 12/20/2011 at 8:39 PM

I just started watching this training on using Dreamweaver and PhoneGap. I am only in the first few chapters so i cannot recommend it yet, but all the stuff i have watched in the past has been a good learning experience.

Comment 6 by Joe Mastroianni posted on 12/20/2011 at 8:46 PM

I've been looking at native iOS Developemnt. I'm using Big Nerd Ranch's iOS Programming book. It's structured in a similar manner to CFWACK. You develop a single project throughout the book adding features as you go along. Great read! As long as you have a basic idea of C syntax you're good to go. If not they have a previous book specifically about Objective-C.

Comment 7 by Phillip Senn posted on 12/20/2011 at 8:57 PM

I'm using jQuery Mobile, and I believe in lots of little proof-of-concepts.
As I read books and come across examples in the documentation, I add them to my site here:
It's broken down into key words. For instance, the letter "a" can mean an anchor tag, or the data-theme="a".

Comment 8 by Phil Duba posted on 12/20/2011 at 9:17 PM

I think what is causing me problems is just the whole getting started thing. I'm used to a certain paradigm when it comes to building web apps and I'm not 100% sure that translates directly over to mobile websites or native apps.

Comment 9 by Raymond Camden posted on 12/20/2011 at 9:21 PM

Well, what _is_ your paradigm Phil?

Comment 10 by Chris Griffith posted on 12/20/2011 at 9:22 PM

There is always my talk at 360Flex ;) I will be giving an overview of various mobile development solutions. Actually one method I judge a technical solution is the level of support/training from the company. With Adobe's backing of PhoneGap, I would expect to see more and more tutorials from them. I also find being about to explore a good 'kitchen sink' example app is nice solution. I usually have an idea in mind, and need to find the right parts to construct it. Appcelerator and Sencha Touch both have KS apps that you can explore.

Comment 11 by Rob Barthle posted on 12/20/2011 at 10:04 PM

It was my question on Twitter that started all of this, so thank you to everyone for the advice.

In a nutshell, one of my goals for the next year from my performance review was to get into mobile web development, as management really sees mobile as a growth area for our clients.

My first thought was that I'd have to invest time in really getting down HTML5 because upgrading our sites from HTML 4.01 to HTML5 would be a logical step in making them "mobile ready", possibly with the need to redirect mobile users to a mobile version of the site that would use something like jQuery Mobile to connect to the CF backend?

I know I'm well behind the curve for getting into the mobile space, and it seems pretty daunting considering that I'll have to teach myself in the limited free time I have (I do have access to a training budget but it hasa lot of strings attached to it, but I think I can get them to purchase a Lynda subscription). So I went to Ray who's never let me down in the past for advice. :)

Comment 12 by Raul posted on 12/20/2011 at 10:09 PM

I'm actually learning quite a LOT from you Ray; all the way from books, seminars and your awesome blogs!

Comment 13 by Matt Reynolds posted on 12/20/2011 at 11:52 PM

For jQuery mobile, I found looking at the source for the demos got me started. They've improved the documentation as the framework has matured.

I like Christophe Coenraets' blog ( he's an Adobe Evangelist for mobile and RIA apps who's been doing mobile Flex, Phone Gap, jQuery Mobile posts and other interesting stuff.

Addy Osmani ( has some great posts on larger scale js apps.

Net magazine has some good stuff including this post on different mobile development methods

Check out your local meetup groups too via there are some pretty decent ones near me that I've learnt things at.

Comment 14 by Mike posted on 12/21/2011 at 1:22 AM

The one thing that helped a lot was getting DW 5.5, this is what got me started with mobile and phonegap. DW made it simple enough for me to understand the concept of phoneGap and JQM.

I would say though that it would help to have a good JQ foundation to really leverage JQM because as you get more into JQM you will see how important it is to have a firm grip on JQ for your XHR requests.

That being said I also think its important to remember that a mobile site is the same as any other site, just smaller :) It can be easy to forget that they are one in the same (unless you are using phonegap for phone features but still for the most part the same)

As you get more comfortable with it, reading the docs on JQM site is a really good learning tool, also just sitting back and giving yourself a project will help, just something simple like an rss reading etc, I think Ray has a tutorial on his site.

Comment 15 by Jaana Gilbert posted on 12/21/2011 at 9:35 AM

I haven't tried native development, have Apple SDK installed on my Mac, but I started with iWebKit web based mobile development a few years ago. I've since then moved on to jQuery Mobile and my favorite way is going through the source code. also has great tutorials on how DWCS 5.5 can be utilized for mobile development.

Comment 16 by Chad Gray posted on 12/21/2011 at 9:57 PM

I stumbled upon this adobe tutorial for Dreamweaver and phonegap.

Comment 17 by Glyn posted on 12/22/2011 at 1:04 AM

Via Appcelerator Titanium, like Phone Gab there is lot of information online, but they have a lot of training courses. best of all it's just JavaScript! It's not done through a UIWebView. Titanium actually compiles your application and uses the phone SDK to build a native application.

Can pick to use HTML5 content through a web view or not! It does wrap your code around a Web Container and render web content in a native application, i.e like Phone Gap.

If you want a real "native" feel and to use your existing skills, then Titanium is easy to learn with lots of information online.

Comment 18 by Rodrigo posted on 3/20/2012 at 6:42 PM

I've been programming for a long time, and I started to look into the mobile world a few weeks. I am using phonegap with Jquery mobile, and I finding really easy since I have a good background programming skills, HTML, js, css etc... and specially with Jquery and c# .net which is OOP and based on events. So all the events on jquery, and jquery mobile was quite easy for me to understand.

If it wasnt my background skills though, i would find it hard to learn because there isn't much good resources out there focused on mobile dev from begging to end.

by the way, your blog has been helpful a lot!

Comment 19 by Raymond Camden posted on 3/21/2012 at 12:06 AM

Thanks Rodrigo!