Sebastopol, CA--"The future for Palm programmers is going to be a lot
of fun," says Julie McKeehan, coauthor with Neil Rhodes of the
just-released second edition of Palm OS Programming:
The Developer's Guide (O'Reilly, US $39.95). "It's going to be full
clamoring for applications and programmers who can develop for this
platform. I like the direction Palm is going with its OS, and I think
we can rely on Palm to continue giving developers an OS worthy of their
attention." With more than 16 million PDAs running the Palm OS today,
Palm has defined the market for handhelds. Devices from Handspring,
Sony, Symbol, HandEra, Kyocera, and Samsung now use Palm OS, and the
number of registered Palm developers exceeds 130,000.
From the beginning, Palm has had several advantages that have made it
an appealing platform for which to write software. As Rhodes and
McKeehan explain, Palm developers have enjoyed the benefits of
plentiful documentation, a free software development kit, support in
the form of email, conferences, knowledge bases, etc. as well as a
vibrant developer community. And all of these developers--whether they
create mainstream software, vertical applications, or cool device
add-ons--are an essential part of the continuing success story of the
"The slowdown in the computer industry doesn't seem to have affected
Palm programming," says Rhodes. "Corporations want to save money,
especially in a recession. In many cases, they can do so by moving from
laptops to Palm devices, or by moving from paper-based solutions to
Palm devices. Most Palm programmers are very busy right now."
Written for intermediate to experienced C programmers, Palm OS
Programming: The Developer's Guide, Second Edition covers everything
developers need to know to write a Palm OS application, from user
interface design, to coding a handheld application, to writing an
associated desktop conduit. All the major development environments are
discussed, including commercial products such as Metrowerks
CodeWarrior, Java-based environments such as Sun KVM and IBM VisualAge
Micro Edition, and the Free Software Foundation's PRC-Tools or GCC. The
focus, however, is C programming with CodeWarrior and PRC-Tools.
"This book is not a replacement for the documentation, nor does it
teach C programming," says McKeehan. "Our book tries to help a
programmer really understand the Palm OS, including 4.0; it focuses on
parts of the Palm OS that are the most difficult, crucial, or require
special attention, like memory use. We have also tried to add utility
by providing special bits of code for things that we have found the
most troublesome in our own Palm programming. While we cover everything
necessary to write a Palm application from start to finish, we focus on
the hard and important stuff."
"We try not to just rehash the documentation, but instead provide
useful information not found elsewhere: undocumented limitations of
APIs, etc," Rhodes adds. "In addition, we try to provide utility
routines to make a reader's life easier. We spend a lot of time on
conduits, because we think they are very important."
While the second edition of Palm OS
Programming contains most of the
elements that made the first edition a bestseller, it also includes
major changes, such as a tutorial that walks a C programmer through the
creation of a Palm application from start to finish, a new chapter on
memory, greatly expanded discussions of forms and form objects, and
update conduit chapters that reflect the latest Conduit Development
Kit. "Palm OS Programming: The Developer's Guide" promises to set the
standard for a new generation of Palm developers, and remains the book
used by Palm for its own developer training class.
What the critics said about the first edition:
"A title anyone new to the Palm programming environment will want to
have close by. Working real world code will take you up the learning
--Steve Patient, amazon.co.uk, March 2000
"Written in O'Reilly's admirably-authoritative, yet easy-to-read, house
style, without irrelevant digressions."
--Paul Lynch, PC Pro,
"Additional developer lore and tools are between the covers of Palm
Programming: The Developers Guide by Neil Rhodes and Julie McKeehan.
Developers will probably buy the print version for the included CD
which has source code files and tools, including Linux resources and
third-party product demos."
"An excellent tutorial on typical PalmPilot application development,
great for both serious and hobbyist developers. Rating 9/10."
--Peter Coffee, PC Week, January
--Jonathan Blocks, slashdot.com, January 4, 1998
Palm OS Programming:
The Developer's Guide
By Neil Rhodes & Julie McKeehan
Second Edition, October 2001
ISBN 1-56592-856-3, 681 pages, $39.95 (US)