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Mobile Commerce Application Development  
By Lei-da Chen and Gordon W. Skelton
Illustrated. 319 pp.
IRM Press . US$74.95
ISBN-10: 1591408067 / ISBN-13: 9781591408062

Mobile business, or m-business, is the most explosive phenomenon in our technology future. It is poised for exponential growth the way the Internet was in the early-to-middle 1990s. For anyone involved in or interested in m-business technology, this book should have a place on your shelf. The goal of the authors -- one they have implemented well -- is to address themselves to the practical matters of m-commerce application development. Whether you are an IT professional, corporate manager, or student, this book will give you a good grounding in the ideas and techniques behind successful development for mobile commerce.

The book is also designed for use in the classroom, either as the main text or as support material for the students. The material in the book was tested and well received by undergraduate and graduate students and faculty. Development techniques are introduced in the practical context of how they will be used. This application-oriented approach is very common and has been highly successful in IT education.

The authors point out that m-business, also known as wireless e-commerce, depends on more than technology development for its success. Like any other business strategy, implementation without first assessing goals, needs, and factors for success can lead to a great piece of technology that fails from a business perspective.

Experienced developers will already be familiar with business assessment and planning techniques. Here, Chen and Skelton build on the familiar application-planning platform with points that specifically pertain to the mobile technology needs of consumers and businesses. They write, "It is imperative for organizations to understand the value produced by m-business. Evidence has shown that m-business offers organizations the benefits of new channels to reach customers, cost reduction, increased customer satisfaction and revenues, and reduced cycle time by redesigning work flows...This value can be further enhanced by m-business applications that demonstrate high levels of personalized information and context-awareness" In this context, the development of mobile applications is clearly the next great wave in computing.

After their discussion of m-business applications in a general sense, the authors take the reader through clear explanations of the architecture and markup languages necessary to understand wireless application development. Wireless application protocol (WAP), wireless markup language (WML), and WML script are given careful attention. The learning is made easy with examples and exercises. Anyone who understands basic development concepts will have no trouble with this book. At the same time, it's not "for dummies." By this I mean that the experienced IT person will not find himself or herself reading a volume that is "dumbed down" for the masses.

After whetting the reader's interest with the WAP and WML chapters, the authors move into XHTML (a derivative of XML and HTML), and then teach the development of wireless applications using ColdFusion, VisualStudio.NET and Microsoft embedded visual tools. Sample projects and exercises include a wireless order placement system, managing state with cookies, reporting features, custom search functionality, and a shopping cart.

When scanning the horizon of our technology future, mobile e-commerce clearly looms large. Just as clear is the need for a book such as this that introduces, clarifies, and teaches people in both the IT and business worlds how to implement this exciting, cutting-edge technology.

Sylvia Breau, for Notable Book Reviews
Notable Book Reviews received one or more copies of this book in exchange for this review.
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