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Professional Android Application Development [Paperback]

Reto Meier
2.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
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Book Description

Nov. 7 2008 Wrox Programmer to Programmer
A hands-on guide to building mobile applications, Professional Android Application Development features concise and compelling examples that show you how to quickly construct real-world mobile applications for Android phones. Fully up-to-date for version 1.0 of the Android software development kit, it covers all the essential features, and explores the advanced capabilities of Android (including GPS, accelerometers, and background Services) to help you construct increasingly complex, useful, and innovative mobile applications for Android phones.

What this book includes

  • An introduction to mobile development, Android, and how to get started.
  • An in-depth look at Android applications and their life cycle, the application manifest, Intents, and using external resources.
  • Details for creating complex and compelling user interfaces by using, extending, and creating your own layouts and Views and using Menus.
  • A detailed look at data storage, retrieval, and sharing using preferences, files, databases, and Content Providers.
  • Instructions for making the most of mobile portability by creating rich map-based applications as well as using location-based services and the geocoder.
  • A look at the power of background Services, using threads, and a detailed look at Notifications.
  • Coverage of Android's communication abilities including SMS, the telephony APIs, network management, and a guide to using Internet resources
  • Details for using Android hardware, including media recording and playback, using the camera, accelerometers, and compass sensors.
  • Advanced development topics including security, IPC, advanced 2D / 3D graphics techniques, and user–hardware interaction.

Who this book is for
This book is for anyone interested in creating applications for the Android mobile phone platform. It includes information that will be valuable whether you're an experienced mobile developer or making your first foray, via Android, into writing mobile applications. It will give the grounding and knowledge you need to write applications using the current SDK, along with the flexibility to quickly adapt to future enhancements.

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Product Description

From the Back Cover

Professional Android Application Development

Offering an open development environment, Android represents an exciting new opportunity to write innovative applications for mobile devices. This book provides you with a hands-on guide to building these applications using the Android software development kit. It takes you through a series of sample projects, each introducing new features and techniques to get the most out of Android. You'll learn all about the basic functionality as well as discover how to utilize the advanced features with the help of concise and useful examples.

Beginning with an introduction to the Android software stack, the author examines the philosophy behind creating robust, consistent, and appealing applications for mobile phones. You'll get the grounding and knowledge that is needed to write customized mobile applications using the current Android 1.0 SDK. Plus, you'll also gain the flexibility to quickly adapt to future enhancements in order to build the most cutting-edge solutions.

What you will learn from this book

  • Best practices for Android mobile development

  • An introduction to Activities, Intents, the manifest, and resources

  • How to create user interfaces with layouts and custom views

  • Techniques to store and share your application data

  • Instructions for creating map-based applications, using location-based services including GPS, and geocoding locations

  • How to create and use background Services and Notifications

  • Working with the accelerometers, compass, and camera hardware

  • All about phone and networking hardware such as telephony APIs, SMS, and network management

  • Advanced development topics, including security, IPC, and some advanced graphics and user interface techniques

Who this book is for
This book is for anyone interested in creating applications for the Android mobile phone platform. It includes information that will be valuable whether you're an experienced mobile developer or just starting out writing mobile applications.

Wrox Professional guides are planned and written by working programmers to meet the real-world needs of programmers, developers, and IT professionals. Focused and relevant, they address the issues technology professionals face every day. They provide examples, practical solutions, and expert education in new technologies, all designed to help programmers do a better job.

About the Author

Originally from Perth, Western Australia, Reto Meier now lives in London.
Reto is an experienced software developer with more than 10 years of experience in GUI application architecture, design, and development. He’s worked in various industries, including offshore oil and gas, before moving to London and into fi nance.
Always interested in emerging technologies, Reto has been involved in Android since the initial release in 2007. In his spare time, he tinkers with a wide range of development platforms including WPF and Google’s plethora of developer tools.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

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Most helpful customer reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good API overview Feb. 15 2010
This is a good Android overview and I learned a lot. A lot of well documented samples as well and I think this is an excellent starting kit.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars almost useless April 28 2009
I am a big fan of the WORK series, but this time: It's a huge deception!!! I am an experimented java programmer and this book does not help in either understanding Android or Java. I do not recommend it for either needs. The examples are presented in such a way that it is ten times easier to pass directly through the. Talk about how making something simple, very difficult to grasp. I don't even recommend it for a beginner.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 3.9 out of 5 stars  31 reviews
37 of 41 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Dense and organized like spaghetti Sept. 6 2009
By Dream a little - Published on Amazon.com
This book was clearly written for seasoned developers. However, other books in this series are far more understandable. I'm really not sure why I did not like this book at all. I'll try to narrow it down. First, the writing style is not very engaging. It's also full of jargon that is never defined. For example, he uses the term URI, which has several component parts that he never defines. Worse, most of the code that he gives you to follow is never explained, at all. Not annotating code and using terms that you have never defined are a very bad trait. Third, alot of the material is a paraphrase of the android development documents, and there is really no new insight here. I think the core issue here is that we look for books not to sound like esoteric, terse documents, but this is what this book is. You will not learn how to program from this book. The code snippets jump all around and he tries to include everything about Android in this book which makes it seem just too much with incomplete treatment of many topics. I actually found the android tutorials less confusing.
Here is a typical example:

The SimpleCursorAdapter binds Views to cursors returned from
Content Provider queries. You specify an XML layout de'nition and then bind the value within
each column in the result set, to a View in that layout.

Upon re-reading it slowly and thoughtfully, this explanation does make sense. But we have not gone over content providers yet, and he has not talked about SQL queries with SQLLite in Android yet. Nowhere does he mention this, and again it's more like it's lifted from the android documentation without any explanation. This is an example of the style of writing that you'll be seeing. It's abstract, dense, and drab.

An example of the odd chapter organization is Chapter 5: Intents, broadcast receivers, adapters, and the internet. So we talk about intents and broadcast receivers, then view-related database interaction (which is what ch. 6 is all about), and then network communication (as opposed to putting it in its own chapter). It is like I am learning everything out of order with constant references back and forth (like a to do list example followed by an earthquake example, then going back to a to do list example). This is why I said it's dense and organized like spaghetti with no clear beginning and end.
22 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent introduction for new Android developers Dec 14 2008
By Jeffrey Smith - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
The author clearly and concisely explains the fundamental aspects of Android programming. The coverage of Android topics is pretty comprehensive and the depth of coverage was just right for my needs. Mr. Meier provides some background information about mobile programming platforms in general, so the only real prerequisite for this book is familiarity with Java programming. The examples are also very informative and build new features incrementally, which keeps the focus on the most recently covered material, and reflects modern incremental development practices. This book, in conjunction with the excellent materials available online from Google, anddev.org and elsewhere, provide an effective staring point for developers looking to get started quickly on the Android platform.
20 of 22 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Probably worth reading, just isn't fantastic Jan. 7 2009
By Brian Williammee - Published on Amazon.com
At its worst, this book is a copy and paste of the android docs already available online. At its best, it is a paraphrase of the android docs already available online, with additional insight and code samples.

The extra insight is enough for me to be glad I bought it - it occasionally gave just enough additional perspective beyond the android web docs to make things "click" that I had not yet fully grokked. The code samples are useful, but the author himself says that they are sprinkled with bad habits, and I agree. He explains that it was for the sake of simplicity. I think it's more likely that he wrote the code, then wrote the section on best practices, and then realized that the code was suboptimal but had to meet a deadline.

In summary, worth my money and my time, but not truly impressed.
15 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Required Entry Reading Dec 16 2008
By Amazon Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I was struggling with Android documentation (there is a lot of it but can be improved a lot, although the Notepad examples are very good) trying to understand the programming concepts for G1. So I got this book on pre-order and it was worth waiting for. Plenty of examples, code snippets, very good and clean explanations. I like author's approach of taking an application (Earthquake) through a series of improvements, so you can learn it gradually, from simple to more complex (and sophisticated) approach.
It is hard to cover a massive SDK in 400 pages but it is enough to learn basics and then start digging with some understanding and confidence into the on-line documentation. I am recommending this book to anybody who wants to learn the principles of G1 platform programming. Great job Reto!
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Better than the online documentation Dec 11 2009
By Joshua Davies - Published on Amazon.com
I muddled my way through the docs on developer.[..], floundered around for a while, and then picked up this book. I must admit, I'm glad I did. Although I'd say the first four chapters present essentially the same material you can get from the free online docs, they do so in a much more coherent way. The ordering of the material made a lot more sense than the online docs, too - for example, services aren't mentioned in this book until chapter 8 (whereas they're mentioned on "page" one of the online docs). This presentation resonated with me, and made everything "click".

The organization of this book is, IMHO, the only useful way to organize a technical book, which is to explain the concepts behind some key point, followed by a working code example, which can be followed incrementally by the reader. Each example is presented in the simplest way possible, and subsequently refactored to use more complex (but more manageable) "convenience" features. This *is* a Wrox book - so there's almost as much code as there is discussion text. You won't get anything out of this book unless you plan to study the examples very carefully (and in many cases, dig down to figure out why certain code works a certain way - especially in the "advanced" chapter 11).

One concern I had, going in, was that the book was written for Android 1.0, but the current (as I write this) version of the Android SDK is 2.0. Fortunately, the differences were slight, and didn't make it hard to follow along at all. There were only really three noticable differences between the 1.0 SDK that the book was developed against and the 2.0 SDK I was following along with. Chapter 7 on the maps API was outdated (The book says you can use any string as your "maps API key". That was true when the book was written, but is no longer the case - you now have to register with Google to run the maps demos.) Chapter 9 included a long section on "GTalk" which has actually been removed completely from the API (this is, in fairness, referenced as a possibility in the book), and the Bluetooth API has changed considerably since 1.0. Otherwise, the code samples all worked "out of the box". Of course, there's no coverage of the NDK (Native Developer Kit), which was introduced with Android 1.5.

This book does a great job of presenting the overall end-to-end Android application development experience. One area where I thought coverage was lacking, though, was UI and layout management. This is probably the most important aspect of Android application development, yet there's very little content in this book about it. Also, this book is about Android, specifically, not about mobile application development. Terminology such as "Edge", "3G", "GPRS" and "LAC" are thrown around but not defined, and there's not much discussion regarding designing (or redesigning) for a mobile device - the author assumes you already know _what_ you want to do, and you're just trying to figure out how to do it in Android.
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