Professional Android Application Development Paperback – Nov 24 2008
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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.
Top Customer Reviews
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
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.
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.
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!
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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