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Android Application Development For Dummies [Kindle Edition]

Michael Burton , Gerhard Franken
3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Bring your big ideas to the small screen with this one-of-a-kind guide to creating amazing Android applications

The Android OS continues to rapidly expand offering app developers access to one of the largest platforms available, and this easy-to-follow guide walks you through the development process step by step. In this new edition of the bestselling Android Application Development For Dummies, Android programming experts Michael Burton and Donn Felker explain how to download the SDK, get Eclipse up and running, code Android applications, and share your finished products with the world.

Featuring two sample programs, this book explores everything from the simple basics to advanced aspects of Android application development.

  • Walks you through all the steps in developing applications for the Android platform, including the latest Android features like scrollable widgets, enhanced UI tools, social media integration, and new calendar and contact capabilities
  • Starts off with downloading the SDK, then explains how to bring your applications to life and submit your work to the Android Market
  • Includes real-world advice from expert programmers Donn Felker and Michael Burton, who break every aspect of the development process down into practical, digestible pieces

Whether you're new to Android development or already on your way, Android Application Development For Dummies, 2nd Edition is the guide you need to dig into the app dev process!

Editorial Reviews Review

Q & A with Authors Donn Felker & Michael Burton

Donn Felker
Donn Felker
Michael Burton
Michael Burton
How long have you been developing apps for the Android platform?

Donn: I've been developing for Android since the first device was released back in 2008. My wife upgraded from an old flip phone to the G1 and while I was in between clients, I decided to write a couple of apps for the phone and decided to stick with it.

Michael: Ditto for me. I cut my teeth on Android development on the original Android G1. It was the Wild West in those days, and in some ways, still is!

How did you get started?

Michael: A friend of mine started a company with his buddy from MIT, and I joined up with him a few weeks later to take on the man and change the world. Originally I was doing backend development on a Python/Django 0.93 stack, and we were targeting a mobile web and native iPhone app, but once the G1 came out, we knew Android was going to change things up. Since I was the only one on our little six-person startup who had a lot of experience in Java, I switched over and coded our first Android app as fast as I could.

What first attracted you to the Android platform?

Donn: I liked how open it was and how quickly I could develop an application and get it to market.

Michael: Java's automated memory management and Android's intriguing (and oddball) multiprocessing model were compelling features for me when I got started. I had left enough systems programming behind me to know that malloc and free were pretty old school, and I didn't envy the iOS guys who had to do that all themselves prior to the advent of ARC. I thought for sure Android development would be easier if only for that reason alone. Ah, for the days when I was so young and naive.

Favorite app or project you've had the chance to work on?

Michael: I love my day job, but when I go home at night, I'm all about RoboGuice, my open source dependency injection framework for Android. We use it internally at Groupon, and it's also used by a number of other companies as well.

Donn: For me, it's Groupon.

What are some of the most common challenges new programmers face when developing their first apps?

Michael: State management is the number one place I see new developers stumble on Android. In a regular Java application (non-Android), if you put a value into a field in an object it will stay there until you change it. It's so fundamental and so basic that most developers never question it, but it's simply not true on Android.

The next most common difficulty is coming up with visual designs that "flow" so that they can adapt to devices of different sizes and orientations. This isn't an iOS world where you just have to deal with three or four fixed sized screens. With Android, you'll design for one device and later find that your "Okay" button has fallen off the bottom of the screen on smaller devices.

Donn: I agree. Getting their app to look good and work correctly across all versions of Android and sizes of Android devices is a big challenge for new developers.

What should readers expect when they open a copy of Android Application Development for Dummies?

Michael: Corny jokes. Sorry about that.

Donn: Seriously, though, they should expect a comprehensive introduction to Android. But, this is not an introduction to Java or XML--the developers are expected to know the language. This book will provide a solid foundation for any developer wishing to jump start their Android developer career.

Any advice for readers getting started on their first Android app?

Michael: Expect to make mistakes, and make sure you leave yourself time to do a whole lot of clever testing. Testing on Android is about outsmarting the phone, and you'll need to develop a strong sense of how Android internals work and how to emulate all of the unusual situations that users will encounter with your app.

Do your dialogs disappear when switching from portrait to landscape? Will the app crash if the user hits the back button after leaving your app to visit a web page? These are just a couple of really common scenarios, and they're also very easy to get wrong.

These are the kind of issues we've tried to do our best to guide you through as you work through the examples in the book.

Donn: I think the key thing is just to keep at it. Use the forums, like Stack Overflow and Google groups. Attend local user groups and interact with your community. And above all else, have fun!

From the Back Cover

Android app ambitions? This is your go-to guide to digging into the development process

Have a great idea for an Android app? This book will help you turn it into a reality! Start by downloading the SDK and JDK and creating a simple application, and then advance to developing a feature-rich app and distributing it through the Google Play Store. You'll also discover how to make a good app great and how to design an app interface users will love. Once you master the basics, the sky's the limit!

  • Load your toolbox — get acquainted with the tools and frameworks you'll use to develop Android apps
  • Your first app — build a simple application and create a widget for the device's home screen
  • Kick it up a notch — build a tablet application and learn to implement an SQLite content provider
  • Get it out there — see how to publish your apps to the Google Play Store
  • Master the fine points — use the debugger, see what makes a good menu, explore data storage options, and make your apps work for other devices

Open the book and find:

  • Why Android offers great opportunities for developers
  • How to install all the tools you need
  • Tips on designing a good user interface
  • Help deciding what to charge or if your app should be free
  • Advice on handling user input
  • Design differences between phone and tablet applications
  • Ways to avoid common pitfalls
  • Inspirational sample apps

Learn to:

  • Create amazing apps for the latest Android smartphones and tablets
  • Download and install the SDK and start working with the JDK tools
  • Adapt your existing phone apps for use on Android tablets
  • Publish your apps to the Google Play Store

Product Details

  • File Size: 3553 KB
  • Print Length: 411 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1118387104
  • Publisher: For Dummies; 2 edition (September 24, 2012)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B009KUJ85E
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #373,903 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
  •  Would you like to give feedback on images?.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Typos R Us - code samples are not usable November 5, 2013
Edit 17 NOV 2013:

I bought this book hoping to find a good introduction to Android Application Development after taking an online Java beginners class (Udacity) and in person XML classes from my local community college as well as numerous other computer courses such as C++, Python, Stanford's Database class. In other words, I was not an professional but not a complete computer novice either.

After reading this book I have to revise my rating downward to reflect entirety of the book. On the whole, I would not recommend it to either beginners or advanced users. It is neither a simple tutorial nor an advanced reference.

1) Installation of Java/Eclipse/Android ADT/ADK was fairly detailed and relatively up-to-date, although not completely (For the record, I am reviewing the 2nd edition of this book, which is most current as of the date of this review AFAIK).

1) Code printouts in book were nearly worthless, esp. to a beginner unfamiliar with Eclipse's auto-import functions etc.
2) The downloadable complete and corrected code was better, however, it was not at the URL location stated in the book. Instead, I found it at (remove the spaces): / WileyCDA / WileyTitle / productCd-1118387104 . html
3) The book is far too wordy and explanations feel very muddled. Much handwaving and beating around the bush. There seems to be too much happy-talk that detracts from the clarity of the writing more than put the reader at ease as it is intended to do.
4) There is too much guessing what the reader may or may not be feeling or thinking. This attempt at ESP is distracting and clutters the real content and should be replaced by better explanations of the topics at hand.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Decent, lots of errors August 22, 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
My major gripe with this book are the typos, and I don't mean misspelled words in the descriptions. There's frequent typos in the book in the code sections. They're not always obvious either, there's one instance where they put in a class name that was nowhere else in the book. I looked all around in the book for the class and then finally just put in what I thought it should be because there was no other mention of it, luckily I put the right class in there. Second, I love a little abstraction and following OOP principles, I don't love having to back reference constantly to try and figure out what is going on with the examples. The examples in the book follow good general OOP guidelines, but it seems like frequently they overdo it in this book and it removes from the clarity of understanding how the differing parts work together. Overall I think it gives a decent understanding of how the Android SDK works, I just think that it had just about the worst editing I've ever seen in a programming book and the code examples were frequently too clever for their own good. Seriously though, you all need to not rush a book out the door and maybe actually do some editing. The typos make it look amateur.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Easy Read, Good Content, Bad Typos September 5, 2013
First off - the book assumes Java knowledge so it's not targeted at complete newbies. For someone who has done other Java dev work though, it's a great primer for Android. I found it easy to read with lots of good examples of useful programming tasks. I went through it in a weekend and felt like I learned a lot.

ADVICE TO BUYERS: Download the source code from their website and use it to compare to the source in the book if you get weird errors. There are LOTS of serious typos in the code sections. As others have mentioned they're not minor either - we're talking completely different names for methods and classes, class file name mismatches and references to attributes that don't exist.

The code from the site works. I would have given this book a higher rating if it weren't for the absolute necessity of downloading the source to get things to compile. There should really be an errata or something for this.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Good Book January 2, 2013
By Dan
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Started to read it with no java experience and it suggested a java programming book for dummies. Bought that too and was glad I did.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars This book is worthless June 7, 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I ordered this book thinking it would help me learn to write apps. However since 2012 the entire Android SDK and Eclipse interface are completely different making the book unusable. I ordered as a e-book so I can't get my money back (e-books are not refundable)

Don't buy this book, of if you do don't buy the kindle version.
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By randy
Borrowed from a friend, and the content had muddy explanations, typos, and outdated code. Not to say all the code is now rendered useless, as you CAN still learn from the book, but I suggest this book as a rental from your local library rather than a purchase.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Amature Presentation Gets the Job Done April 4, 2014
Most importantly, this book did a reasonably good job of introducing me to all of the Android concepts, and development tools. I started with working knowledge of Java but no Android experience and was able to successfully: Install all the development tools, create an app, install the app on an emulator and a physical device, debug it, create a widget, and deploy to Google Play. So as a book for 'dummies', I think this book did what it said it would do. On the downside it is starting to become dated. The tools, as of March 2014, don't all work exactly as described in the book and I had to improvise. Also, the code snippets are missing required includes, and is horribly formatted. The code looks like it was written by an amateur. Finally, I felt like I had blinders on as I was blindly led from point a to point b. If I ever want to find my own way around the application library I will need to look elsewhere. But at least now I know where to look!
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