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Android User Interface Development: Beginner's Guide Paperback – February 24, 2011

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Jason Morris has worked on software as diverse as fruit tracking systems, insurance systems, and travel search and booking systems and has been writing software for as long as he can remember. Currently working as a Software Architect for an exciting travel company in South Africa he works on multiple front-end systems utilizing a variety of Java-based technologies.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Packt Publishing (February 24, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1849514488
  • ISBN-13: 978-1849514484
  • Product Dimensions: 7.5 x 0.7 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.5 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,900,485 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Richard J. Wagner on March 18, 2011
Format: Paperback
This Book's title is "Android User Interface Development: Beginner's Guide" and I think it holds true to it's promise. Just be certain you aren't looking for an Android programming beginner's guide, because this book does not cover programming basics. It does cover all sorts of user interface considerations, and presents them in Packt's usual cookbook style. The book follows a pattern, where the reader is introduced to a topic, followed by the sections "Time for Action", "What Just Happened" and "Have a Go, Hero". "Time for Action" is a series of instructions that spell out exactly what to do for a sample scenario. "What Just Happened" follows up with an explanation of why the reader was asked to execute the instructions. "Have a Go, Hero" is a section challenging the reader to extend the spoon-fed instructions by implementing a next-step challenge.

Readers who are familiar with UI programming in another environment (especially Java's Swing) will find many concepts familiar. There's not much overview given, so readers new to the area will often find themselves accepting terms at face value and stepping out on faith as to why they're being asked to change some value or tweak a configuration. The end results of diligently following the instructions will be a working UI that runs in the Android emulator, though, so the reader can see the results of what they've done if not immediately understand all the working parts. Each section is very well contained, so it doesn't take very long to follow the recipe for a given section.

Many UI considerations are covered-- accepting and validating user input, style, animation, etc. UI concepts are this books forte, and I'd give it good marks for outlining these for the Android platform. I'd consider this book a good resource for any Android developer who's looking to provide functional and professional interfaces.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Gabor Paller on May 6, 2011
Format: Paperback
As the subtitle says, this book is for beginners and the author takes this mission seriously. The book follows a rigorous, step-by-step methodology. The reader is expected to start from an empty project and extend it line by line while the book explains, what is going on. It is best to demonstrate with an excerpt:

Start by creating an empty Button element below our answers ViewGroup LinearLayout (but still within the root LinearLayout element). Assign it the ID skip, so that we can reference it in Java:
Create some padding between the answers and the new button by using a margin:
Give it the display label Skip Question:
android:text="Skip Question"
Like all of the previous widgets, the width should be fill_parent and the height should be wrap_content: android:layout_width="fill_parent" android:layout_height="wrap_content"

And so on, and so on. There are books and trainings that call themselves hands-on but this book works really the best if you type the code while you are reading. Using this style, the book gets surprisingly far, starting from the simplest Hello, World type of applications it discusses lists and their relations to data, widgets (even the most exotic ones), layouts, including custom layouts and finally animations. Meanwhile it never gives up its practical approach, e.g. it teaches you, how to create images with transparent backgrounds with Gimp. I really appreciated that bit because I know from my own experience that this detail can be hard to figure out.

The author made some decisions that I found a bit strange. First and foremost, even though the title is Android User Interface Development, it does not discuss 2D (Canvas and co.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Paul Bourdeaux on June 21, 2011
Format: Paperback
This book, Android User Interface Development Beginner's Guide book by Jason Morris, offers a very good hands on approach to learning Android UI development. Intended for people who are familiar with Java but new to the Android environment, this book will take you through a step by step build of several applications, each illustrating a different UI concept. The chapters are logically organized, the source code for all of the applications is available from the publisher's website, and the examples are easy to follow.

As others have pointed out, the book does not use Eclipse and the ADT Plugin. The examples and instructions use a text editor and command line calls. While this is certainly a valid approach to UI development, and helps give a better understanding of the underlying code, I found myself wishing that at least some of the book was dedicated to using Google's recommended IDE. Had that been included this would have earned a full five stars. Regardless, the book is one of the strongest guides for UI development that I have read.

I recommend this book for anyone starting out in Android development.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Rob Spoor on June 13, 2011
Format: Paperback
The book explicitly says it's a beginner's guide, and that's exactly what you're getting. You don't need any previous knowledge about Android, as long as you can program in Java. The focus really lies on the Android code, with Java code only provided where needed. Only the Android XML documents are recapped in full, but you can get the full code quite easily from the publisher's website. Be aware that the book does not teach you how to use Eclipse or any other IDE - it's all text editor and command line. I applaud this approach, because this way you get to learn the basics. You're not learning to build Android user interfaces in Eclipse, you're learning to build Android user interfaces period.

The book handles topics ranging from the most basic application (Hello World), lists, tabs, layouts and animations, but also user friendliness. That's where in the end this book is focused on - teaching you to create user interfaces that are as friendly and easy as possible. As a result, you won't see much of code for other purposes - no placing phone calls, no accessing the address book, no camera interaction, etc. This makes the book a limited resource for overall Android programming, but then again this is a book about Android user interfaces.

I would recommend this book to anyone who wants to start programming in Android. For more advanced features you'll definitely need additional resources though.

Disclosure: I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for writing this review on behalf of This review has previously been posted on
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