on October 23, 2009
I've read several books on Android from cover to cover, and skimmed several others, and "Hello, Android" is hands-down the best introduction to Android development.
Here's why I say that --
You really can get through the book in a day or two. The explanations are clear, the topics focus on what's relevant to getting started in Android development, and when you're done you have the skills to dive into the SDK to continue learning.
There is a consistent example project that is developed throughout the book. I found this very helpful, because it showed me how all the different parts fit together. For example, launching activities from an existing activity, using multiple classes in your project, adding preferences, etc.
There are very few (if any) "gotchas" in this book. I followed the examples step by step without any problem. I think some people have used the book's online forum to ask about which packages to import, but when I used Eclipse it was done automatically for me. (By the way, all the files are also online.)
Even after having many months of Android development under my belt, I find that I still refer back to this book from time to time. That's saying something for a book that sets out to be an introduction.
Remember, this book is a great introduction. If you already know Android and are looking for a deep-dive, look elsewhere. But if you are curious about all the excitement around Android and have a few hours to spare, spend them with this book and find out what developing in Android is all about.
on December 8, 2009
I have virtually no programming experience. Other than a solid beginner's understanding of LAMP (unix, apache, mysql, PHP and scripting stuff in general), I've never done more than fiddle with code. I do have a cursory knowledge of programming concepts and XML, but that's about it. I'm pretty much a curly brace language virgin.
Hello, Android does a solid job of introducing you to the fundamentals of programming for the Android OS -- it gives you a succinct overview of why you need to do 'XYZ' and when to do it. If you're looking for pages and pages of fundamentals and core concepts, you may want to look elsewhere because Hello, Android makes you hit the ground running and helps you immediately apply the quick concepts you just learned. This is excellent for a beginner like me because the results are immediate and gives you a sense of "this isn't so intimidating... I can actually do it!"
The one aspect I enjoyed about the book was that it gently gets the absolute beginner up to speed but then does less and less hand-holding as the tutorials moved along; this lets intermediate and advanced programmers move along at a brisk pace, but also forces beginners to think about previous concepts that were taught earlier. Instead of simply copying-and-pasting "recipe" code, it really challenged me to think and absorb what the author was teaching. This was invaluable for me as a beginner that likes to be challenged with more than just a simple 'copy and paste this code from page XX, then hit build and run'.
One intangible you won't find in the book -- the author is very helpful/responsive in the Pragmatic Programmer's forums, as are the other members. Any question I've had were answered (usually) within a day, and many times within an hour. For instance, I was having an issue with running 64-bit version of Java JDK in my Android dev environment. The author (and other members) were very helpful in getting my dev environment up and running. Needless to say, the community that goes along with the book is invaluable.
I've owned dozens of wrox, apress etc books since the 90s, and this is one of the few that I would not hesitate to recommend to both beginners and advanced programmers with no Java or XML dev experience. Get this book! 4.5 stars.
PS -- if you buy the paper version of the book, I'd also highly recommend the e-version. Having a PDF up side-by-side with Eclipse (Android's default IDE) is extremely useful.
on September 19, 2010
This book covers a broad array of topics, it covers none of them in real depth and it is really really focused on Android - as opposed to Java. For my situation - it was perfect.
As a "read in a week, do the examples and lean a hell of a lot" type of book - it does the job well. If you know nothing about Android, want a crash course in the possibilities, and some basic intro on to how to realise them - this is the book you want. It's short, it's to the point and it will kick-start you into development. It's also way more digestible than the online docs if you're just starting out.
It will not turn you into an Android development ace; although it's such a new technology, you may be mistaken for one when you open your mouth. You'll certainly be able to "talk" a reasonable game when you're finished. If you are looking for a detailed Android reference or advanced programming manual type of thing - it's the wrong book.
It focuses on Android - not Java. You will learn NOTHING about Java programming, the pages deal exclusively with the Android system, and how to program it USING Java.
The book is divided up into 4 sections:
Section I : Introducing Android
Chapter 1 : Gets the tools set up (Eclipse IDE, Android Development Kit plug-in and Android SDK) and has you compiling the obligatory "Hello World" project.
Chapter 2 : Takes you on a 5 minute tour of the Android system from bottom to top. It's useful, especially if like me you come from a non-mobile development context. Android handles
application life-cycle differently because of the resource constrained devices it's typically hosted by; this has major implications for your application implementation.
Section II : The Basics (Uses the construction of a basic Sudoku game as it's vehicle for teaching throughout the section)
Chapter 3 : User interface (Screens, Dialogue boxes, Menus, Buttons etc.)
Chapter 4 : 2D Graphics (draw your Sudoku grid / numbers)
Chapter 5 : Multimedia (Audio / Video...to add those essential Sudoku sounds...)
Chapter 6 : Storing Local Data (remembering Sudoku options - handling saving of current game data when the game is paused [e.g. when a call comes in mid-game and Android context
switches out your application])
Section III : Beyond the Basics
Chapter 8 : Location and Sensing - using the host of other sensors (GPS, Accelerometer, light-meter, orientation etc) your device may have.
Chapter 9 : SQLite - using the ever-popular SQLite embedded database that comes with Android.
Chapter 10 : 3D Graphics - using the Android implementation of OpenGL.
Section IV : The Next Generation
Chapter 11 : Multi-touch - how to
Chapter 12 : There's no place like home - creating widgets / live wall-paper
Chapter 13 : Write once, Test Everywhere - advice and tips on debugging / testing when faced with a large array of devices already in the wild.
Chapter 14 : Publishing to the Market - a basic overview of getting your application to those fee-paying mobile junkies.
My one gripe with this book is in Section II - you're in the mix...building Sudoku and it's done in a nice, incremental manner: you write a little code, compile it up and see it run. Gradually the game comes together and you get a sense of satisfaction from watching it do just that. Then, at a certain point, you'll find yourself writing code that uses functions you've not written yet....suddenly...POW...your code doesn't compile and you can't see the results of your new code. Obviously you dive forward, find the functions, implement them and hey presto, it compiles again. It's not a terminal thing; just out of the blue and a little frustrating.
Overall - I thought this was a really good book for someone a) who knows a bit of Java b) doesn't know Android at all. You could probably figure it all out from the online docs - but I bet you it will take a lot longer and won't be half as pleasant an experience! I'd recommend it to anyone starting out with Android.
on March 3, 2009
This book definitely started me off in the right direction for making my own applications for Android.
Although this application misses an important section, "Publishing your application", the book is on the design process of the applications.
The book starts you off by familiarizing you with how the Android is run and the general idea of its interface. Then come the example applications which can also be found online.
Each example application is a different use of the Android...
Sudoku, GPS tracking, MySQL, OpenGL, Browsers, etc... This shows you a basic example to a solution.
This book does everything it intends to do for a user of the G1 starting to program. I have never programmed in Java and XML(C and HTML, though), and this book managed to get me understanding and writing basic applications within several hours.
I wouldn't recommend this book if you don't understand basic code because the book does jump into it rather quick and has many technical words. However, for a small book of 200 pages, each summary is very concise and exactly what was necessary to learn the understanding of the material- if you really want more, Im sure Wikipedia and Android-forum along your side will solve all your problems.
The only problem I have with programming now, is customizing my applications to my liking. But this is just learning programming better.
I plan on having many applications on the market place after learning a bit more java, XML, and practicing just a bit!
Thanks and good luck G1 programmers!
on February 20, 2010
I have been programming computers for more than 30 years. My background includes DOS Basic, c, C#, C++ .NET, but not Java.
I bought this book because I want to get started in writing some apps for my phone. I have found it to be the best beginning book available. I have looked at 3 or 4 others. It is complete, accurate and has real applications to develop. IT shows you how to set up the IDE and tells you where to get the tools. The author explains what he is doing but does not get bogged down in the details.
You should have a background in Java but if you have experience in some of the other languages out there you should be able to get by. A knowledge of XML would help too.
My recommendation for anyone trying to develop for the Android OS would be:
1. Get familiar with Java
2. get familiar with XML (rudimentary understanding)
3. Buy this book
4. Go for it!
I will be placing this author on my 'watch list' because his writing level is very comfortable for me.
on September 19, 2010
I have been a developer for nearly 30 years now and I have bought an incredible volume of books over this time period. This book, Hello Android was one of my favorites to actually "read". This book covers the complete creation of a game from start to finish. What I like about the book is that the author explains what we are goig to do, shows the coding to make it happen, explains why we are coding it that way and if it is something graphical he shows us what it should look like. What more an you ask for? I also like how he can guess what your question may be and answers it. For example he talks about colors values( alpha, red,green & blue). My first question was "What the heck is alpha". I turn the page..then there it is he explains it. This book was enjoyable as opposed to so many other books I have bought. I sat down and read half of it while my wife was getting her hair done. To me it read like a novel.
I can not find anything bad to say about this book. I read some of the other reviews and I was surprised by what others had wrote. I can only guess that their negative responses are a result of their limited experience.
The point of the book is to get one started in Android programming and that is exactlty what it does. I am hoping I will find other books written by this author.
on August 3, 2010
I will preface my review by saying I am a C# developer used to Visual Studio (up to version 2010). I love the Visual Studio environment. Eclipse was a little bit of a learning curve for me. But, I got by just fine.
Here is a book that took me about 3 days to read cover to cover. I've been programming for many years and this book was perfect for me. High level overviews are the best way to figure out how things work. He even provides links for you to find more information for things that truly interest you.
I don't agree with some of other reviews. I really didn't have any issues implementing the code in the examples.
My only complaint would be in the OpenGL section. I wish there was more comments in the code as to what each line was doing. I looked each up myself easily though.
Get the PDF, Mobi, and epub. Amazon doesn't appear to offer it on their site. So, I had to go to the publishers site (The offer all three for a lower price than buying the hard copy). That could change. I didn't really see a reason for the actual print version since I have a Kindle DX.
on February 4, 2010
I've been developing software for quite a while but I am new to Android, and Java is not my main forte. The first book I purchased, Wrox's "Android Application Development", left me wondering if I'd lost all my reading comprehension skills. So I browsed a lot of other books until I discovered this one. The writing is very clear, the examples are complete, and by building a Sudoku application you learn all the key aspects of Android development in a very logical way. The author also walks you through setting up, developing and debugging Android in the Eclipse environment, and guides you through preparing an application for the Android market. This is a very complete introduction to Android that never once left me scratching my head or frantically Googling for omitted information. Highly recommended.
on January 10, 2009
This is exactly the book I wanted and what any developer who wants to learn Google Android Needs.
The author did an excellent job in just 200+ pages to give you core concepts and tips to start coding an Android.
Ofcourse in 200 pages he cannot explain all the details but google itself has good documentation also to learn those details.
My overall experience of Android SDK is that it is very powerful SDK which can do many things that other Phone SDKs were never able to do because of phone limitations. But also a bit disappointed in somewhat poor design of the API itself.
on April 12, 2010
Regarding books, one of the things I appreciate the most is an honest relationship between title and contents. Unfortunately it's quite common to find books out there promising things they don't fullfill.
"Hello, Android" meets perfectly the commitment of its title. Don't buy it expecting a reference manual of Android because it' just an introduction to this platform, and I must admit that it does the work gracefully. It's quick and brief so it tells you the essential and gives you resources for further research such as the sample projects that can be free downloaded from the book website. A nice aspect to highlight is the hands-on approach, throughout the book concepts are illustrated with lots of code. Furthermore a Sudoku game is parcially developed during a couple of chapters.
So I basically recommend this book for beginners mainly for two reasons:
1. Starts from the Scratch: Nothing is assumed so it's a good point to start out as Android developer.
2. Brevity: I don't have time for an eight-hundred-pages book to start to develop. I'll deal with the ins and outs as I go, not before.
Of course, like any book about Android, Java (or C++, C#, etc) basic understanding is recommended.