Sams Teach Yourself Android Application Development in 24 Hours is another one of the famous series of "24 Hours" books. While a good resource, I want to mention right off that bat that if you don't have any programming experience, you're going to be completely lost with this one. That doesn't mean you have to be the foremost expert, but you need to have some familiarity with how programming works because this book (no surprise by the title), moves a bit quickly.
If you do have programming experience, but you haven't done Android application development, this is a good introduction. It carries you "hour by hour" (each chapter is supposedly an hour) to bring you through to completion of a basic application. Depending on your level of skill, some chapters will be a breeze, others are going to take longer than an hour. At the end, you will probably not be the foremost authority on Android development, but you'll have a foundation to explore more.
From my own perspective, I did computer programming for several years, mainly in C and C++ (but I've had experience with Java, which you'll need here), later doing database programming. I never touched Android development until this book so I found it useful and, for the most part, I could grasp the concepts. If you find yourself in a similar situation, this book isn't a bad starting off point for you.
on February 28, 2012
I got this book in the hopes of learning the syntax of android programming. My background is java, which the book suggests you know. The issue with this is, THE BOOK DOES NOT GIVE YOU ANY INFO ON THE LIBRARIES NEEDED TO IMPORT! If you do not know what that is, DO NOT buy this book! As I read through the book, it gave me a great background, but it threw information at me with no background info, which is needed in order for you to know what to do with it. The book babies you in what to do, but doesn't really say what to do with it after you have done it, maybe on some of the libraries. For this reason, I cannot justify telling anybody to buy this book. It essentially makes you go search for the background info yourself, and in that case, your better off just learning it from the android page on google... for FREE! That being said, I learned a little, but I cannot say I learned enough to make a fully functional app that actually does something productive.
This book is generally well-illustrated and does a good job of laying out the step-by-step instructions needed to get started with small projects. It's not super beginner-friendly, but a dedicated person could pick up this book with little to no prior experience and get started programming. That said, if you don't know Java already, you'll need to be learning Java concurrently with this book in order to actually get anything done.
While I feel generally positive about this book, some of the organization was counter-intuitive to me. For example, there are a lot of programs needed in order to get started programming for Android. As the book is telling us instructions for getting started with these programs, they keep telling us to go to the back of the book where the instructions for installing programs are. I didn't like having to flip back and forth between sections, and it would have seemed more intuitive to just have the instructions for installing the programs in the same section where they're telling us to install them. There were a few other weird issues like this which weren't a big deal, but made me feel like they hadn't done a thoughtful job in their organization of the book.
Overall, this is a decent introduction to the topic. Could you do better? I'm not sure, as I haven't read the other books available. This one has enough good stuff in it that you wouldn't go too far wrong, but if you have a chance to compare multiple books in person, I'd do so as this one is not as beginner-friendly as it could be.
You may be a Smart Phone user (be it Android or iPhone) and think you have a great idea for a mobile application that is going to make you filthy rich. Does that sound familiar at all? If it does, than a book with a title such as "Teach Yourself Android Application Development in 24 hours" is just the ticket, right? Wrong ... this would be a case of magical thinking. Who could blame you though ... the book states in it's title that you can teach development to yourself in 24 hours. A few things before you spend your hard earned money and your motivation on this book.
Although this book states that it's user level is for the Beginning to Intermediate level that means those beginners who are well-versed in some programming languages and at very least fundamentals of object oriented programming. Without that, the reader of this book is going to be lost in a hazy fog and probably feel out of their realm and discouraged. Suddenly that application that seemed like such a cool idea seems more out of reach than ever. If you are in that boat and need something built, hire a development team.
So, who is this book for:
- those who may have done some iPhone or other mobile development and want to try their hand at the Android Market. This is a beginning tome for you and just the ticket to see what's barely under the hood. This book will give you enough for the framework and help you get started. You will quickly move on to bigger and better things -- much of it available within the Google Developer community.
- this book could be a nice diversion for other types of developers who have an Android device and understand OOP and want to see what all the hooplah about mobile development is. The book is not going to make you an expert, but it will lead you in the right direction.
Who this book will NOT benefit:
- an entrepreneur who has an idea for a great mobile application but doesn't know Java, OOP or how to work with SDK's or JDK's.
- those who really do expect to teach themselves OOP through this book in a short amount of time.
I am unsure where the authors of this series come up with the "24 hours" gimmick in the title really refers to 24 lessons divided into 1 hour segments.
I gave the book 4 stars because it is a very well thought out and formatted Android Application development book. I enjoy the Sams books -- they offer good content structure and this one does not disappoint. I DID want to make it clear that beginners (not beginners in OOP) but beginners in general should probably steer clear lest they feel overwhelmed.
Having an idea for a great application is one thing, buying a book without the proper skills to back up your efforts because the title seems to make the book sound more accessible than it is ... well, that's just frustrating and I hope if you fall into that category, you'll search for something else. Don't let your application idea go by the wayside because you purchased a book that couldn't really teach you what you needed. Keep searching ...
on November 24, 2012
If you have a reasonable beginner's background in JAVA, use this. I don't; I will always be wondering what I'm doing wrong. Other quibble/roadblock: the screenshots are about two inches on a side. I had to use a magnifying glass to read them (it does work, but should I have to?).
I'm going to try to finish this, but have had better luck with mybringback.com's video tutorial so far.
Not so exciting update: I gave up at chapter ten; too many:
-unexplained errors using the author's code,
-too many hours spent trying to fix them by myself first and then with the code
-not enough explanation after the first couple of chapters (I managed pretty well, but I have superior Google-fu).
I'm sure there are better books, somewhere.
I have always viewed any book titled "Teach Yourself ... in X Amount of Time" with a skeptical eye, and Sams has always seemed to be at the front of the line with those titles. However, this book does make that formula work, but it requires that the reader possess some prerequisite skills.
The authors assume that you:
1. Know Java. This book isn't going to teach you one thing about Java, and it assumes you've already created more than a simple 'Hello World\n' application.
2. Are familiar with the Eclipse IDE. While a great number of the first few pages delve into using Eclipse for development, they really start to focus tightly on how it applies to Android and not just creating Java programs. If you don't even know what Eclipse does, this is not the book for you.
3. Have some very basic knowledge of GUI programming concepts. You do not need to be an old salty MFC programmer, but it will be helpful if you understand the basics of user interface design concepts. If you know Java, you're probably covered. If your Java experience lies in more service/JSP type areas, you'll probably be able to pick it up. If #1 doesn't apply, save your money and buy a good Java programming book FIRST. There simply is no substitute for learning the basics.
With that said, how close do the authors come to making good on their "24 Hour" promise"? Candidly, that's ambitious even for someone such as myself who is a computer programmer. They assume you'll knock off a chapter in an hour (as indicated by the "Hour 1, Hour 2, Hour 3 designations of chapters). Realistically, any serious student of Android programming will probably dedicate way more time than that in order to really grasp the information. That doesn't make this a bad book, it just makes it guilty of perhaps overzealous marketing.
One thing that I was surprised to see in this book was help on creating versioned-builds and debugging. These are topics often overlooked in other programming books, not just Android. And any experience programmer knows, creating applications might not be the hardest job in the world, but stomping out bugs can be. It gives some ideas on best practices, pitfalls and common errors.
This book is a solid introduction, but only if you've met the author's requirements. If not, consider this a future purchase when you've gained some Java experience.
This book is one of the best introductions to programming for Android that I've seen so far with one very big caveat: a substantial working knowledge of the Java programming language is required. That's the really bad news. But there is good news as well: if you are familiar with object-oriented programming (and even most versions of BASIC these days are object-oriented), the authors say "Android can also be a fantastic platform for learning Java" provided you have adequate support, like lots of good Java references.
In short, if you don't have any programming experience and don't want to become even a moderately competent programmer - which requires substantial time and effort - this book is not for you. You can still develop, with limitations, for Android by using Google's App Inventor while it is still around.
Having paged through the book, I must agree with the authors and take it one step further: this book will make learning Java fun which is absolutely not true of many other texts that teach Java.
The authors begin with a familiarization tour of the Eclipse development environment, a necessity if you haven't worked with Eclipse before.
The move on to other Android development tools and environments which is not only helpful, but comforting as well. Android gives you lots of hand-holding in a sense, which is very nice.
The rest of the book is devoted to application development beginning with creating a framework, enhancing the framework with specialized features and polishing the application. The approach is gentle: the authors covers each detail, even though most of the explanations are brief. There are a lot of good quality illustrations and code listings.
As you might anticipate, none of the projects are very advanced, but are kept simple. The code even for a Java neophyte like me is comprehensible.
As I move into learning from the book, I am sure that I will find irritants (i.e., code snippets that don't work, etc.), but right now this looks like a pretty exciting way to learn both Java and Android development.
I found this book to be a great introduction the world of Google's Android development environment.
I come from the .NET world. I have just recently started learning Java. I have read a few books on it and built a few applications. I primarily use IntelliJ IDEA Community Edition, but decided to use Eclipse with the examples in this book because the book uses Eclipse.
My main issues were getting the SDK and IDE setup correctly. Although the Android environment was a bit confusing, reading the book gave me a pretty good grasp on it.
You should have a solid programming background before digging into this book. Understanding Java would be best, but C# developers could muddle through it. Understanding Eclipse would also be beneficial.
The book starts out with an overview of the development tools, building applications, managing application resources, configuring the manifest files and designing an application framework.
The next several chapters cover building the application framework. It then shows you how to add features to your application and then publish it on the Android Market. These sections cover implementing an animated splash screen, main menu screen, help and scores screens, application logic, and input forms and dialogs. They show you how to work with camera and use images, cover networking, social features, internationalization, and testing.
The book also has some good appendixes that help you get started with the Android SDK, the Android Plug-in, and the Eclipse IDE.
I think this was a great introduction to Android. It is 24 hours worth of learning, not 1 day worth of learning, so expect to spend a few weeks with it.
All in all I highly recommend it.
on March 13, 2012
This book is an excellent introduction to the Android development platform using Eclipse IDE. But if you're buying this book thinking that you can learn to write useful Android apps (not just a "Hello World" app) within a day without having any background in programming, preferably Java, you'll be hugely disappointed.
I was looking for prerequisites for this book but I don't see any. Though if you're truly determined to start coding for the Android platform, this book can get you up and running with all the tools you'll need to start your Android development in a very short time.
If you've had a little programming experience, you'll get through this just fine, if not, you might want to get a little bit of HTML & at least some BASIC &/or C or C++, LINUX & API knowledge and an understanding of Eclipse under your belt before venturing into making you're own Android Apps. Certainly not a 24-hour project!
In 24 hours? OK, maybe if you already know what you want to create & have a LOT of programming & network experience & understanding, if not, expect it to take a bit (quite a bit) longer.
Progressive learning curve, which can get rather steep. Seems to be platform-specific, so if it's not matching up w/ your screen shots, etc., you may have a different platform version. (This one is written for 2.0, but these change rapidly.)
An OK book to get your feet wet (again with some programming & LINUX experience), but certainly not a beginner book & VERY limiting in the scope of versions, as phones & tablets are far beyond 2.0.
Downloading the Android SDK, platform & tools (samples are helpful when learning too) for your operating system & reading the online help may be a better way to go, depending on your experience, yet useful if you're on 2.0 and a beginner into Android.
With platforms upgrading & changing so quickly, by the time a book is printed, it's already outdated.
Better to get this type of information online & because it's open-source, there are plenty of free places to get what you need, including Eclipse, online.