48 of 49 people found the following review helpful
Great resource for beginners, with a few caveats,
This review is from: Hello, Android: Introducing Google's Mobile Development Platform (Pragmatic Programmers) (Paperback)
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.
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Initial post: Dec 8, 2009 10:40:00 PM PST
Jay D. Swartzfeger says:
Just a followup to my review -- this is the second Pragmatic Programmer book I've purchased and both have been top notch. Many times with most technical publishers, you'll purchase one book from Publisher 'A' and the book is excellent; buy a different book from the same publisher and the quality can vary. Both books from Pragmatic have been excellent, so I'm definitely going to give them "first look" with future purchases. As always, YMMV.
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