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Android Studio Development Essentials - Android 6 Edition Paperback – December 9, 2015
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I have tried several YouTube video series and numerous other books that were all missing the mark by some degree. Then I ran across this book and it is fantastic! I could feel from the start that this book was different and the deeper I got, the more impressed I was. The other books were riddled with errors (mostly Michael's), but this one is quite the opposite. I use the examples from the book as templates for app ideas that I get and I'm loving Android now. I'm barely 2/3 finished with the book and I was compelled to go ahead and rate it 5 stars. It could literally be awful from here to the end of the book and it would STILL be better than any of the others I've tried. Get it and start your exciting Android journey today!
- Things are explained before, when, and after they are done.
- Parameters are usually explained, at least in passing.
- Chapters are bite-sized, each explaining a concept.
- Example projects with easy, step-by-step instructions are in nearly every chapter.
- Lots of screenshots to help you follow along.
- (Minor) Writing style can be awkward at times.
I've been looking for a good book on Android. It's hard as almost all are out of date shortly after publication, and most of them say "do this now do that" and expect you to learn from doing. Some explain, but the explanations are more of the approach and what will be done, rather than why each thing is being done or why it is used over alternative approaches.
Luckily, i found this book. Originally, i ignored the it due to the stupid cover design (no, really, and yes, i know) and came to it later. Well, at first i had found the Android 5 edition (Android Studio Development Essentials: Android 5 Edition). Amazon lists the date (there) of the first edition (even though they were selling the second edition) and Techtopia has the entire second edition online. (Even though there are ads to purchase it, i confirmed with the publisher that it is the full edition.) Anyway, the book looked good. So, i emailed the publisher to find out if there was an updated version. Well, the author was working on it just then, and it was becoming available shortly afterward. Sweet.
From a technical perspective, this book is far above the competition. It explains why things are done (sometimes in the first half of the chapter, sometimes in another chapter.) Chapters are bite-sized around specific topics, and there is clear progression. Examples are explained before being done, then during and/or afterward. Rationale is explained, and other methods to achieve the same goal are either mentioned or given as examples. For example, there are three ways to add views (aka widgets) to an Activity: dragging and dropping, editing the xml, or in code. There's a chapter on each of these, each has examples projects, and he lists the pros and cons of each approach.
Parameters to calls are usually explained, at least in passing, even mentioning things like why a self-reference is passed. Most books skip the unimportant parameters, and this book doesn't dwell on them either. However, they are usually mentioned, so you get a good feeling about what is going on.
For all its good though, the writing style leaves what to be desired. The sentences can sound awkward and there are some odd word choices. For example, in the Android 5 edition, "whilst" is used instead of while, though this is no longer the case in the Android 6 edition. There's some sentences i had to read twice to understand. (Well, it's not _that_ bad, but enough to comment about.) Nonetheless, they're information packed. And, at $10 for the ebook, i don't even care that much. The book is a steal.
I sent in a couple typos that have been corrected in the latest edition. The publisher is very responsive, and ultimately sent me the Android 6 edition. Of course, i was asked to continue sending in typos with makes me even happier. You mean someone cares? :) (FWIW, i was not asked to leave a review. I am leaving one because i want to. I'm so excited i found this book.)
If you're looking for an Android book and want to understand what is going on, get this book. For $10, its a steal. And you can preview the entire Android 5 edition on Techtopia should you so desire.
Also on page 3 it talks about installing Java 7, not version 8. Other books published in 2015 and 2016 are much more up to date.
Also, this book is in grayscale, not color. More difficult on my eyes.
I don't think you should buy this as your main text, although it looks to be a good book. I haven't read enough to comment further.
My goal in buying this book was to learn the IDE first before starting on an app. I do agree that it does this better than other books, which have a tendency to jump into hello world type apps immediately. So I would buy it more as a reference for better understanding, but not my main book.