Reviewed: May 2013
Recommended with reservations.
There are plenty of awful Android books out there (see my other review for one such example). Lots of errors in the code, broken examples, wasted paper, illogical layouts and well, pretty much a waste of a tree. This is NOT one of those books.
This is a rather good book. Not amazing, but still far better than a lot of things out there. From the word go, there are screen shots a-plenty, lots of code examples with the emphasis definitely on trying things out for yourself. But therein lies the problem with the book. It is all well and good having example code, but not when you have to disappear onto a website and dig around for it (it is why this review is on Recommended and not Highly Recommended).
A major omission is the lack of anything on graphics handling. While it does show you how to display graphics, there is nothing on drawing or use of the camera. An omission which while understandable, does detract from this book quite a lot. Drawing leads into long and short presses, drags, canvases and other fun bits and pieces. Perhaps for the next edition this could be included? Here’s hoping!
The author of this work does know what he is on about with a clear way to his writing style. I will happily admit that I don’t do Java. I’ve never understood it and really, it doesn’t make too much sense to me. I do, however, program for Android using Xamarin.Android (or Monodroid as it was). There is only one or two books out there that are dedicated to using .NET on Android. The beauty of this book though is that it explains how the system works and how events are used and as long as you know the equivalent in .NET world, this book provides you with a great resource that is currently missing.
The book covers just about all of the main parts of Android development (including data persistence, maps, messaging and networking) up to Ice Cream Sandwich. Jellybean doesn’t appear to be in the book.
All in all, this is one of the better books out there for Android development. It’s good, but has its failings.