All About Android Books
Thursday, 11 September 2014
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All About Android Books
Android from the top level
From Starting To Selling
Complete Beginners Start Here

Java devs beginning Android 

If you are a Java programmer entirely new to Android you may be looking for want a beginner's pace to the topic. Harry Fairhead nominated Creating Android Applications as "a book that is suitable if you are trying to find a way into Android development, which can be confusing even if you know Java".


He awarded a rating of 4.5 on the grounds that it takes a nice steady pace and it explains things clearly. However:

It doesn't explain everything and it achieves a certain amount of its simplicity and its short length by avoiding some difficult topics.


Harry Fairhead has reviewed two versions of a book whose title proclaims it is for beginners noting that:

As long as you already write Java then you should find this a good introduction.



In his write up of Beginning Android 3, which he awarded a rating of 4.5, notes that the book improved a lot  between versions, saying

It is good to see that a book can really get better from one edition to the next, and we have to hope that it continues to evolve. It is a fairly big book and the pace is comfortably slow and informal. It has lost some, but not all, of its jokey titles and I think it would be better without them. Occasionally the examples are a little over-long and lack detailed explanation. Some trimming of the repetitive parts of the code would make it easier to understand - but some readers do prefer complete listings.

There is now an Android 4 version co-authored by Grant Allen.

Android Programming Unleashed is another title aimed at beginners to the platform who already know how to program in Java. Mike James gave it a 4-star rating commenting that it is "a worthwhile addition to a bookshelf, but not essential."


Explaining this verdict he says:

Overall this book is well written and the topics are reasonably well organized. The examples are all short and if you like real world examples this isn't the book for you. There are lots and lots of missing topics - particularly relating to the hardware e.g. the camera, accelerometer, magnetometer etc. but you can only expect so much in one book. 

The first three parts are probably the best - once the book moves off into specialist topics it probably doesn't do them justice, but it does introduce you to the basics in Parts I through III very well.

If you are a fan of the Sams Teach Yourself series you may be wondering how it measures up for Android. Harry Fairhead described the 2010 edition of Android Development in 24 hours, which he rated at 4 (Good), as "a full color easy-to-read introduction to Android development with the Eclipse add-on" and suitable for those who know Java and are able to build a program unaided. He mentions that:

Unlike other 24 hour books, this one is a bit more thoughtful and a bit less step-by-step.

and also comments:

What is surprising is how little actual code there is in total. Most of the examples are very short snippets that show the feature under discussion in use.

His opinion of the 2013 3rd edition, which is the latest one, had slipped down to 3 (Average) and he criticizes it both for the way code is presented incrementally which sometimes makes harder to see what is going on and for the order in which topics are covered:

The biggest problem with this book is the way that it jumps the gun on ideas that haven't yet been introduced. This is worst in the first few lessons where key ideas are explained at a point where the reader just can't understand or appreciate what they are all about.




Finishing touches

Once you have created an app you might want to sell it. That's where a book like Android Apps Marketing comes in handy. 



I thought this took realistic approach to planning, pricing and promoting an app and gave it a rating of 4.5. However it was written in 2011 before Google Play was launched and while its advice is still sound it probably needs an update.







Last Updated ( Saturday, 18 October 2014 )