Beginning Android 3 by Mark Murphy

Summary: Android 3 basics explained

Recently, I am involved into the project where Android is one of the technologies we use. This is quite fresh experience for me, since I am server side (Java) and iOS developer. I wanted to see how is it to be at the Android’s side, thus I decided to read something devoted strictly to Android. It turned out, that Beginning Android 3 was a nice reading and quite good choice – as for beginner. The book is all about starting your experience with Android 3 development. It will guide you through all the basics, mostly, using Eclipse. As a matter of fact, book is not bound to any particular IDE, however, first part provides detailed description of how to configure Eclipse for Android 3 development. I am pretty sure, that you will stick with it if you are fresh in this matter. It is simply the easiest way to start.

After you have you environment up and running, you will be guided by Mark through the basics of Android development. This section is really great. It guides you step by step how to download, install and configure all the software required for development. After everything is up and running, you can go to next parts where Mark will show you how to deal with various aspects of Android development. Each part discusses different topics. Part 2 is devoted to basic UI concepts, and resource management. This is the easies way to start. You can simply create working application in a few minutes – literally. Third part discuses most recent improvements introduced by Honeycomb (Android 3) – mostly in the context of tablets. Fourth part discusses access to external resources via Internet and how to deal with SQLite. You will also be guided how to utilize Services and how to develop applications using external frameworks that employ HTML5 (PhoneGap).

As for the content, book presents pragmatic approach. You will find lots of examples and as much theory as needed. Even though most of the topics are just for beginners, and should be as simply explained as possible, some of them are discussed rather shallowly. I have few concerns here: SQLite, i18n, and application testing (debugging). These topics are not presented us good as they could be.

When it comes to the style, Mark use informal one. This way you feel entertained while reading the book, however, sometimes it is hard to get what’s really behind the sentence. This, especially, alters non native speakers. Sometimes it is simply hard to find at the table of contents what you are looking for. Especially, when titles are expressed via idioms.

The overall verdict, when it comes to judging this book is: OK. The book is good introduction to Android 3. It really covers what’s good for beginners. However, if you are not familiar with Java, you will have to buy companion book related to Java language. If you just start your experience with Android 3, I think you can go for it. If you are already familiar with Android, head for “Pro” book instead.

Product page:

Amazon (in Books): Beginning Android 3
Amazon (Kindle): Beginning Android 3

Comments (5)

anonymousAugust 6th, 2011 at 11:12 am

Please, leave your comments below this post in order to get a chance for a book.

anonymousAugust 8th, 2011 at 4:01 pm

In terms of development – I prefer Android over iOS for the ability to leverage my years of Java development and the lack of being bound to a single development platform (OS and IDE). I would prefer iOS for its consistency across devices, but there is something to be said for not having to be locked to a single development platform. ;)

anonymousAugust 8th, 2011 at 5:00 pm

I like Android because it is more open then iOS. While iOS is great for worry-free every day usage, Android is way more ready for modding, making little hacks and deep customisation.

anonymousAugust 8th, 2011 at 7:08 pm

Thanks for the comments.

anonymousAugust 8th, 2011 at 8:59 pm

Hi! I like Android the more because his openess allows us not only to create improved versions, but also make it easier to learn and understand how things work. Also, the learning curve makes it easy to learn but hard to master (althought not impossible!), so with some tenacity, anyone with some interest can create great and useful apps.