Learning Android by Marko Gargenta

Summary: Welcome to Android’s world

Developing Android based application is like any other development. You have to get tools, learn basics and explore the details of the API. Learning Android covers first two topics.

First of all, you can get the overview of Android, what it does, who develops it and so forth. You can call it an overview from 9K feet height. After that you are explained how Android is organized and how all the system layers are organized. This is quite useful part because you can get the feeling what to expect when it comes to the API. Then you will be guided through the initial setup that allows you to develop Android based applications. This part is quite useful, because it allows you to get all the information required for preparing development environment. You will be, literally, lead step by step how to configure everything (at this point you can tell that Marko has some experience when it comes to providing people with tutorials – you are simply not able to go wrong here). One remark here. Marko doesn’t mention that you have to set-up Android’s SDK location before you proceed with “Hello world” example. In order to do this, you have to go to: Eclipse -> Preferences -> Android -> SDL Location and set proper SDK location. He also forgets to mention that after setting up ADT you have to go to: and install all the packages that are required for Android development.

After you are ready to go with coding, there is a place for getting familiar with Android’s API. Here, Marko provides you with information related to Various aspects of Android related development. In general, it’s fine, but there is one drawback. Marko tries to provide you with the knowledge related to Android by conducting you basing on hypothetical application (Yamba). It means, that through out the book you will be hooked to this application and you will try to approach it from various perspectives: UI, database, services, etc. This kind of approach ha it’s pros and cons. Pros are that you can get the feeling of real application being developed using technology you are interested in. Cons are: you are stick to example project through out whole book, you can’t jump between topics without the overview of the example of application. I generally prefer “Cookbook” series where you are presented a solution for particular issue.

What I have missed most in this book are: HTTP communication within Android apps, Web Service calls within Android based applications, description of Android Market.

In general, this book is OK, but definitely not perfect. I missed lots of topics to be covered here. On the other hand, it has quite well prepared introduction to Android, initial set up and Android’s basics. This way, you are provided everything that allows you to start developing Android applications.

Stay tuned, I will update this post as soon as I read some other books on Android. I’ll tell you then, whether this book can compete with others or not.

Product page:

O’Reilly: http://oreilly.com/catalog/9781449390501
Amazon (in Books): Learning Android
Amazon (Kindle): Learning Android