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Android Wireless Application Development Volume I: Volume I: Android Essentials: 1 (Developer's Library) [Paperback]

Lauren Darcey , Shane Conder

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Book Description

23 Feb 2012 Developer's Library
Android Wireless Application Development has earned a reputation as the most useful real-world guide to building robust, commercial-grade Android apps. Now, authors Lauren Darcey and Shane Conder have systematically revised and updated this guide for the latest Android SDK 4.0. To accommodate their extensive new coverage, they’ve split the book into two volumes. Volume I focuses on Android essentials, including setting up your development environment, understanding the application lifecycle, designing effective user interfaces, developing for diverse devices, and optimizing your mobile app development process--from design through publishing. Every chapter has been thoroughly updated for the newest APIs, tools, utilities, and hardware. All sample code has been overhauled and tested on leading devices from multiple companies, and many new examples have been added. Drawing on decades of in-the-trenches experience as professional mobile developers, Darcey and Conder provide valuable new best practices--including powerful techniques for constructing more portable apps. This new edition contains full chapters on Android manifest files, content providers, effective app design, and testing; an all-new chapter on tackling compatibility issues; coverage of today’s most valuable new Android tools and utilities; and even more exclusive tips and tricks. An indispensable resource for every Android development team member.

 


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Product Description

From the Back Cover

The start-to-finish guide to the essentials of Android development: Updated for Android 4.0+

 

Android Wireless Application Development has earned a reputation as the most useful real-world guide to building robust, commercial-grade Android apps. Now, the authors have systematically revised and updated this guide for the latest Android 4.0 SDK. To accommodate their extensive new coverage, they’ve split the book into two volumes. Volume I focuses on Android essentials, including setting up your development environment, understanding the application lifecycle, designing effective user interfaces, developing for diverse devices, and optimizing your mobile app development process--from design through publication.

 

Drawing on decades of in-the-trenches experience as professional mobile developers, Lauren Darcey and Shane Conder provide valuable tips and best practices--including powerful techniques for constructing more portable apps. Every chapter of this edition has been thoroughly updated for the newest APIs, tools, utilities, and hardware. This new edition contains

 

•  Updates to all existing chapters, including many new topics

•  Full chapters on Android manifest files, content providers, effective app design, and testing

•  New coverage of working with fragments and other recent user interface enhancements

•  An all-new chapter on tackling compatibility issues

•  Expert coverage of today’s most valuable Android tools and utilities

•  Coverage of little-known SDK features that offer surprising power

•  Even more sample code projects

 

This book, and its companion, Volume II, are indispensable resources for Android development team members: software developers with all levels of mobile experience, team leaders and project managers, testers and QA specialists, software architects, and even marketers.

 

Available this summer: Android Wireless Application Development Volume II: Advanced Topics (ISBN: 9780321813848)


 

About the Author

Lauren Darcey is responsible for the technical leadership and direction of a small software company specializing in mobile technologies, including Android, iOS, Blackberry, Palm Pre, BREW, and J2ME and consulting services. With more than two decades of experience in professional software production, Lauren is a recognized authority in application architecture and the development of commercial-grade mobile applications. Lauren received a B.S. in Computer Science from the University of California, Santa Cruz.

 

She spends her copious free time traveling the world with her geeky mobile-minded husband and is an avid nature photographer. Her work has been published in books and newspapers around the world. In South Africa, she dove with 4-meter-long great white sharks and got stuck between a herd of rampaging hippopotami and an irritated bull elephant. She’s been attacked by monkeys in Japan, gotten stuck in a ravine with two hungry lions in Kenya, gotten thirsty in Egypt, narrowly avoided a coup d’etat in Thailand, geocached her way through the Swiss Alps, drank her way through the beer halls of Germany, slept in the crumbling castles of Europe, and gotten her tongue stuck to an iceberg in Iceland (while being watched by a herd of suspicious wild reindeer).

 

Shane Conder has extensive development experience and has focused his attention on mobile and embedded development for the past decade. He has designed and developed many commercial applications for Android, iOS, BREW, Blackberry, J2ME, Palm, and Windows Mobile--some of which have been installed on millions of phones worldwide. Shane has written extensively about the mobile industry and evaluated mobile development platforms on his tech blogs and is well-known within the blogosphere. Shane received a B.S. in Computer Science from the University of California.

 

A self-admitted gadget freak, Shane always has the latest smartphone, tablet, or other mobile device. He can often be found fiddling with the latest technologies, such as cloud services and mobile platforms, and other exciting, state-of-the-art technologies that activate the creative part of his brain. He also enjoys traveling the world with his geeky wife, even if she did make him dive with 4-meter-long great white sharks and almost get eaten by a lion in Kenya. He admits that he has to take at least two phones with him when backpacking--even though there is no coverage--and that he snickered and whipped out his Android phone to take a picture when Laurie got her tongue stuck to that iceberg in Iceland, and that he is catching on that he should be writing his own bio.

 

Darcey and Conder coauthored Sams Teach Yourself Android Application Development in 24 Hours.

 


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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 3.9 out of 5 stars  43 reviews
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good choice for programmer learning Android 10 Aug 2012
By Harold McFarland - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
I have done a lot of programming and from my standpoint I found this book to be well organized and all that I needed to get a few programs written, tested, and working correctly. Did the book provide all the information I needed? No, after all it is a book on the Essentials. The foundation, the basics that you need to know before moving forward to more advanced programming.

The book starts with a relatively boring section on the history of wireless but soon enough moves into the Android. You really start getting into the meat of the text with Chapter 2 with installing and using the development environment. Don't miss the tips and tricks for working with the IDE in the appendix.

The areas covered include debugging, optimizing, resources, screen elements, layout and how to make a quality user interface, etc. It even ends with a section on publishing and distributing your application.

I found it easy to follow the logic and reasoning behind each chapter and activity. While the specific syntax used may differ between the book and what needs to be done at times it is hard to name any programming language that has not suffered from the same problem. By the time a book is out the syntax has new switches, the old parameters are obsolete, or do something different, etc. But this is a foundational book. It is about essentials and getting the right foundation so you understand what needs to be done to get the result you want. Then, like every other time is get an updated version of a programming language, I end up going to the Internet to get the latest information.

As a foundational book, which is all it portends to be, I found it to be excellent and after getting down the basics found that I could write programs easy enough after a bit of checking the internet when I got stuck or something was not doing what I expected.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars good book for experienced programmers who are new to Android 5 April 2013
By l2 - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
This is not a book for absolute beginners, but if you have experience programming other types of devices, this book will get you going on Android. Lots of details cover all the main subjects. If you are a complete beginner, you really need to master Java programming first, before opening this book. Note that this book is for Android 4.0, not the latest Android 4.2 or the Android 5.0 which is supposed to come out this summer.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Step-by-step tutorial by illustrated examples & reference 21 Jan 2013
By Eugene Tenenbaum - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
The ISBN 0321813839 (Android Essentials) is a mixture of a clearly systematized reference and a competent tutorial with suitable examples focused on introducing Android from the beginning. It is clear, precise, and sufficient for starting writing and testing programs. The illustrations are not abundant and only in black and white. The quality of some screen snapshots with the black background is poor, and they are barely legible. The printing and the softcover are adequate. The book teaches step-by-step, shares some similarities with the industry standard "Maximizing AutoLISP", and is quite understandable especially for those already familiar with the basics of Java programming not included there.

It might not be the best book for novices. Its content is self-explanatory, can serve as a reference on the subject (with exercises to refresh the skill), and as such belongs in the library of every programmer for Android. Android is a Linux-based operating system for smartphones and tablets.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Must Have for Android Developers 26 Nov 2012
By William G. Ryan - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
There's no shortage of books and online material available if you want to learn Android Development. You could actually get quite far without ever buying a single book. Even with the sea of available (and frequently free) material, there are some things that you really ought to go ahead and invest in if you're going to get serious about Android development and this book is one of them. Why? Well, it's a great book and its specifically about wireless development. Sure, you can construct some scenario or come up with an example of a killer app that doesn't need or make use of Android's wireless functionality but such apps are rare indeed. And chances are that no matter how cool you app is, if it doesn't take advantage of any of the Wifi functionality, you could enhance it by adding some such features.

Overall, the books is 449 pages. There's 19 Primary chapters and 3 chapters in the Appendix. The sequence of material and progression makes it very intuitive and will be useful for both experience and new developers. Like most development books, if you're already well versed in the material you can skip through the first few chapters. Chapter 1 is an Intro to Android. Chapter 2 walks you through setting up your development environment. You won't get anywhere with Android dev if you can't get the environment setup so it's a must have for new developers and will serve as a review for experienced ones. It moves on to Writing your First Application which is a very typical Hello World type (Actually, it's called Snake) and walks you through the typical features you'd want to add. That's where things start to really take off

Chapter 4, titled Mastering the Android Development Tools is a must read. I had already written a good 10 apps by the time I got this book, but I still thought this chapter was really useful in just gluing things together and reinforcing how to work with the dev tools. Chapter 5 moves on to the Anatomy of an Android Application. You have to employ a strategy to structuring your projects but this is always going to be somethings that's both art and science. The main topics are Activities, the App Context, Fragments and Intents. It also covers services and of particular relevance here is Receiving and Broadcasting Intents.

Afterward it moves on to a very thorough discussion of the application manifest file. This isn't a particularly difficult subject to master but it's one that you really need to know well to avoid common pitfalls and problems and although it's under 20 pages, it goes through things making them so clear you'll have all the understanding you'll need to go forward. After the manifest file is discussed, they run through managing application resources. This is largely review material and stuff that once you've come across it, you'll know it - but it's still very helpful to have it consolidated into one chapter.

Once you have all of this learned the natural next subject is going to be UI design and manipulation. Not all applications are UI centric but the vast majority of apps will employ a UI as the primary mechanism of interaction. Nothing remarkable here but it's thorough and that's what matters.

The book then transitions to "Android Application Design Essentials" which is comprised of Using Android Preferences, Working with Files and Directories and Designing Compatible Applications .

The remainder of the book covers basically packing and distributing your application. The first portion is titled The Android Software Development Process which will vary greatly depending on the environment the development is being done in, but it does cover what's needed to 'do it right' and severs as a good checklist of how you should go about development. There are two chapters on Testing (and one Titled Designing and Developing BulletProof Android Applications which is not just very important but spot on in terms of being useful info. From there it's just the Appendix chapters which you may or may not find important depending on how familiar you already are with Android dev).

All in all the books has a great flow, it's easy to read and it touches upon pretty much everything I wanted to see in it. Both the technical editing and the proofing are done well and while I can't say that there aren't any typos or grammatical errors but I I don't remember seeing any. All in all it's a great book
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Helpful, but not complete 19 Nov 2012
By Victor Blake - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
This is a review of the "Third Edition" Be aware that 1st and 2nd edition versions are currently still available for sale. You will want to be sure to purchase this newest (3rd) edition.

I'll start my review by saying that I'm not "app" developer, but I do have significant (systems) software development experience and some mobile applications development experience. Objectives in reading this book were to become more fluent in wireless app development in general and Android in particular.

The book clearly assumes a background in app development. To a lesser degree, but still so, it assumes familiarity with specific development environments. For example screen shots of desktop dev environments are really not legible because of the small size of text, so it appears the authors just assume familiarity.

The good. Examples used in the book are, according to the authors, tested and developed based on very (currently) popular Android devices including "Samsung Nexus S, HTC Evo 4G, Motorola Droid 3, Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1, Motorola Xoom, Motorola Atrix 4G, and Sony Ericsson Xperia Play" (only the latter of which I have no experience with).

There is a good section on identifying which version of Android is running/specifying os version required to run your app.

The 'bad':
Unfortunately as soon as a book like this is published, it is already headed toward being 'out of date' with respect to details like new Android releases. That's to be expected.

Although there is an entire chapter on Preferences, it is largely application based preferences, with some global (phone) preferences. I was really surprised and disappoined that there was nothing substantive about user location, ad, calling data, or other preference use or sharing opt-in/opt-out, etc. This is perhaps the single most disappointing aspect of the book because the chapter title hints at more than just stored file based prefs for a single app or some global phone apps that are not really policy based like the ones I mentioned.

The 'not included':
What I most most disappointed in is that although Android is an OS, the most prevalent use for Android is clearly mobile. That said, there is nothing in the text about mobile app development with carrier (service provider) APIs. Although there are many expamples of Google APIs, those clearly do not have multicast/broadcast, location, and purchasing functionality that the mobile operators have. The most direct reference to these in the text is (p.41-42) a passing mention of "enabling unknown sources"

It's hard to expect what I describe as "not included" in a single book along with everything else, so this isn't really a strong criticisim of the book so much as an expanation to potential buyers of the book about what's in and what's not.

In summary, I found the book informative and helpful, but incomplete. I will look forward to reading the next volume (presumably Volume II because this is labeled Volume 1), but I have not yet seen it for sale.
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