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Learning Android: Develop Mobile Apps Using Java and Eclipse Paperback – 27 Jan 2014

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Product details

  • Paperback: 286 pages
  • Publisher: O'Reilly Media; 2 edition (27 Jan. 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1449319238
  • ISBN-13: 978-1449319236
  • Product Dimensions: 17.8 x 1.7 x 23.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 701,751 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description

Book Description

Develop Mobile Apps using Java and Eclipse

About the Author

Marko is the director of Twitter University, where he manages the training of Twitter Engineers in Android and other open source technologies. Previously he was cofounder of Marakana (acquired by Twitter), a firm that trained thousands of Android developers at Intel, Cisco, Qualcomm, Motorola, the Department of Defense, and other institutions. Marko is also the creator of Android Bootcamp course and cofounder of San Francisco Android Users' Group.

Masumi Nakamura, VP of Engineering at Placester, Inc, has spent over 15years in software doing everything from mobile development, scalinglarge backend systems, to running a Data Science team over at Paypal,inc. He also spends a lot of his time advising and working closely witha variety of startup companies.

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By George on 9 Feb. 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Code not update-to-date online.
The example code in the book flips between the project in the first edition of the book and this one so it's confusing as hell.

Can't believe these sort of books get published without doing a read through to check for inconsistencies.

Really annoying. Especially as I purchased the hard copy and kindle version.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Peter Høgstedt on 3 July 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The author obviously is a very dedicated person. He shows didactical prowess and has e.g. chosen something interesting as his example. In two areas however, I have had some difficulties that I should not have encountered:
Setting up the environment has not been easy. The emulator does not work satisfactorily and I feel that the book ought to contain more precise instructions concerning that.
The Twitter API Library 'Yamba Client Lib' is not easily aquired. I tried, and I might give it another shot using GrantRobertson comment on the matter in . It is imperative that this library be available and that it is working - because the last half of this book depends on that!
It is of no use to theoretically being able to develop amazing apps if the prerequisites for practical deployment are not readily available and so I might prefer a more 'mundane' intrduction to Android programming. I will however admit that my problems should be solvable and that this author 'gets somewhere'. Conclusion: By this book, but buy another one as well.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The book is impressive. As you work through it you will learn a lot more than you would from a "normal" text book. Building the examples makes the android system sink in. HOWEVER, towards the end of the book errors/typos start to creep in. This leads to a very unsatisfactory conclusion. The project comes to a standstill.
The 'anger' at the book's latter part is reduced by the value of the knowledge gained in part-completing the project.
Despite all this, I would buy a 3rd Edition if it came out. (And I'd finish off the project).
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Easy to start understanding Android 's basic concepts and implementation!!
A kind of app tutorial inside, it's fast learning book!
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 19 reviews
13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
It coulda been a contenda! (Do not buy this book unless you enjoy utter frustration.) 8 April 2014
By Grant S. Robertson - Published on
Format: Paperback
This book had the potential to be a really good book. It starts out strong, but by the end, the massive number of errors and just plain lazy writing makes it just plain torture to try to finish.

Chapters 1 and 3-8 are really good. Concepts are explained well, and there are few errors in the sample code. Chapter 2, the Java review, is too cursory and disorganized to give anyone an introduction to Java. The authors and publisher should stop pretending this book is for someone who doesn't already know Java well.

Chapter 9 is where the trouble starts. The authors keep confusing file names between the first "chunk" that was written in previous chapters and the "chunk" that will become the new main "chunk." By diligent reference to the errata online and the code posted on GitHub, it is possible for someone with intermediate Java skills to sort it all out.

As you try to work your way through chapters 10, 11, & 12 the errors, omissions, and almost complete lack of real explanations make it utterly impossible to follow. By the end of Chapter 12 you are supposed to be able to see messages, which have been downloaded from a server, appear on your screen. They completely leave out the code to get them to display! The explanations become cursory and fragmented. The book devolves to the standard model of:

- Generalized statement that functionality X is needed.
- Error filled code sample.
- Notes that barely tell what the end result of an important line of code should be, let alone even mention why that code is needed or how it ties into any other code or how it works within the framework.
- Proud, but false, statement that you should now be able to run the code and you are an expert in feature X.

This is a really serious issue because the authors promise that the reader will have a functioning app, complete with several features that are instrumental to learning the zeitgeist that is Android. If you can't get the code to work, and there is not enough explanation to help you figure out why, then you are completely stuck.

I am left with the impression that these two authors were supposed to be working together but, for some reason, stopped communicating. Then the publisher, rather than simply take back their advances, gathered up the notes and scraps of code that the two had accumulated and shipped it all off to a "content generating sweatshop" somewhere. As a technical writer, I can tell that the language usage changes dramatically. At first, in Chapter 9 it seems as if the topic explanations are written by the original authors but the code descriptions are written by several different people who only barely understand what is going on in the text. By the end of chapter 12, it seems as if even the topic explanations are nothing more than what some hack could spew out in five minutes based on a cursory glance at the author's often contradictory notes. It is equally apparent that said sweatshop had many different people working on this "content" who were also not communicating and sometimes not even looking at the code they were supposed to be explaining.

The app that the book purports to teach you to write is a twitter-like app that posts messages to a server and retrieves messages posted by others using the app. While I could not get the messages to display on the device, I could see them in Eclipse's LogCat window because the code that works does echo them to the log as they are retrieved. Here is an example of how frustrating this book turns out to be: A large number of the messages were complaints about the errors in the book.
16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
Where are the correct resources? 4 Feb. 2014
By Amazon Customer - Published on
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This review refers to the second edition Kindle book. Most all of the links in this book for the example code and other related files are for the first edition of the book. I am spending more time trying to chase down and verify errata (for which none has been contributed by the authors and none has been "officially confirmed") and finding the correct versions of libraries than I am actually using the book. I realize that technical books contain errors and I am used to them, but the release of the book without links to the proper example files or an active author communicating via the errata forums is plain bad business. I can only give this book one star until its online support catches up to what is expected of a good book on coding.

2/10/2014 - Update to original review: As I get further into this book the errors keep getting worse. There are errors in this book that should NEVER have made it past the editing process. Misnamed files, totally different copies of code, and ambiguous language that makes it very hard to follow along. If you know something about programming and are willing to take more than the normal "extra" allotted time to deal with the errata, then you will still find this book useful. But as a primer, this book fails miserably. Go with the 1st edition. While not as up to date, at least the proper files and errata exist.
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
Not for beginners, target audience is experienced Java/OO programmers 19 Mar. 2014
By TooManyHobbies - Published on
Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
The back cover of this book states – “…this introduction shows EXPERIENCED object-oriented programmers how to use Android’s basic building blocks…” Take that statement to heart. This is not a hand-holding, step-by-step, beginner’s type of tutorial. To get the most out of the book you need to already know both Java and XML.

The book starts out in a general fashion. The first 6 chapters give an informative introduction to Android including its history and structure. You learn how the Android system layers are organized, you learn about the Stack, the Dalvik Virtual Machine, the Android Application Package (APK), and the Manifest File. You get a very brief introduction to the Android User Interface (just buttons and text fields), and you learn a bit about predefined Layouts (Java Containers) and Views ( Java Widgets). The programming assignment (A Twitter-like app) start in Chapter 7, and contains some hard-core OO coding. To add to the level of difficulty, the code is incomplete and contains several errors. If you are experienced in Java the typos are easy to find and correct, but if not, the code snippets are an exercise in frustration.

So if you are an experienced Java programmer and want to learn more about Android, this is the perfect book. But if you are anything less than a Java whiz you might want to start with something more basic.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Learning Android by Gargenta/Nakamura (O'Reilly) 28 Mar. 2014
By bibliomanic - Published on
Format: Paperback
Let me begin by pointing out that if you're looking for a good book to learn how to start programming on the Android platform, this would be the one I recommend. Mostly because I'm a professional programmer but I don't have the first clue how to program on a mobile device. The reason I chose this book to use (outside of the fact it was free for a review) was because I learned Android was programmed using Java, and I've programmed quite a bit with Java before so I figured it wouldn't be a huge step to learning new skills I could eventually use in the day job. Which brings me to point out this book is NOT for someone who has never programmed or is a programming novice. I'd say you should have at least a year programming real applications with an language like Java or C# before you attempt to use this book.

One positive aspect of this book was the authors broke topics into manageable chunks. They begin by presenting an overview of the Android platform and history, and then spend about 20 pages reviewing the basics of the Java language. If you're looking for a comprehensive coverage of Java, this would not be the book to start with unless you've been programming with Java or another object-oriented language for awhile. Finally, the authors discuss the entire stack of the Android platform, which provides a good visual for you to consider as you learn.

The rest of the book then tackles the topics of how to use the tools for testing and debugging Android applications. Thankfully, the authors don't leave us with what I like to call the "here's how you install it and good luck" chapter. Installation and configuration covers the JDK and Android SDK, and basics on how to launch and use the Android Emulator. So for those coming from another language who have never installed or configured Java programming tools, you won't be left hanging. The book then breaks out the rest of the chapters into the various tasks of programming android through a project that builds a Twitter-like, micro-blogging app.

If there was a downside to point out I think it would be the sparse code samples. Unlike a lot of O'Reilly's other books in the Learning Series, this one comes in a bit light on the page count. Make no mistake, there are code samples (although some of them caused glaring errors but O'Reilly made good and just recently fixed those with an updated release). Overall I wouldn't call this one extraordinary, but insofar as a place to start in learning to program mobile apps on the Android platform, it gets the job done.

In the interest of full disclosure I received a copy of this in e-book free in return for a review. My opinions of this text are my own and based upon my views and experiences as a professional developer.
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
Excellent starting book for beginners, send it back for proofreading 5 Feb. 2014
By P. Miller - Published on
Format: Paperback
A great book for anyone completely new to Java and Android development; it avoids the pitfalls of most programming books that present information in obscure order, detailing items which don't make sense until you have gotten much further into the book, thus requiring multiple reads. Each new topic is a logical succession to the previous topics.

However, whoever proofread this book should be fired. It is chock full of confusing edit errors like incorrect names and incomplete code which require the reader to decipher the intent.
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