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on 14 February 2011
This is a good if flawed book. If you are new to programming you will have a hard time getting through this book without any additional help. An experienced programmer will find it a comprehensive introduction, but have the occasional frustrating time with the example code.
Being called a "Dummies" book suggests it'll take you from the ground up, in regards to Android this is true, in regards to Application Development a certain level of knowledge is assumed and there is no mention on the book's cover of the need to know Java and XML, those requirements are mentioned in fifth paragraph of the intro. Therefore total beginners will need to wade through a Java and XML book before tackling this one. Yet the text is a contradiction at points, it assumes you know Java but holds your hand in showing you how to get hold of the Java SDK, surely a Java programmer would know about the SDK already. It's a "Dummies" book yet none of the Android SDK helper screens are discussed or used, all the XML is hand typed (or copied over from the downloaded source code). It is a similar issue with the programming environment. The Eclipse IDE is powerful and flexible, but first time Eclipse users, like me, will feel lost until you get used to it. An Appendix giving a quick overview of Eclipse would have helped greatly.
Whilst the book blurb does not mention the need for previous programming experience it does mention on the rear "cool ways to use the accelerometer in your app", but there is no code in the book to do that, merely a link to an open source program.
It's not until page 76 that the ubiquitous "hello, world" program is running. So that's 76 pages before you are running anything. Having said that the programs that follow do give you a good grounding in the aspects of Android that are needed to develop a full featured App and publish it to the Marketplace. The main example application that is developed in the book does get bogged down occasionally with pages of code to type out (or copy across) but not much to show for it. If like me you type code in from the book to aid learning you need to be careful as it is easy to miss something and sit scratching your head trying to comprehend the error messages in Eclipse. Although going back over the text and code eventually finds the issue, though beginners could slip up when following the text as some things are assumed based on previous chapters, e.g. adding the import statement for external classes.
There are a handful of errors in the book, some not the responsibility of the author because although this is a new book the Android SDK has already been revised and as a result some of the screen shots in the book are out of date. However, the author has an active blog and publishes updates to his book there.
In summary a good book if you're prepared to put in the work but room for improvement if they produce a future second edition. If you know what a callback is and how to define one within the parameters of a call to another function you'll do fine with this book, if you don't know then you may be better looking at the Android AppInventor site to learn how to program you cell phone.
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on 23 February 2012
I had gone through some basics of Java and eclipse and the next logical step for me to put my skills to use was getting to know Android. Being a fan and regular reader of For Dummies series, I opted to start my Android journey from here.

After reading the introduction, I realized that apart from Java and Eclipse knowledge, you also need some basic XML and JUnit knowledge. I had to do a crash course in XML and took the risk of diving into this book, without knowing anything about JUnit.

Author starts off with preparing the development HQ by guiding us to download the Java SDK, Eclipse and Android SDK. Suddenly he shocks readers with foolish assumptions (topic) that you should have some Java background. In that case I'am not sure why a detailed section on downloading and installing the Java SDK is given.

While trying example in listing 7-3, I had errors in my eclipse as the R.java file was not updated with phone_state_silent. I tried updating the R.java file directly in eclipse from the source code given by the author in his website, but the R.java file just kept getting refreshed. So I had to solve the problem by directly passing the integer values in listing 7-3.

I had a few more errors while coding the first few pages, but this was entirely due to my carelessness and luckily eclipse helped me to fix it.

While trying to workout Part 3, I noticed that the author had forgotten to give the correct Import statements. I got the correct ones from the source code downloaded from author's website. From chapter 9 onwards I started getting a fair idea of Android (you know this book is for dummies :-) and the UI design aspects.

The missing import statements continues in the rest of the chapters and I had to refer to the source code downloads. From the SQLite DB chapter (12) onwards, nothing explained by the author is working. The explanation is also not very clear. The author has given screen shots which are supposed to be displayed, but when I ran the program, the Emulator was still showing the basic screens. I checked and rechecked the code, but same basic output for me. I even copied and pasted the code downloaded from author's website, but still nothing was working. Actually eclipse was showing error in the code and I had to comment the override in many places for eclipse to accept the code.

The later sections become too code intensive with very little explanation. The author seems to have forgotten that he is writing for dummies. The good thing is Author has explained various options which could be used to improve the user experience. However no coding or web reference samples for these options have been given.

I might have to revise this book a second or third time to fully understand the functioning of Android. The first reading just gave me a basic idea. I plan to go through a few more Android beginners books which have a good rating in Amazon (May be the Wrox one next).

A mandatory pre requisite before you buy this book, is to do a crash course in Java using eclipse (do a detailed course if possible).
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on 5 February 2011
This has to be one of the best 'How-to' books I have ever read! I downloaded it to my Kindle and within an hour of first finding this book on Amazon, I had an Android application up and running!

Ok, I do have an extensive background in software engineering and my PC runs Linux, which is obviously an advantage when developing for what is essentially a Linux platform. But neither is a prerequisite. In fact the author is using Windows 7 for all of the examples.

The fact is I really had no knowlage at all about how to go about writing an application for Android until I read this book.

What I really like is the fact that it is written in plain (American) English. Other than an assumption of some Java knowledge, everything is explained in just the right level of detail. Nothing more is assumed and all the important points are covered. The author also injects just the right amount of humour without being patronising.

I have no doubt that this book will get you up and running as an Android developer. It will work just as well for Windows and Mac users as it did for me. I have not read any other books on the subject, so I can't, in all honestly, say that it is the best book out there. But what I can say, is that if you get this book, you will not go far wrong and probably won't need to buy anything more on the subject.

If I had one minor criticism, it would be that the first few pages waffle on about the virtues of Android a little more than I would have liked. I did wonder if the author was being sponsored by Google ;-). But it soon settles down and before you know it, you have your first app up and running.

Worth every star and every penny.
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on 27 June 2011
I think there are enough reviews on the actual content of this book (so far, after a couple of sessions with it it seems up to the mark) but the Kindle edition needs a little more comment.

The text content, I'm sure, must be exactly the same as the paperback, but in the Kindle edition every change of typeface, through the cycle: variable pitch, to fixed pitch, and back to variable pitch, forces a line break. So, text like "Expand the gen folder", where "gen" is fixed pitch because of the typographical conventions in the book, the word "folder" appears on the next line. Actually, I'm not convinced that it's even that predictable. For instance, "The gen folder contains Java files generated by ADT. The ADT creates an R.java file" breaks after "gen" and after "R.java", which isn't how the text should flow. Landscape or portrait, Kindle proper or Kindle app on the PC, it makes no difference to this awkward flow.

This volume would have half the Kindle "locations" if the text flowed properly.

Update: I gave this four stars initially because the author's work is fine, and the problem was the Kindle edition and not what the author was saying, but now I've moved further on in the volume I've decided to drop to three stars. When you get to the program listings (which you would see immediately if you "flicked" through the paperback version) they are unreadable on the Kindle device! I view reference material in landscape as this usually helps with such things, particularly PDFs, but there is no way to view these listings properly - they're all over the place. :-( You can download the source code, but that's really only useful when you can't make something work properly (or need the .png files, etc) - it's not the initial teaching aid. On the PC app you can resize the page width to accomodate the listings, but that's not necessarily always the most convenient way of using the content.

3 out of 5 because the author's done a good job here, but the format lets it down.
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on 12 May 2011
My aim in buying this book was to learn Android techniques by finding examples to try out. This book contains two examples. The first one implements an app which switches the phone to silent mode and back again. Some useful techniques but not a very useful app. The second example is much better. It is a "To Do List". It illustrates text input/edit together with date/time display/edit.
It also uses SQLite data storage. The general technique is to leave some of the handling of 'import' statements to the user, which is generally a good thing. Some 'import' statements are created by the 'eclipse' development tool, which occasionally gets them wrong. One problem I had was with the statement:
date = format.parse(dateTime);
This was reported as an error: Unhandled exception type ParseException
I eventually traced this down to an 'import' statement generated by eclipse (Helios):
"import org.apache.http.ParseException;"
This should have been:
"import java.text.ParseException;".
The same problem occurs in another class file.
Generally a very good book, with source code available from the web, but no place to discuss or report problems as with some other similar books.
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on 14 April 2011
An excellent book to get started on programming for Android platform 2.2. The examples in the book give you a good base of knowledge to work from in creating your own apps ranging from SQLite Databases, Widgets, working with Views (though only listView in this) Managers, Intents and so on. More importantly it teaches you how to think like a programmer by being resourceful and solving problems. The problems however are that you need to know when to import certain classes and understand how to program by interface without knowing the underlying code. You should read a good Java book beforehand if you don't have any programming experience.
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on 19 April 2011
Before reading this I must note that I understood a lot about computer, however absolutely nothing about building software. This book has so far been great and would recommend to anyone on the entry level of software programing. More advanced programmers may want to source out something more fast paced as this one truly does take you "one simple step at a time". Nothing too drastic or advance.
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on 5 January 2011
I was waiting for this book since 13th Nov 2010 ! I was really impressed by sample codes and the explanation about the book before I purchased.

The book deliver key, deep concept of Android framework in a dummy mode(Yes , it is really a book for dummies!). If this is your first reading on Android , you are lucky! Because you will digest the core concept without even knowing so.

The foundation that make through this book will make your life more comfortable in your Android development life.

I would give more than 5 stars if there was a way to do so! An awesome reading .Thank you
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on 22 April 2011
I started my career in application development, but it is amazing how soon you left application development things move on. I was looking for a book that could get me back in touch with the basic concepts of Android development, and I can categorically say that this is the book.

The 2 application demonstrations, the phone silencer and task reminder application in this book helped me to put all things into perspective, and I can now go on from here to more in-depth material. Anyone one with an understanding of programming can read this book, understand it and begin to build applications that are simply amazing!

If I am an author introducing technical material to beginners, this is how I would like to write. There are many other books on Android out there and I own another 2 of them which are okay, but this the best when describing how best to build applications in Android.

Finally, I believe this book will help me to communicate technical issues in Android in a simple to understand manner. I look forward to Donn's update version on Android 3.0.

Conclusion
Beginning in Android, start with this book, you will not be disappointed. I love the writer's style and how he communicates the material.
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on 27 July 2011
If you arw new to programming this book can help you at the beginning of your long jorney. What is driving me crazy is text formatting on my Kindle. When it comes to Java code there are simply missing letters. You can't type a code without some letters as it will not work.
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