5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on 6 February 2013
A great start place for all those with an interest in the development of android apps or for those that just want to know a little more.
Written in an easy style and assumes know previous knowledge of android or programming!
A must read if you are interested, well put together!
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 12 November 2014
I have an idea for an app and I have been unsuccessful in recruiting any of the techies I know into writing the thing for me.
I guess that's the starting point of most people before they go hunting for a book like this.
This book is billed as being for absolute beginners and, to be fair, it doesn't follow the usual format of "This is a keyboard, this is a mouse" before skipping 500 pages of explanation and diving straight into degree-level programming jargon. That said, if you think that you are going to read this book and then go merrily skipping off to write your app, I can tell you that you are not.
What this book is good for is giving a solid starting point. It will take you from not have a scooby-doo how to start writing an app to having a reasonable understanding of how to set up the Eclipse environment, where to put the various elements of the app within it, and how it's all glued together with Java and XML. It's a first step along the road and will allow you to look for the guidance you need to proceed in an intelligent and directed way.
I suppose that strictly speaking I am not an absolute beginner in that I have dabbled with trying to learn C++ and found it mind-bendingly hard, and I have dabbled in web design a bit, so I have a little bit of an idea about some of the thinking behind the structure of Java and XML and XML didn't come as a total shock as it is quite similar to HTML in a lot of ways, but running through the exercises in this book and trying to understand them as I went along left me with a zombie-like thousand-yard stare after a very short time. The author does his best to explain how the Java is structured and what it is doing, and the same for the XML component but the book is just too much of an overview to really allow you get your head around it. The author does also have the very annoying habit of, from time to time, using phrases like "Of, course you're probably wondering why we used the TimerAlert method instead of ... [blah, blah, blah, some method you've never heard of]" Like I have the first idea what the method is or what its comparative merits are over other methods I have never heard of and wouldn't understand if I had. I think that this is an occupational hazard of reading books by an author who can program like he can speak English. It's very difficult for them to think down to a novice level. Either that or it makes me wonder where Jackson is finding his absolute beginners - MIT I suspect.
That said, if you accept the fact that this book does not contain enough information on how to program in Java to fully understand what is going on and just pluck out what knowledge you can get it will give you enough information to provide a starting point. I found myself Googling an awful lot while reading this and trying to expand on the information provided. A lot of the time this was due to typos in the text. There aren't that many all things considered but they seriously screw up the flow when they are there. Typos in examples of programming are phenomenally frustrating as, even though you follow the instructions to the letter, your code will not work. Normally the typo is an upper case letter where it should be lower case or vice versa, or the author re-named a method at some time, halfway through the code, so it doesn't relate to anything. Finding the damn thing can take up a very significant amount of your study time. Still, if you can work out why the program doesn't do what it says on the tin and fix it then you know that you're taking in the information and progress is being made.
Overall, part of me absolutely hates this book for baffling me and stressing me out and dipping my toe in the water while still leaving me almost entirely clueless about how go on and swim, but part of me loves this book for it's relative readability - it's one of the very few books of its type that I have read from cover to cover - and the fact that the information it gives you is quite core. By that I mean that I keep going back to the book while I'm trying to figure out how to overcome obstacles while writing my app and then adapting the information there (usually with a lot of help from www.stackoverflow.com) to achieve my goal. That's why I have given it four stars. It's a really good beginner's book but it is going to seriously tax your brain and only provides the first step towards writing an app of your own. Don't expect miracles and you'll find this book immensely helpful.