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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Possibly not the book you were hoping for, 15 Oct 2013
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This review is from: Professional Android 4 Application Development (Kindle Edition)
Firstly there are a number of chapters and sections that are completely deprecated (as of October 2013):
1. The entire chapter on Mapping is no use because the book is based on Maps v1. This is replaced completely by Maps v2, which is an entirely different library
2. The advanced section on C2DM is now deprecated and replaced entirely by a new library called Google Cloud Messaging
3. Throughout the book a single app is written that uses and displays earthquake data. Unfortunately the code won't work for you anymore because the earthquake data feed they use is deprecated and no longer exists. There are workaround, if you can figure it out. In reality, this feed should be scrapped along with the custom XML code (and the side tracking to try and teach you XML pull parsers) written and replaced by JSON, which is more at home with Android having a JSON library at your disposal.

Throughout the book there are examples and small programs, which are fine, however Reto seems to not understand that people read from start to finish, and indeed have to in order to progress with their knowledge. The problem here is concepts, code and api calls are made in examples that are both not explained and are not actually covered until much later in the book.

The earthquake app is a useful app that traverses the book, and is easily updated and followed.. until you reach the database section where all of a sudden you are pounced upon without mercy with the introduction of not only databases, but content providers and the google search widget. All of which ends up making you stop completely the earthquake app and instead reach for the internet for better examples.

Later on in the book more advanced topics, e.g. wifi, nfc, etc, simply fail to materialise any form of full application and instead rely on vague commentary and snippets of non-useful code. Similarly while the Maps chapter is out of date, the means of using maps (getting a Google api key, creating a map api key, etc) is not straightforward or obvious yet Reto fails to mention any of this properly instead relying on 'visit this website'. Lazy is all that comes to mind. All it takes is a page of instructions and you'd be up and running with Maps instead of a wasted afternoon.

Regarding the obligatory 'who is this book for' it casts a wide net stating knowledge of 'basic object oriented development practices' and 'help if you have used smartphones'. Sadly this is a fairy tale and this book requires that you have a very good understanding of java and a detailed knowledge of development and object oriented development. Anything else and simply do not bother with this book.

The opening chapters, for example, take no prisoners. Instead of teaching you how to create an activity and use the layout designer as you do with 98% of all screens Reto decides to take you through the internals of the system and create an app not only in code but overrides the Activity's base class which you hardly ever need.

Saying all this, this is a good book, it just needs a better editing team and a re-organisation of the contents to flow properly and move the least used/most advanced topics closer to the back to pick up when you are more ready and able.

On the whole, buy this book if you are a proficient Java programmer, want an in-depth/insider knowledge of Android development and want a book to come back to. If not, buy a proper beginners book, read the internet and/or learn java.
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