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Fast and furious into Android,
This review is from: Hello, Android: Introducing Google's Mobile Development Platform (Pragmatic Programmers) (Paperback)
It'd been a while since I needed an introduction to Android. I remember I skimmed over a few articles and blog entries, but thought a book would provide me an organized learning approach. When I inquired about a Android book for novices on my blog, a reader pointed out "Hello, Android" (3rd edition) by Ed Burnette from the Pragmatic Programmers. I asked for a review copy of the book and got it.
I was reading Version: P7.0 (July 2011) using Amazon Kindle for Android on Samsung Galaxy S2. It was my first book read this way and either the smartphone, Amazon Kindle, the quality of the mobile version of the book, its content or all of them together made it a very pleasant experience. I was surprised to find that reading an ebook might be such a fruitful activity (no pun intended). Thanks the Pragmatic Programmers for having encouraged me to try it out.
The author strove for high accuracy and simplicity to teach readers developing Android applications with ease. He spared no effort to turn your learning endeavor into an easy and engaging one. It didn't take long before I immersed myself in reading the book.
The book lays the solid foundations of effective Android learning. It provides material that exceeds a mere introduction to the platform and I believe it touches every major feature of Android, up to the version 2.2. 300 pages, 5 parts and many chapters with a summary in Fast-Forward sections were all I really needed as a starter. With no doubt I can suggest it to anyone to learn the platform. The writing style is simply unbeatable - I hardly resisted longer reading, but alas it's not uncommon to run into "these are beyond the scope of this book, but if you need them for your program, consult the online documentation." When I first ran into it, I was quite surprised, even angry, but the more I hit it, the easier it was to explain its reasons - the book would otherwise have been very long and lost its beauty being slim and easy to read in one go. The book encourages using other resources instead like the book's web forum or the Android official documentation. It worked fine for me.
The book aims at sharing a bit more than it's really necessary to learn Android. I always enjoy learning a little more as a bonus. There are notes like "Thank you, John Carmack" about OpenGL's history or Sudoku Trivia, which some may argue against in a book about Android. They may distract quite easily, but I found it very mind-refreshing as a kind of a break from continuously reading about Android itself. I believe it was more helpful than damaging.
I seem to have missed a little explanation here and there, like in "in the current versions of ADT, the visual layout editor isn't that useful" (page 48), but in no way could it diminish its final note - you must read the book if you need to grasp the concepts of Android development easily and without wasting time. I doubt if there's a book that does it better (however I wish to be told I'm wrong). Such a snappy book for seamlessly getting along with Android like "Hello, Android (3rd edition)" is no simple task to beat out.
If I had to point out the book's shortcomings, it would certainly be its paying attention to explaining how the throws keyword and RuntimeException work in Java (page 186). I'd call it a slight hiccup, though. It was simply odd to stumble upon it in a book about Android where Java is supposed to be learnt already.
There are quite a few complete Android applications to accompany your learning with this book. Developing them follows well-thought-out path from a simple activity and view into more complex ones. Once you're into it, which doesn't take long, the book inevitably ends. I wish it had been longer or there were its second, more advanced version.