In opening this book review, I must first humbly admit that I am no mobile development guru. While I am a student of the programming arts, mobile development is a recent beast that I have just now been forced to grapple with on more than a hobbyist basis. That said, Hello, Android: Introducing Google’s Mobile Development Platform (Pragmatic Programmers) by Ed Burnette is a fantastic book for beginning Android development; it is a practical, no-nonsense guide that can be powered through in a few days to have a great base for Android development.
First off, the book assumes knowledge of Java, which is excellent. Too often, these types of books assume that the reader is new to Android as well as new to Java, which often isn’t the case. This book does away with any learning Java sections, instead giving concrete examples that show the reader precisely how to use their current knowledge of Java to write Android apps. While this may frustrate some first-time programmers who want to get their toes wet with Android, this exclusive focus on practical Android development may prove to be a welcome treasure for Java programmers, like myself, who simply need to get up to speed on applying Java to Android quickly.
This book also covers a wide range of practical knowledge for developing Android applications. Whether it’s accessing SQLite, GPS, or OpenGL, the book does not delve into any concepts or theory. Rather, it is very targeted at giving the reader a focused, practical knowledge of how to develop an app to fit their needs; any theory or other non-practical knowledge is only introduced if it must be known. In fact, considering how fast all these practical exercises are thrown at you, it is a credit to the writer, Ed Burnette, that this amount of knowledge doesn’t feel overwhelming. In reality, I found this quite refreshing, and this sort of writing means that most experienced programmers can get through Hello, Android in a few days and have a solid knowledge about Android development under their belts.
As far as downsides go, there isn’t much that’s not solid about Hello, Android. The book is well-written and concise, accomplishing exactly what it set out to do: give programmers a quick, broad understanding of practical development for the Android OS. The scope of the book is made quite clear from the start, and to that end it fulfills its promises. In fact, my only gripe about this book is that it does not include a section on how to get your apps published to the Android Market. I felt that app publishing is an integral part of the Android development cycle, and I certainly think it could have been included in the final draft of this book.
The final analysis, then, is this: Ed Burnette, in writing Hello, Android, has filled the niche for us experienced programmers quite well. He provides a no-nonsense, engaging read that is full of examples and practical guidelines for jumping into effective Android development. While this book is not for beginner programmers with no prior Java experience, I would absolutely recommend this book to anyone already experienced in Java who would like to get into the Android development side of things.Our Rating: