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The Android Developer's Cookbook: Building Applications with the Android SDK (Developer's Library)

Book Review Team
Bartender

Joined: Feb 15, 2002
Posts: 946
Author/s    : James Steele, Nelson To
Publisher   : Addison-Wesley Professional
Category   : Other
Review by : Peter Johnson
Rating        : 7 horseshoes

This book provides a number of "recipes" that illustrate various concepts of the Android OS and its application framework. The book does not claim to be an introductory text, and while it does explain some concepts the explanation is usually very brief.

You can get the source code for the recipes in the book from the publisher's web site. You will need the source code.

I read the book from cover to cover trying out most of the recipes.

Positives:
* The book includes a large variety of recipes on a variety of topics.
* Each recipe stands on its own (there are a few recipes that identify changes to the prior recipe).

Negatives:
* Not all of the recipes are included in the source code.
* Many of the recipes are incomplete (usually failing to mention additional items to place in the manifest file).
* Some recipes contained only code changes to the prior recipe but not in context. Without the context it was difficult to tell where to place the new code. In many cases I could not get the app to run. And the source was not in the code examples.
* Too many of the recipes are simple "hello" style apps. As an example, the "fling" app merely displays a message indicating the fling direction. A better example would have been to actually scroll something (image, text, whatever) based on the fling. (On the other hand, the dual-touch example showed how to zoom an image in and out.)

Bottom line:
If you are looking for an additional Android book and this book covers concepts in which you are interested, it might be worthwhile. I did learn a few things and will refer to the book in the future.

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Disclosure: I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for writing this review on behalf of CodeRanch.

More info at Amazon.com
Book Review Team
Bartender

Joined: Feb 15, 2002
Posts: 946
Review by : Christophe Verré
Rating        : 7 horseshoes

The Android Developer's Cookbook is a recipe-styled book, where each recipe shows how to use a particular feature of the Android SDK. Each recipe is more or less independent of the others. It's not a classical beginners book, but I think it can still be used to start learning about Android development. It starts with an overview of the Android platform, then presents various recipes in a logical order. First, the most basic recipes : activities, intents, threads, services, alerts, widgets and other ui, events like key presses and Touch events. Then recipes explaining how to use specific functionalities : multimedia, hardware (sensors), networking, data storage, location services like Google Maps, and many more advances recipes. Finally, recipes on debugging.

The authors are using Eclipse and its Android plugin to create sample applications. The book is very easy to follow. There are a lot of code snippets, and some pictures to illustrate their execution. Anybody with some basic UI understanding (e.g. Swing experience) should easily read through the content. It's the kind of book you'd keep on your desk for further reference. It's not a complete reference book though. Explanations and samples are short, so you may still have to look for more detailed information in the online documentation. It's a nice cookbook. Not complete, but well worth reading.

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Disclosure: I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for writing this review on behalf of CodeRanch.

More info at Amazon.com
Book Review Team
Bartender

Joined: Feb 15, 2002
Posts: 946
Review by : Amit Ghorpade
Rating        : 7 horseshoes

The cookbook name suggests that this book is about cooking recipes for the Android platform. It does start from scratch assuming a novice reader. The approach followed is introducing a concept followed by a recipe on the same. Much like illustrations per concept introduced. Since its a handbook type of book, you won't get much of explanation per topic, you need to explore more on your own.
There is an advantage to Eclipse users that the code samples are explained using Eclipse.
I think the book essentially lacked two things, one no notes/hints like possible errors, recommended use of functions, what might go wrong, etc. Either you find it mixed somewhere in the recipe or you don't find it at all. The second thing is no "try your own" recipes/exercises for practice.
At some places you won't find the actual code but just the steps, although this helps in understanding the example but I feel that actual code gives a better understanding at times.
The book provides recipes for almost all Android features like bluetooth, location based services, network, security, etc. Put together it's a good book for quick reference and even for beginners.


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Disclosure: I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for writing this review on behalf of CodeRanch.

More info at Amazon.com
 
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