By Pieter Greyling, Lucas Jordan
Published February 2011 List Price:$39.99, Your Amazon.com Price: $39.75
Amazon.com Sales Rank:1,489,048 Availability: Usually ships in 24 hours
Take a practical approach to becoming a leading-edge Android developer, learning by example while combining the many technologies needed to create a successful, up-to-date web app.
Practical Android Projects introduces the Android SDK and development tools of the trade, and then dives into building cool-looking and fun apps that put Android's amazing capabilities to work. Android is the powerful, full-featured, open source mobile platform that powers phones like Google Nexus, Motorola Droid, Samsung Galaxy S, and a variety of HTC phones and tablet computers.
GDNet Staff Review:
Apress seems intent on becoming the go-to publisher for Android development. Between game and non-game development books, the company seems to have more shelf-feet devoted to Android development than anyone. Practical Android Projects is a code-centric book about how to build an Android application about a dozen different ways.
And if I saw this book ten years ago, I probably would have been shocked at the state of handheld development. The only C code in the whole book is a little glue-code to launch Android's SL4A scripting layer. Everything else is Java, Lua, Python, ActionScript, or even Basic. In fact, much of Practical Android Projects seems devoted to working with embedded scripting languages. And this is certainly understandable. If you have a system that's capable of running a dynamic scripted language with reasonable speed, and you have a project that doesn't require a low level language's performance or system hooks, then why not?
Practical Android Projects is all over the place. After all, if you plan to cover Java development, then how to embed a half-dozen scripting languages, then how to talk to Google App Engine on the server, then a few pages on Flash and the AIR runtime, then the final quarter on how to develop a game using Google App Inventor (Google's fairly cool "jigsaw puzzle" IDE that can target Android), then you will necessarily not be covering any single subject to much depth. That being said, the only chapter that seemed unnecessary was the chapter on talking to Google App Engine with Android. While GAE is a popular server technology, there's little about it that ties back specifically to Android. Seems like a more generic "How to talk to a server with Android" would be more useful, as there are plenty of server technologies that work just fine with Android.
Practical Android Projects is probably a book to look at if you are an experienced programmer developing an Android app, but you are at a loss as to how to go about it. This book covers about a dozen different ways to make it happen. If you read this thing cover-to-cover, you would probably come away with a better idea of the technology necessary to put your project on a device. Although as I mentioned early on, the book spends very little time on C and, consequently, OpenGL. While you'd never be able to cover that in much depth, I think that just for completeness' sake and for comparison, it deserves some space.