Thursday, June 21, 2012

Android Cookbook - Book Review

This book talks about the new mobile OS Android. This OS (even if Framework is more appropriate) is widespreading through mobile and embedded devices. As the title suggest, this book use a Cookbook style for explain the concepts. Each problem is treated as a Recipe and is composed by 3 parts:

  • Problem: few rows to describe the problem that needs to be solved. 
  • Solution: few rows that explains briefly what must be done for solve the problem. After reading the book, this is kind of a bookmark for future research in the book and allows the reader to remember how to solve a problem simply reading few lines. 
  • Discussion: Here is described the solution in all of its aspect. The code is widely described and everything is covered to let the reader understand the solution.

Because this book covers a lot of problems with their relative solution, I prefered to copy the description of the chapters as appears in the preface of the book instead of described them myself.
What’s in This Book?
  • Chapter 1, Getting Started, takes you through the steps of setting up the Android development environment and building several simple applications of the well-known Hello, World” type pioneered by Brian Kernighan.
  • Chapter 2, Designing a Successful Application, covers some of the differences in mobile computing that will hit developers coming from desktop and enterprise software environments, and talks about how mobile design (in particular, Android design) differs from those other environments.
  • Chapter 3, Testing. Not so that you’ll skip it, but so that you’ll read and heed. We talk about unit testing individual components as well as testing out your entire application in a well-controlled way. Android provides a variety of mechanisms for communicating within an application and across applications.

  • In Chapter 4, Inter-/Intra-Process Communication we discuss intents and broadcast receivers, services, AsyncTasks, and handlers. Another communication mechanism is about allowing controlled access to data that is usually in an SQL database. 
  • In Chapter 5, Content Providers, we show you how to make an application that can be used by other applications through something as simple but ubiquitous (in Android) as the URL.
  •  Chapter 6, Graphics, covers a range of topics related to graphics, including use of the graphical drawing and compositing facilities in Android as well as using desktop tools to develop graphical images, textures, icons, and so on that will be incorporated into your finished application.
  • Chapter 7, Graphical User Interface, covers the main ins and outs of GUI development for Android. Examples are given both in XML and, in a few cases, in Java-coded GUI development.
  • Chapter 8, GUI Alerts: Menus, Dialogs, Toasts, and Notifications, covers all the pop-up mechanisms—menus, dialogs, and toasts—and one that doesn’t pop up but is also for interaction outside your application’s window, Android’s notification mechanism.
  • Chapter 9, GUI: ListView, focuses on one of the most important GUI components in Android, the ListView. Android is rich in multimedia capabilities.

  • Chapter 10, Multimedia, shows how to use the most important of these.
  • Chapter 11, Data Persistence, shows how to save data into files, databases, and so on. And how to retrieve it later, of course. Android started out as an operating system for mobile telephones.

  • Chapter 12, Telephone Applications, shows how to control and react to the telephone device that is in most mobile devices nowadays.Mobile devices are, for the most part, always-on and always-connected. This has a major impact on how people use them and think about them.
  • Chapter 13, Networked Applications, shows the coding for traditional networked applications.

  • Chapter 14, Gaming and Animation.

  • Chapter 15, Social Networking.

  • Chapter 16, Location and Map Applications, discusses how to find your location, how to get map data from Google and OpenStreetMap, and how applications can be location-aware in ways that are just now being explored.

  • Chapter 17, Accelerometer, talks about the sensors built into most Android devices and allow to use them. 
  • Chapter 18, Bluetooth, talks about the low-energy very-local area networking that Bluetooth enables, going beyond connecting your Bluetooth headset to your phone.

  • Chapter 19, System and Device Control. Since Android is Linux-based, a few of the recipes in this chapter deal with traditional Unix/Linux commands and facilities. 
  • In Chapter 20, Other Programming Languages and Frameworks, we explore the use of other programming languages to write all or part of your Android application. Examplesinclude C, Perl, Python, Lisp, and other languages.
  • Chapter 21, Strings and Internationalization, goes over the
    issues of language and culture and how they relate to Android.

  • Chapter 22, Packaging, Deploying, and Distributing/
    Selling Your App, shows how to prepare your application for distribution via
    the Android Market, and to use that as well as other markets to get your application
    out to the people who will use it.

I've never read an Android book before this one and I was a little bit suspicious about how this book would be comprehensible compared to other books more focused on the whole framework instead of single problems. I remained surprise of how this book is clear even for new comers in the Android world, each problem is discussed perfectly and the discussion part of each problem covers also the paradigms of the Android framework. Has to be noticed that a strong Java background is needed, together with a basic knowledge of the Eclipse IDE. I suggest this book for both new Android developers and expert ones, the former can find in this book an explanation about the Android framework, how to use the framework with real problems and a lot of examples that can be reused for create the application they imagine. The latter can  improve their knowledge about topics not treated in their current developments and improve with new functionality their apps.

No comments:

Post a Comment