October 21, 2014

Book Review: Professional Android Application Development

It’s books like these that make me consider writing my own app for Android.  Since I have zero software development under my belt, I used to think I wouldn’t know where to go if I wanted to start.  That was until I got my hands on Reto Meier’s book, Professional Android Application Development.

The book reads very well and is written in a clear, easy-to-understand tone.  Designed for people like me, the book aims to save potential developers time and effort in creating their Android applications.  Although a lot of the stuff found in here can also be gathered online in message boards and forums, it’s very practical to have in one place. I can imagined seasoned developers would enjoy this book as well, as it has tons of code samples to use for guidance.

The book takes you through a journey of developing by use of a mock Earthquake application.  Throughout the book, various enhancements are made to the app using each chapter’s topics.  It reminds me of how you might follow a painting show on television.  By the time one is through the book, they should be able to put together a rather detailed app with quite a bit of features.  Although your finished product may differ from the artist’s, you still walk away with someone unique and creative.

With the whole book being packed full of explanations, background info, and examples, it’s hard to say what is truly the most helpful.  I guess it depends on where you are as a developer.  For someone starting out at the beginning, you might want to have the book in front of you at all times.  If you’ve got some experience in Java programming, maybe you just want to keep the book close by in the event you need a refresher.

Meier does a fantastic job of providing the tools needed to help create compelling Android apps.  With this platform being completely different from other smart operating systems, the book gives you more than enough in the way of maps and geo-location capabilities as well as other things like background processes and peer-to-peer communication.

Professional Android Application Development comes in with slightly under 400 pages of value.  I’d recommend this to both the person looking to start out from scratch with Android as well as the more experienced Android developer.  Reto’s book makes a great companion piece no matter where your skill set lies.  Should I ever get an itch to write for Android down the road, this will be one of the first tools I gather up.