|All About Android Books|
|Written by Sue Gee|
|Thursday, 11 September 2014|
Page 4 of 4
For Beginners - App Inventor
If you are a beginner to programming Android isn't an easy platform to get started with. However there is an alternative - App Inventor. In the lead in to his review of App Inventor: Create Your Own Android Apps, Harry Fairhead claims:
Android App Inventor could be the best thing to happen to programming since Basic.
The book itself is awarded a top rating of 5.
App Inventor is an easy drag-and-drop way of creating Android applications. Created by a team led by Hal Ableson who is one of the book's authors, it is based on the Scratch visual approach to programming but while it is easy enough for kids to use it goes well beyond trivial apps.
The book proclaims on its cover "No programming experience required" and start with the construction of a simple app that makes a picture of a cat meow and purr. The same app is featured in App Inventor's online documentation and video, but here the description is more detailed and structured and the app is extended to include a purr with the help of the vibrator, At the end of the project you have a simple shareable app that meows when you shake the phone - highly motivating for new programmers.
Harry comments about the book's structure:
Part I of the book starts after Chapter 1 and consists of 12 projects. Part II of the book is a more traditional explanation of how App Inventor works and I can't make up my mind if it would have been better to have them the other way round. The advantage of having the projects first is that you get the excitement and the reward. But without knowing the details it can be harder to see where you are going in a project. Of course you can always read them in the other order so no problem.
Overall this book is excellent, but you need to keep in mind that the App Inventor is easy to use and if you know anything at all about programming then I would suggest you try it out first. If you find you get stuck or lack ideas for things you could use it for then don't hesitate to buy a copy of this book - it is very good.
A new version of the book, App Inventor 2, covering the latest version of the software is due to be published in November, 2014 - so look out for I Programmer's coverage of it.
Building Android Apps in Easy Steps is also about App Inventor. Like the other titles in the "East Steps" series it is a slim book that makes use of bright colors, short chapters, and step-by-step instructions. Kay Ewbank considers the approach works well with this material and, giving the book a 4-star rating concludes:
If you know how to program in another language/environment, and want to dip your toes in the mobile phone app market, this would be a good way to try it out.
A new version of this title covering App Inventor 2 is due to be published on September 30, 2014.
Ed Burnette's Hello, Android is a relatively short book on Android and is aimed at mobile developers. It provides a clear and practical overview of the platform but although it has has three editions it was last updated in 2010.
Awarding it a rating of 4.5 Harry Fairhead says:
This really is a “Hello World” sort of book that gives you the flavour of what Android can do for you. You do need to be reasonably familiar with object oriented programming – preferably in Java but other languages are so similar that it isn’t a huge handicap to only know C#, say – and you need to be familiar with the idea that the IDE will generate code for you.
This book introduces Ideas by example - a Sudoku games is used - rather than by concepts and this means that you have to follow along to get the overall principles rather than just read.
Occasionally you will probably wish that there was more explanation and an overview of most of the topics would be nice but if you are happy experimenting it will make sense.
It’s an ideal book if you want to dip into Android and find out if it is worth taking further and it goes far enough to be the only book you will need if you are up to dealing with the documentation thereafter.
Rating it 3.5 (Above average) Harry Fairhead considers it both interesting and slightly irritating, explaining:
Rapid Android Development sounds as though it might have some shortcuts to building Android Apps - but you need to read the subtitle "Build Rich, Sensor-Based Applications with Processing".
This book is basically an introduction to using the Processing language in its Android mode and as Mike James says in his review, in which he awards it a rating of 3.5:
if you want a book on the topic, this is your only choice and for an introduction it is quite good.
What about Android Studio?
None of the books included in this round up tell you about Android Studio, which still in beta and is going to be the obvious way to develop for Android in future. However here in I Programmer you will find 15 chapters of Android Adventures - Getting Started With Android Studio a work in progress by Mike James.
So not only can you read about Android Studio you can also shape the way this book turns out by providing feedback and making requests.
Also on Programmer's Bookshelf
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|Last Updated ( Saturday, 18 October 2014 )|