I read the two reviews on Amazon's site regarding the second edition of the book and one leans towards it being for beginners, while the other doesn't really say, but it does state developers need a solid understanding of Java; however, it doesn't give much indication of the level of Android knowledge expected. Is this book suitable for someone with an understanding of the basics of Java or does someone really need to have a solid grasp of Java before they will really be able to follow this book? Or in other words, can a total newbie make use of the book (new to Java and Android)?
Also does the book contain any sample projects that are related to the topic being discussed that can be tried or are there just short snippets here and there showing how you'd accomplish x?
I would recommend Android in Action for folks who have a comfort level with Java. If you've never coded in java but have coded in other languages or for other mobile platforms, then I would suggest you take a quick look at a Java primer on the web and then look at Android in Action.
Android in Action is suited for newbies to Android as well as experienced Android developers looking for a wide and deep set of examples and sample code. The latter portion of the book appeals to more experienced folks while the first 11 chapters are geared more toward the beginner.
Look at some of the other threads I have commented on but this book is for people who have a understanding of programming or know Java. No experience with Android is expected or needed. If your new to programming though you will have a hard time.
As for code coverage there are extensive examples of almost everything in the Android API. One thing through to note is you will really need to download the code from manning in that in some places we have omitted things like import statements for the sake of brevity and to save page count so we did not have a 1500 page TOME no one would buy :-) As for example applications we have everything from simple applications to extremely sophisticated applications, Chris and Frank made a application to control a Lego Mindstorms, that are even in the Android market.
As such this book can, if you put the time in, take you from basic Android concepts all the way to developing your own complex and sophisticated applications. One person who recently read the book told me they used some of the code samples to help with a wearable computer with a heads up display, using Android, for the military. Another recently used some of the examples on the NDK, in the book, to help a major company with a e-reader project.
Thanks guys for the prompt responses. I'm a .Net C# developer by day, but I'd really like to do some Android development on the side. I don't think I'd have much of a problem picking up Java, but I wanted to know the prerequisite for your book regarding Java and Android familiarity. One of the things I've been looking for and haven't found in any books or resources online that really explain the concept well with full examples is when dealing with the ListView control, how to create Sectioned Headers. You see this used often in many apps, but there's not a lot of info available on how to do it. An example of what I'm talking about might be like below:
I know this might be off topic, but I was wondering if in your controls chapter or similar, if you touched on advanced control usage examples like this.
Thanks in advance for providing another much needed resource to the Android community.
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