Book Review: Learning Android by O’Reilly

I approach any Android book with low expectations. The ecosystem is changing too quickly and too often that is impossible for a traditional media like printed books to catch up properly. However, I gave this one a try.

Of course, there is no mention to the Compatibility Library, the Action Bar or Fragments, which are Honeycomb / ICS specific. I should have been shocked if there were, because they are very new, but I consider them myself the starting point of Android development as of today.

On the other hand, development up to Gingerbread is very well structured, starting with the basics of Activities and Layouts to keep going quite deep onto Services and Content Providers. They go even further, talking about Aidl and NDK, which I had no need to use yet, but it is good to have them referenced.

There are two variants of introductory technical books: the ones that teach you general concepts, and the ones that are structured around an example. I personally prefer the second type, it helps me seeing real applications of what I am learning and is easier to focus on the content. This book is one of those, which I think is one of its best points.

I recommend the book to get an overview of Android or as your first Android book. It will serve you for quite long in the learning process -I even learned a couple of new tricks myself-. But if you want to be a really good android developer you want to complement the lessons of the book with the Compatibility Library, the Action Bar and Fragments.

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