Published: May 2015
Google Android dominates the mobile market, and by targeting Android, your apps can run on most of the phones and tablets in the world. This new fourth edition of the #1 book for learning Android covers all modern Android versions from Android 4.1 through Android 5.0. Freshly added material covers new Android features such as Fragments and Google Play Services. Android is a platform you can’t afford not to learn, and this book gets you started.
Printed in full color.
Android is a software toolkit for mobile phones and tablets, created by Google. It’s inside more than a billion devices, making Android the number one platform for application developers. Your own app could be running on all those devices!
Getting started developing with Android is easy. You don’t even need
access to an Android phone, just a computer where you can install the
Android SDK and the emulator that comes with it. Within minutes, Hello,
gets you creating your first working application: Android’s version of “Hello, World.” From there, you’ll build up a more substantial example: an Ultimate Tic-Tac-Toe game. By gradually adding features to the game, you’ll learn about many aspects of Android programming, such as creating animated user interfaces, playing music and sound effects, building location-based services (including GPS and cell-tower triangulation), and accessing web services. You’ll also learn how to publish your applications to the Google Play Store.
This fourth edition of the bestselling Android classic has been revised for Android 4.1-4.3 (Jelly Bean), 4.4 (KitKat), and Android 5.0 (Lollipop). Topics have been streamlined and simplified based on reader feedback, and every page and example has been reviewed and updated for compatibility with the latest versions of Android.
If you’d rather be coding than reading about coding, this book is for you.
1. Use Android Studio. Android Studio has replaced Eclipse as the go-to IDE for Android development. It features increased speed and stability, native support for gradle builds, and a fanstastic user interface editor.
2. Understand the Activity and Fragment lifecycle. Android development is not like development for desktop applications. The system controls when your app is launched, paused, resumed, and terminated. It calls methods you write, such as onStart(), to tell you what is about to happen. Your job is to play nicely with the system and be a good Android app citizen. Your users will thank you!
3. Target the latest version of Android. To maintain compatibility with the widest possible range of devices, you should always use the latest build tools and set the target SDK to the most recent version of Android. Your app can still work on older versions through clever uses of version testing and alternate resources.
4. Keep long-running tasks in the background. The smooth performance of your app is paramount. Long-running tasks such as network and database I/O must not be allowed to interfere with that performance. The solution? Use threads and Loaders to offload that work to a background thread.
5. Remember, logging is your friend. Sure, IDEs like Android Studio come with a fancy debugger, and you’ll have to use that from time to time. But often, simpler is better. A few well-placed messages in the Android log can help you diagnose problems quickly, even hard to reproduce ones.
Published: May 2015