O'Reilly Book Reviewer

I review for the O'Reilly Blogger Review Program

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Book Review: Developing Android Applications with Flex 4.5 by Rich Tretola

This book has arrived at the right time. Android is getting exceedingly popular but there is ever greater need to write rich mobile applications today than ever before. Mobile Internet usage will exceed laptop/desktop usage and very soon the term "smartphone" would be obsolete. Android and Flex is a powerful combination and Adobe has done a fantastic job with providing support for
mobile programming with the latest release of their Flash Builder IDE.

Without much fluff, this book dives straight into the "hello world" application. Within the first 10 pages, you are all set to write your first app and debug it. Most other books waste pages and pages in the first couple of chapters going into the history of computing and how we have arrived today at mobile programming. I am sick of that! So this book was a pleasant surprise in that respect. Once you are done with Chapter 1, you have gained enough momentum to just breeze through the rest of the book. Chapter 2 covers layouts which is useful info about the various UI design choices you have to make. Chapter 3 covers permissions, scaling for screen, orientation, etc. Again, delightfully no fluff! Chapter 4 is the best chapter (for me!) as it covers using the various device features like accelerometer, GPS, Camera UI, Camera Roll, Microphone, Multitouch and Busy Indicator. All this within the Flex mobile framework! The book concludes with a chapter on publshing to Android Installer.

What I like about this book is that it is pretty light-weight, quick and easy to follow with step by step instructions! Most books that I have read have at least 30%-50% wasteful material which makes them exhausting to read. I can't believe I finished reading this book in about 4 hours (and I am a slow reader!) and fully grasped what it takes to develop a solid Flex mobile application. I look forward to more from this author.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Book Review: Learning Android by Marko Gargenta

This book is written for people having a reasonable experience with Java. I was able to breeze through this book in a couple of hours and "got it" what Android platform is about. Most of the book is about developing a Twitter App with each chapter taking the application gradually to the next level. Don't let that fool you. Each and every concept about Android ranging from the UI controls, File System, Database, Services, etc, are thoroughly explained. The book ends with chapters on the Android Interface Definition Language and the Native Development Kit. These concepts are important to know when dealing with Interprocess Communication (aka cross-application communication) and for accelerating performance and are thoroughly covered.

If you are wanting to learn Android in a hurry and want to finish in a couple of weekends, this is the book to go for. Otherwise, just go through the official documentation and spend months trying to write a decent application.