Learning Android Programming
MartinPacker 11000094DH Visits (13523)
A while back I set myself a technical challenge: To learn how to program an Android device.
NOTE: I don't have a real application in mind, just idle curiosity and a degree of annoyance at the prerequisites to be able to program an iPhone (apart from as a WebApp).
Here's what I did and how I've got on:
That's all: A machine, a way of transferring programs, the SDK and a book. What more could you need?
I experimented with the Eclipse environment for Android development but couldn't get it to build. (But then I like to use a text editor and manually drive the build tools anyway - just to get a feel for what's really going on. If I were a real Android application developer I'd probably make Eclipse work for me.)
The "Hello, Android" book is well written - easy to follow but not condescending. And the website has downloads and errata. Ed's clearly taken this seriously. I've not had a book from "The Pragmatic Programmers" before but I think I'd buy others if a cursory glance suggested they were similarly executed.
First the book takes you through creating a "Hello, Android" application - using the SDK. This worked well. I did have to look up how to sign the application using keytool and jarsigner (the latter being invoked automatically by the ant script the SDK creates to enable you to build). It ran just fine when installed from the card into the Android device.
Then, and here's the real meat of it, the remaining chapters teach you how to build a Sudoku application. The book does this in an incremental fashion, which really works well.
It really helps if you're already familiar with java and XML: You'd be editing those sorts of files quite a lot.
It really is possible to go from zero to being reasonably competent in building an Android application with not much hardware, a flash memory card, the SDK, a text editor and a good book. And that's the way it should be, I think.
The other nice thing is it seems to be something you can learn in small chunks - maybe an hour at a time.