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I am currently reading the book Hello, Android, and am about 100 pages in. The problem is that even though I understand the instructions and what the code should do, I can't really put things together as to how things are connected(methods, views, things passed around different files(!!)). The sudoku example the book is following is too complicated to follow; maybe they should of instead gradually show and explained each step to building such an app (let the reader build up with simple examples to more complicated ones). Maybe later in the author starts to explain things more clearly.

Should I just keep reading/coding the book or should I focus more on my Java book and finish that first?

If someone has experience with the book, I would love to hear some thoughts.

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I really haven't covered arrays at all in my java book yet. I guess I will start working on my java and drop android for a few days perhaps. –  Fidelio Dec 4 '10 at 6:50
You're learning the Java language and learning Android development at the same time? It might indeed be better to focus on the Java, especially if you're finding the Android book is confusing you due to unfamiliarity with the language. –  Carson63000 Dec 4 '10 at 9:02
That's the problem with most programming books. It's very difficult for us geeks, to write effective books. Except CLR with C# that I enjoyed a lot, I can't name a single programming book that was IMHO well written. –  user2567 Dec 4 '10 at 10:00
You can always take apart some else's apk for a simple app and see it you can get your head around it...I learn better by taking apart than putting together. –  hbdgaf Dec 4 '10 at 13:42
The book is for experienced Java Programmers who have read up on the Android and want to see it in practice. Not for the feint hearted. Read through Googles dev guide and then come back to the book. developer.android.com/guide/topics/fundamentals.html –  giulio Feb 25 '11 at 1:20

1 Answer 1

up vote 4 down vote accepted

Stick with it, and get yourself a good Java book

I have read and finished the Android book and I found it to be very useful. However, I have a lot of experience with Java so the language syntax was not difficult for me.

Android is more than just Java - it is an entire environment.

As with all new environments you need to start small and try out different things. I agree that the Sudoku application does get a bit complex and you're left wondering what it is trying to achieve, but later examples dealing with 3D, maps and music are much more fun. The books examples are available online and can be downloaded and played with so that you don't have to spend ages typing stuff in.

But... it's important to spend time typing the stuff in at the beginning. You need to understand how your editor (IDE) is going to allow you to navigate the framework (syntax completion, where to look for errors etc). Android involves a lot of XML manipulation to get the various parts working together and that is where the skill lies. You need to be able to see the patterns in the XML to identify what is missing/misconfigured for the type of application you're writing.

So what's a good Java book?

Opinions here will vary, but I found Just Java 2 by Peter van der Linden to be very thorough and an interesting read (loved the light relief sections at the end of each chapter). Also Head First Java by Kathy Sierra comes highly recommended by some of my colleagues.

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Right now I'm reading Starting out with Java: from control structures through objects. Should I get Just Java 2 after I finish this book? –  Fidelio Dec 4 '10 at 15:33
so should I put down the android book and finish the Java books first? or should I do both at the same time. –  Fidelio Dec 4 '10 at 15:42
@Andrei Just Java 2 will give you a complete introduction from nothing. However, the majority of Android development is based on XML and framework configuration, so once you've got the hang of classes and methods (extends and implements that sort of thing) then you should be able to understand what the Java side of the Android code is doing. After that you're into the XML work which is mainly about reference documentation lookups (and the Android book can give you the shortcuts to get you started). –  Gary Rowe Dec 4 '10 at 18:21
sounds good, but I don't need a complete introduction. I'm halfway through with my current java book. Are you suggesting that Java 2 is of such high caliber that I should read that one too? This is my book: amazon.com/Starting-Out-Java-Control-Structures/dp/0136080200/… . –  Fidelio Dec 4 '10 at 19:21
@Andrei Looking over the style of your current book I'd stick with it. You need to be confident with objects before you'll be able to tackle problems within Android. Don't use Android as your learning environment. Instead, become familiar with console Java using your book to guide you. –  Gary Rowe Dec 4 '10 at 20:08

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