Java Programming for Android Developers For Dummies by Barry Burd - In-depth Book Review

Published in the Random group
‘There’s an app for that’ is a common reply to many people’s needs in modern society. Whether you want to check the weather for tomorrow or do online shopping, it can happen via Android apps. So, do you have a unique idea for meeting consumers’ needs with an app? Then you need to understand Java programming. Below we’ll review a popular book called ‘Java Programming for Android Developers for Dummies’. Is this the book you need? Java Programming for Android Developers For Dummies by Barry Burd - In-depth Book Review - 1
Figure 1. Book cover, courtesy of Buecher

A Brief Description

Java Programming for Android Developers for Dummies is part of the popular ‘Dummies’ series published by the global publishing company John Wiley & Sons, Inc. The company is respected for quality academic publications and this book is no different. Java Programming for Android Developers For Dummies by Barry Burd - In-depth Book Review - 2
Figure 2. Dr. Barry Burd
This particular Dummies book was written by Dr. Burd, a celebrated professor at the University of Illinois. The author has an M.S. in Computer Science and he’s written various other books & resources. His experience extends to training professional programmers and this insight of how to teach others found its way into the book. It’s important to know that there are two editions of this book. The first edition is somewhat outdated as it only focuses on Eclipse IDE which Google no longer supports. If you need to learn about Android Studio the second edition is your best option, although the first still provides ample knowledge in simple terms. The simple approach is why this is a popular item on the ‘Dummies’ list. Dr. Burd’s explanations are structured to help readers grasp Java concepts even if they have no background in programming or any previous knowledge on this topic.

What can You Expect from the Content?

What the Book Teach You

The book is focused on helping newbies write Android apps from scratch and guide you until you have a fully functional program. To do this you’ll learn development concepts and also how to troubleshoot when problems arise. You’ll even know how to debug the app.

What’s Inside?

A key feature of most Dummies books is how the content is broken up to make it easily understandable, giving you a step by step method of completing a task. You’ll start off with a guideline on how to use the book to get the most out of it. If you want to take this further the book even discusses what your next steps should be. The last chapters also focus on the well-known ‘Part of Tens’ concept found in these books that give you helpful resources and easy guidelines. In Java Programming for Android Developers for Dummies the topic is discussed in five different parts, each containing a few of the 16 chapters.

Part 1

This part focuses on the basics of Java:

    Chapter 1: Here you’ll learn about everything Java and Android related to give you a comprehensive overview & help you understand the topic in context. The book discusses the developer but also the consumer’s perspectives.

  • Chapter 2: You need to prepare well before you start and this chapter informs you of what you’ll need such as setting up Java and Android Studio. You’ll also learn the basics of using Android Studio.

  • Chapter 3: This chapter gets very practical as you’ll discover how to create your first app, using dragging and dropping features and how Java code relates to it all. Everything doesn’t always work the first time and in these pages, you’ll be shown what to do when certain aspects, such as the emulator doesn’t work as planned.

Part 2

Start learning how to write in Java and create programs:
  • Chapter 4: You need to be able to code to create your Android app and this chapter teaches you about methods, code punctuation & more.

  • Chapter 5: You must understand the foundations of Java coding. Here you’ll learn about types and the different purposes you’ll have for them.

  • Chapter 6: Building on the previous two chapters this sixth one discusses Java types in-depth and you’ll know how to work with strings. Safe typing is also a necessary concept to grasp.

  • Chapter 7: Learn more about methods and types, as well as pass-by-value.

  • Chapter 8: The final thoughts on Java coding relate to how you’ll make decisions and repeat instructions.

Part 3

Programming that’s object-oriented is the focus here:
  • Chapter 9: Learn more about the use of object-oriented programming, such as classes, and Java’s modifiers.

  • Chapter 10: Know how to save yourself some time by keeping things simple and using code that already exists.

Java Programming for Android Developers For Dummies by Barry Burd - In-depth Book Review - 3
Figure 4. OOP Diagram, courtesy of Programtalk

Part 4

Learn about the connection between Android and Java:
  • Chapter 11: Dr. Burd gives examples and discusses inner classes; also publicity.

  • Chapter 12: Using all you’ve learned can be challenging and this chapter will help you deal with multiple aspects at once.

  • Chapter 13: With social media playing an important role in online activities this is an important chapter. Learn about social media servers, files and realize exceptions you’ll face with Java.

  • Chapter 14: Through Burd’s own app you’ll learn a lot.

Part 5

This resources section can be found in all Dummies books:
  • Chapter 15: By avoiding certain mistakes your app development will go smoother. This chapter lists the 10 most important blunders not to make.

  • Chapter 16: Use resources to keep improving your skills.

Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Complex ideas are made simple

  • The book’s layout makes it fun to work through

  • Appropriate even if you don’t have any programming background

Cons

  • The first edition is outdated

  • The second edition leaves much for the reader to work out on his or her own

  • It doesn’t cover Java in its entirety

Let’s Wrap Up

Is this the book for you? There’s no question that Java Programming for Android Developers for Dummies carries many benefits for newbies. Dr. Burd manages to communicate Java and Android facts simply. But pick the right edition for your needs and if you have a specific niche you’re interested in, make sure it’s covered before you buy.
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