Beginning Android Programming with Android Studio
I first started playing with the Android Software Development Kit (SDK) before it was officially released as version 0.8. Back then, the tools were unpolished, the application programming interfaces (APIs) in the SDK were unstable, and the documentation was sparse. Android is now one of the most popular mobile operating systems in the world. Every day, more developers are trying Android development using Android Studio, either as a hobby or professionally. The current challenge for many beginning developers who want to move into the exciting world of android development is trying to determine where to start. It was with this challenge in mind that I was motivated to write this book, one that could benefit beginning Android programmers and enable them to write progressively more sophisticated applications.
This book is written to help jump-start beginning Android developers, covering the necessary topics in a linear manner so that you can build on your knowledge without being overwhelmed by the details. I adopt the philosophy that the best way to learn is by doing. The numerous Try It Out sections in each chapter first show you how to build something. Then the follow-up How It Works sections explain how everything works. I have also taken this opportunity to further improve the previous edition of this book by addressing feedback from readers and adding additional topics that are important to beginning Android developers.
Although Android programming is a huge topic, my aim for this book is threefold: to get you started with the fundamentals, to help you understand the underlying architecture of the SDK, and to appreciate why things are done in certain ways. It is beyond the scope of any book to cover everything under the sun related to Android programming. However, I am confident that after reading this book (and doing the exercises), you will be well equipped to tackle your next Android programming challenge.
Who This Book Is For
This book is targeted for the beginning Android developer who wants to start developing applications using Google’s Android SDK. To truly benefit from this book, you should have some background in programming and at least be familiar with object-oriented programming (OOP) concepts. If you are totally new to Java—the language used for Android development—you might want to take a programming course in Java programming or grab one of many good books on Java programming. In my experience, if you already know C# or VB.NET, learning Java doesn’t require too much effort. If you’re already comfortable with C# or VB.NET, you should be comfortable just following along with the Try It Outs.
For those totally new to programming, I know the lure of developing mobile apps and making some money is tempting. However, before attempting to try out the examples in this book, I think a better starting point would be to first learn the basics of programming. Note All the examples discussed in this book were written and tested using version N (Nougat) of the Android SDK on Android Studio 2 previews (1 through 6). Although every effort is made to ensure that all the tools used in this book are the latest, it is always possible that by the time you read this book a newer version of the tools will be available. If so, some of the instructions and/or screenshots may differ slightly. However, any variations should be manageable.
What This Book Covers
This book covers the fundamentals of Android programming using the Android SDK. It is divided into 12 chapters and one appendix.
➤➤ Chapter 1: Getting Started with Android Programming covers the basics of the Android OS and its current state. You are introduced to the features of Android devices, as well as some of the popular devices on the market. You also find out how to download and install Android Studio to develop Android applications, and then you see how to test them on the Android emulator.
➤➤ Chapter 2: Using Android Studio for Android Development walks you through many of the different elements within Android Studio. You are introduced to the IDE (Integrated Development Environment) and its pieces. Finally, you discover how to publish a finished application
➤➤ Chapter 3: Activities, Fragments, and Intents gets you acquainted with these three fundamental concepts in Android programming. Activities and fragments are the building blocks of an Android application. You find out how to link activities to form a complete Android application using intents, one of the unique characteristics of the Android OS.
➤➤ Chapter 4: Getting to Know the Android User Interface covers the various components that make up the user interface (UI) of an Android application. You are introduced to the various layouts you can use to build the UI of your application. You also learn about the numerous events that are associated with the UI when users interact with the application.
➤➤ Chapter 5: Designing Your User Interface with Views walks you through the various basic views you can use to build your Android UI. You learn three main groups of views: basic views, picker views, and list views. You also find out about the specialized fragments available in Android 3.0 and 4.0.
➤➤ Chapter 6: Displaying Pictures and Menus with Views continues the exploration of views. Here, you see how to display images using the various image views, as well as display options and context menus in your application. This chapter ends with some additional cool views that you can use to spice up your application.
➤➤ Chapter 7: Data Persistence shows you how to save, or store, data in your Android application. In addition to being introduced to the various techniques to store user data, you also find out about file manipulation and how to save files onto internal and external storage (SD card). In addition, you learn how to create and use a SQLite database in your Android application.
➤➤ Chapter 8: Content Providers discusses how data can be shared among different applications on an Android device. You see how to use a content provider and then build one yourself.
➤➤ Chapter 9: Messaging explores two of the most interesting topics in mobile programming— sending SMS messages and email. You learn how to programmatically send and receive SMS and email messages, as well as how to intercept incoming SMS messages so that the built-in Messaging application is not able to receive any messages.
➤➤ Chapter 10: Location-Based Services demonstrates how to build a location-based service application using Google Maps. You also find out how to obtain geographical location data and then display the location on the map.
➤➤ Chapter 11: Networking explores how to connect to web servers to download data. You see how XML and JSON web services can be consumed in an Android application. This chapter also explains sockets programming, and you see how to build a chat client in Android.
➤➤ Chapter 12: Developing Android Services demonstrates how you can write applications using services. Services are background applications that run without a UI. You learn how to run your services asynchronously on a separate thread, and how your activities can communicate with them.
➤➤ Appendix: Answers to Exercises contains the solutions to the end-of-chapter exercises found in every chapter.
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