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Unlocking Android 117

Posted by samzenpus
from the read-all-about-it dept.
Michael J. Ross writes "Of all the potential challengers to Apple's phenomenally popular iPhone, perhaps the one with the best prospects is Google's Android, which is not a mobile phone per se, but rather an open-source platform that the company encourages phone manufacturers to deploy in their own products. Similarly, Google encourages computer programmers to develop applications for the Android environment. But learning how to create such applications is daunting to the uninitiated, particularly for developers who have never before worked with the user interface controls, Web services, and other resources involved. A recently published book, Unlocking Android, is designed to help such developers." Read below for the rest of Michael's review.
Unlocking Android
author W. Frank Ableson, Charlie Collins, Robi Sen
pages 416 pages
publisher Manning Publications
rating 8/10
reviewer Michael J. Ross
ISBN 978-1933988672
summary A guide to developing applications for Google's Android.
Unlocking Android was put out by Manning Publications on 28 May 2009, under the ISBN 978-1933988672. It was authored by W. Frank Ableson, Charlie Collins, and Robi Sen — all of whom have extensive experience in developing mobile software applications. The publisher's Web page makes available author biographies, descriptions of the book, all its ancillary parts (the foreword, preface, acknowledgments, table of contents, and index), a white paper on Android (oddly termed a "green paper"), and two sample chapters ("Targeting Android" and "Intents and services"). There is a link to download the source code from the Google Code site, organized by chapter. The Manning site also hosts a forum, where readers and the authors can discuss the book. As of this writing, there are 42 threads, comprising 120 messages. Lastly, the site has links to order both the print and electronic versions of the book. Note that purchasing the former automatically entitles one to a copy of the latter. Manning appears to be pioneering this approach to making e-books more readily available to customers, since every print copy now contains an insert with a list of codes that can be used to download a PDF copy of the book.

The book is ostensibly intended for Android beginners, even though it does contain enough detailed information to serve as a partial reference for more experienced developers. It is organized in a logical fashion, in three parts, starting with an overview of Android itself, both the technology and the organization behind it. Then the reader is introduced to the Android programming environment, along with its many components and capabilities. The book concludes with tutorial chapters that step the reader through creating a sample Android application and more. The material covers Android SDK 1.x. Since Android programs are written in Java, any reader fluent in that language will have a much easier time absorbing the ideas. However, the authors state that even non-Java programmers should be able to follow the examples, as long as they have knowledge of similar languages, such as C, C++, or C#. However, even a cursory glance at the code, by such a reader, would prove that Java knowledge is essential.

The first chapter — oddly named "Targeting Android" — introduces the platform, the organizations behind it, the mobile market as a whole, Android's features, how it differs from featured phones and smartphones, its open-source licenses, platform components, libraries, service managers, programming environment, and virtual terminal. Be warned that Figure 1.1 could be confusing to some readers, because it shows the layers of technology that compose the Android platform, but pictures them on the front of a mobile phone, showing a keypad, which makes the layers appear to be part of the actual user interface; the phone should be removed from the illustration, in a future edition. The chapter goes on to discuss booting and activating Android, as well as how to map applications to processes. Some readers anxious to get to the technical nitty-gritty, may become impatient when reading the first portion of this chapter, because it largely consists of introductory material. Yet this context can be helpful and interesting to people unfamiliar with the mobile phone market. (Articles and tutorials aimed at new mobile application developers, oftentimes assume that said developers are already extremely familiar with the rapidly changing mobile market.) In the later portion of the chapter, readers are shown a handful of code snippets, with some explanation as to what they are doing and how. In reading this material, the reader could be easily overwhelmed with all of the new terminology. One can only hope that the authors were not thinking that the typical reader would understand all of what is discussed, or be able to do anything with it. A canonical "Hello, world" program or something similar — with an explanation as to how to execute it — would have been a far more gentle introduction. By the way, the first few code snippets are poorly indented, and some of the method names are italicized, while others are not — with no mention as to what this might signify, either in the chapter or in the earlier "Code Conventions" section.

In Chapter 2, the reader is introduced to the key tools for basic Android development, including the SDK, Eclipse, and the Android Emulator. An example application — a tip calculator — is developed, step by step, to illustrate those tools. Clearly, this tutorial information should have been presented before the second section of the previous chapter. It nonetheless serves as a valuable introduction to programming Android. Incidentally, Figure 2.1 labels the development environment as being located on a laptop, incorrectly suggesting that desktop computers are not equally usable platforms. Later, when the authors suggest that readers add the Android SDK tools directory to their system search path, they specify only the release-independent directory (containing adb, for instance), and not the release-specific paths (containing aapt, which is the first tool discussed); readers presumably should add both. Also, the authors should specify which release to use, 1.1 or 1.5. The reader eventually is told how to run a sample application — and not a moment too soon, because at that point the reader is already 15 percent of the way into the book. To reach that point, she must wade through more introductory material than was needed, in addition to discussions of network speed and latency, command line tools, DDMS, Java packages, and other information. All of this could and should be covered later, when it would be much more meaningful, and the reader would have greater motivation to learn it, having seen an Android application running (if only in the emulator).

Part 2 forms the bulk of the book, consisting of nine chapters devoted to the essential aspects of Android application development: user interfaces, including the Activity class, views, resource types, and manifest files; Intent classes, broadcast receivers, task services, and inter-process communications; data storage and retrieval, including user preferences, files stored on the local system and on SD cards, databases, and the ContentProvider class; networking, including client/server interaction, HTTP, and Web services such as SOAP; telephony, including how to receive and initiate calls and SMS messages; notifications and alarms; generating graphics and animation; multimedia, including audio and video, utilizing the OpenCORE technology; location-based applications, using a variety of tools, including Google Earth's KML. All of these chapters make use of example applications, with annotated source code and screenshots of the applications running in the Android emulator.

The third and final part of the book comprises two chapters, each of which extends the core concepts of Android development. Chapter 12 steps the reader through the creation of a substantial application, named "Field Service Application," designed for mobile technicians who provide support services for customers of contracted clients. The application is designed to be used by both the technician and his home office to assign and manage job orders, capture customer signatures of completed jobs, order replacement parts, and receive navigation assistance. The final chapter, "Hacking Android," explores Android's utilization of Linux, the C programming language, and the SQLite database — as well as how the Android developer can access these capabilities under the hood.

Appendix A explains how to install the Eclipse integrated development environment (IDE), the Android software development kit (SDK), and the ADT plug-in for Eclipse. Readers who do not already have those components installed on their computers, may want to first read the appendix and follow the procedures. Note, however, that the procedures given in section A.4, for installing the ADT plug-in, are already out of date — namely, for Eclipse version 3.3. In addition, the URL given by the authors ("https://dl-sll.google.com/android/eclipse") is invalid, because it is missing the trailing directory slash, which is necessary for it to work within Eclipse. (This points up the importance of including root directories in URLs, despite their common absence, because even though Web browsers will automatically correct this upon receiving an error message from the server, Eclipse evidently does not.) The online Android installation instructions are much more useful, because they also include the latest version of Eclipse, 3.4.

As is to be expected with the first edition of any detailed computer programming book, this one contains some errata — for instance, in the first portion of the book alone: "Android[']s" (page xxii, twice), "Webkit" (page 7, in the caption), "SQLite[,] an" (page 11), and "byte code[s]" (page 13). Also, terms such as "Internet" and "Web" are in all-lowercase, throughout the book, even though they are proper names. (In our world of instant messaging and Twitter, grammatical degeneration continues apace.) For any reader who wishes to follow along and implement the sample projects, possibly the most disappointing decision by the authors was that of offering the sample code not as a single archive file, or even individual archive files for each of the 13 chapters. Instead, the reader must tediously click through multiple layers of directories, just to get the code displayed in a browser, one file at a time. Readers are advised to employee a Web copying utility, which, given a starting URL, will try to download all of the linked pages, recursively, and store those Web pages and other Web elements on their own computer (even localizing links, to retain working navigation in the saved pages).

Yet by far the biggest problem with this book, is that while it claims to be an introductory text, suitable for someone completely unfamiliar with Android, it does not bring the newcomer up to speed at a reasonable pace for learning. Instead, it presents a large number of code snippets and tools to the reader, without adequate explanation for the beginner to truly understand what is happening. This pattern begins even in the first chapter, which is sorely lacking a tutorial on how to execute the sample code — to better understand it and perhaps modify it (a practice that most programmers find quite valuable for assimilating a new technology). On page 23 is a frustratingly brief sidebar on testing the receipt of an SMS message, that is far from adequate for the reader anxious to begin testing out this new material. The second chapter continues this unfortunate tendency of describing tools prior to giving the reader enough information to run those tools themselves in the same manner, and see the same results. For instance, on page 41, the authors show how to use the adb tool to connect to a running emulator session, but at that point the reader has no such sessions running. (Sometimes the authors of programming books understand the material quite well, but neglect to view it from the perspective of someone who does not yet have that understanding.)

While more appropriate for intermediate Android developers than claimed, Unlocking Android contains a wealth of information to help Java programmers begin developing mobile applications for Google's new platform, with numerous code snippets and screenshots.

Michael J. Ross is a freelance Web developer and writer.

You can purchase Unlocking Android from amazon.com. Slashdot welcomes readers' book reviews -- to see your own review here, read the book review guidelines, then visit the submission page.

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Unlocking Android

Comments Filter:
  • But... (Score:2, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward

    My android wont let me near him because hes a little paranoid.

  • If you buy an unlocked android phone, you can not run applications *you paid for*
    because of DRM.

    If you buy an android phone and then unlock it, all is well.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by spyingwind (961097)
      "If you buy an unlocked android phone, you can not run applications *you paid for* because of DRM." This is a false statement unless your referring to a non Dev phone I have IM+ paid for and I am using it with out a fuss on my Dev phone. ~Spyinwind
      • by poetmatt (793785)

        Can you still use market apps on an unlocked non dev phone?

        • Most certainly. I don't think you can use copy-protected market apps, but I'm using and Android Dev Phone 1 and haven't had any trouble finding what I want in the Market.
          • by poetmatt (793785)

            Can you clarify by what you mean by copy protected? Do you mean I can't redownload apps I bought or you can't even buy apps on the unlocked phone?

            • by schon (31600)

              Can you clarify by what you mean by copy protected?

              He means Apps with the "copy protected" flag set.

              Do you mean I can't redownload apps I bought or you can't even buy apps on the unlocked phone?

              Neither.

              You can redownload apps you bought, and you can buy apps (even copy-protected ones) on an unlocked phone.

              Apps that are flagged as "copy protected" cannot be copied from your phone to somewhere else. You can re-download them as many times as you want to your handset, however with a ADP1 (specific hardware purchased from Google for the purposes of software development) these apps are not available.

              • by poetmatt (793785)

                so if I homebrew my G1 to a custom firmware I won't be able to download the protected apps nor the actual app store apps, or only the protected ones? I was confused by the formatting of your response as to if you were saying I couldn't do either or the other comment afterwards.

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by TheBracket (307388)

          I have a g1 sitting here, running on AT&T. It was unlocked by purchasing an unlock code from a website - and all the market apps I've downloaded (including some for which I paid, such as Touchdown's Exchange client - need it for work) work just fine. I think the problem referred to above isn't with market apps you buy on the newly unlocked phone, but with losing access to already-purchased apps when you unlock; I'm not sure about that since this phone was wiped before I unlocked it.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by MrMista_B (891430)

        Just felt like pointing out that you essentially just posted that 'This is a false statement unless it is a true statement'. :)

    • by Abreu (173023)

      On a related question... Are there any new android phones coming up?

      The G1 is not available in my country

  • by Estanislao Martínez (203477) on Monday June 29, 2009 @02:37PM (#28517433) Homepage

    The iPhone is winning on the basis of having a much superior interface. Open source development has always been notably bad at user interfaces, and more generally, at design; it is no accident that the most successful open source projects are all clones of some other software, or implementations of back-end protocols like HTTP. Very often superior clones, mind you, but it's still derivative.

    • by rmcd (53236) * on Monday June 29, 2009 @02:49PM (#28517627)

      Could you (or someone else) elaborate on the UI differences, and why one would prefer one or the other? And how much of this is android issues as opposed to app-specific issues?

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by LDoggg_ (659725)
        I have a g1 and a ipod touch. The differences are really multi-touch and apple's stuff is more round and bubbly.

        Estanislao was trolling.
        • To be completely fair the G1 is capable of multitouch. The Jesus Freak mods [gizmodo.com] include a couple of test applications and a 'pinchable' browser.
          • by LDoggg_ (659725)
            I'm actually running JF 1.5, rooting was easy :)

            The browser pinch zoom is cool, but I'd really like it in the maps application.

            Would be nice to see this stuff official though.
        • You can add multi-touch to the G1.

          As to the "round and bubbly". If I wanted round and bubbly I would own a Mac instad of a PC running GNU/Linux.

          I do not judge the worthiness of a tool by its outward appearance and whether or not it makes me feel all fuzzy inside. Likewise, I do not make my puchases based on how popular something is in a pathetic attempt to be part of the "in crowd". The latter is, IMNSHO, the reason the iPOD/iPhone is as popular as it is.

          I was at the poker table last night comparing my G

          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            by Americano (920576)

            The latter is, IMNSHO, the reason the iPOD/iPhone is as popular as it is.

            What do you base this opinion on? I've seen this meme before, and I fail to see any useful logic behind it. Do you really believe that a majority of people would choose to buy a product that is completely inadequate for their needs simply because it makes them part of the "in crowd"? And if you do believe that, what do you base that belief on?

            • My opinion is based on my personal experience and observation. That is why it is called an opinion.

              When I ask people why they have an iPhone vs , the first response I get a majority of the time is "its cool" or "it has a lot of cool features". The common word being cool.

              I will admit, freely, that iPhone was, when released, the best at what it offered. It was a whale in a pond. Now it is an old fish in a lake full of younger fish.

              I will also admit, I did not jump on the iPhone bandwagon for the same reas

              • by Americano (920576)
                Yes, I can see why you'd conclude that people just buy it because they want to fit in and be part of the cool kids' club. It couldn't be that:

                "it has a lot of cool features"

                iPhone was, when released, the best at what it offered.

                partnering with other companies/vendors to offer exclusive rights or focused "value-add" products that are unique to iPOD/iPhone.

                It really sounds to me like your opinion is 9 parts this:

                I did not jump on the iPhone bandwagon for the same reason I did not jump on the iPOD band wag

      • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

        by sbeckstead (555647)
        the iPhone also works faster and smoother.
      • I've published an Android app (Slicehost), as well as a few iPhone apps, and here are the biggest differences in development that ultimately (in my opinion) make Android apps inferior:

        1. It's Java + Eclipse, which is notoriously slow when compared to XCode and the iPhone Simulator
        2. UI design is done in very verbose XML, as opposed to Apple's Interface Builder, which lets you easily drag things where you want them
        3. Since Android is a platform and not tied to a single device, you have to design in "device independent pixels" which is much different than the iPhones set-in-stone 320x480 resolution
        4. Core Animation... 'nuff said
        • by LDoggg_ (659725) on Monday June 29, 2009 @04:37PM (#28519277) Homepage

          It's Java + Eclipse, which is notoriously slow when compared to XCode and the iPhone Simulator

          Eclipse isn't required for development, though it is extremely useful. And you don't like Java, there's a Native SDK now: http://developer.android.com/sdk/ndk/1.5_r1/index.html [android.com]

          UI design is done in very verbose XML, as opposed to Apple's Interface Builder, which lets you easily drag things where you want them

          The GUI is described in XML, but you don't have to use a text editor to build or edit it. There are in fact tools in Eclipse to drag and drop components into the GUI. Heck, there's even an applet I've seen that will do some point and clicky GUI creation and spit out XML.
          Would you rather that there was only a closed source proprietary IDE that spit out binary data to build your GUI for Android?

          Since Android is a platform and not tied to a single device, you have to design in "device independent pixels" which is much different than the iPhones set-in-stone 320x480 resolution

          You say that like it's a bad thing. So if apple decided to put out an in-dash car PC using the iphone OS, you'd like the fact that the existing iphone apps look like shit in it? Or would you want the in-dash screen to run at an obscenely low resolution?
          How about programming GUIs in way that allows them to play nicely in multiple screen resolutions?

          Core Animation... 'nuff said

          No, not enough. Please elaborate on why that makes iphone such a great platform to develop on.

          • by Timmmm (636430)

            The native SDK doesn't allow you to do much at the moment. Your app still has to be Java but it can call native functions. Those native functions can't do much useful apart from number crunching at the moment. For example you can't do graphics, input or sound.

          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            by Greenisus (262784)

            I shouldn't have listed Java, as I have no problem with the Java language; it's really Eclipse that bugs me and only because it (and the simulator) are so slow on my (fast) machine.

            And all of the Android UI design tools I've used have been extremely awkward when compared to Interface Builder. In fact, I gave up on the tools and decided to simply write XML by hand (and only then could I finally get the results I wanted). As for IB being closed source and proprietary, that doesn't really matter much to me a

          • by joshki (152061)
            Not that I completely disagree with you, but a couple of points... The GUI tools in Eclipse don't work at all for Android, and DroidDraw, while a cool toy, can't handle anything more complex than a textview and a couple of buttons. It's easier to just type the xml in by hand. Also, the NDK they just released is extremely limited right now. Just my opinion, and I do have an application in the market, is that Android is really still in Beta. I like it, and I think it will be great in time, but it's still
            • by Greenisus (262784)

              I completely agree with you, and I'm looking forward to a better Android platform in the future.

        • I've written an Android app but not an iPhone app, so, my opinion is less informed than yours. That said, you can write native code now. It's not really meant to write entire apps in because the APIs are still Java and that is unlikely to change, but if you want to do something compute intensive in C/C++ that's certainly now an option. Personally I think Objective-C is a pretty stupid language compared to Java, so, having at least the option to mix and match approaches is nice.

          There is a visual UI designer,

          • by Greenisus (262784)

            I probably shouldn't have mentioned Java in my list of criticisms, as I really have no issue with the language. Most of my career has been in Java and I'm quite comfortable with it (though we differ on opinions about Objective-C).

            I definitely agree with you about the UI designer. I found it (and third party UI designers) far more confusing than simply writing the XML, and if it had not been for the layout managers I would probably still be working on the first version of the app :)

            And since I have no idea

        • Since Android is a platform and not tied to a single device, you have to design in "device independent pixels" which is much different than the iPhones set-in-stone 320x480 resolution

          So what you're saying is that once Apple decides to upgrade iPhone to, say, 800x480 (which is what a few WinMo phones have had for a few years now), all existing applications will break?

          We have already went through this on the desktop. Older UI frameworks required you to lay out the widgets using absolute pixel positioning. Now, this is faux pas - any decent modern UI framework supports dynamic layouts, and better ones strongly encourage them. I'm glad to hear that Google is doing the right thing from the g

          • by Greenisus (262784)

            I wouldn't expect iPhone apps to break across the board, but there would likely be issues with custom UI elements.

      • Motif. When I first played with an Android phone the first thing it reminded me of was the Motif Window Manager with a colorful wallpaper and some pretty icons put in as a distraction. That about sums up the look and feel of Android.

        UI failures that immediately hit me:
        1. It's cluttered. You've got the app icons on your desktop. You've got the little tab thingy to pull up yet more apps (some of which already have "shortcuts" on your desktop. You've got that odd pulldown thingy from the top for notifications

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by mjwx (966435)

        Could you (or someone else) elaborate on the UI differences

        This is almost entirely in the fanboys mind. GP was trolling.

        The only testable difference is multitouch, which is not worth as much hype as the iphone fanboys give it. It's not that the HTC Dream or Android is incapable of multitouch its just that it programmed in. Google and Apple share 3 board members, this being accidental would surprise me.

        Multitouch was hacked into android on the second week of its release in the states. Having recently

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by vertinox (846076)

      Open source development has always been notably bad at user interfaces, and more generally, at design; it is no accident that the most successful open source projects are all clones of some other software, or implementations of back-end protocols like HTTP.

      I know the OP is being a bit hostile, but with many Open Source projects UI are basically "what would I like to have" following then "what would my user's like to have" and followed "what my user's should have but don't know they need" last.

      I think more t

    • by mbarkhau (1137557)
      Have you used one? The interface is pretty nice if you ask me. The main thing I would change about the G1 is battery life, other than that I think it's on par with the iphone. Tactile feedback FTW.

      The main things I see Android has going for it:
      lots of (cheaper) devices
      great dev tools
      Java > ObjectiveC (at least more people know it)
      no need to buy a mac for development

      The android challenge 2 seems to have created a lull in released apps, but over time I think the better environment for developers
      • Re: (Score:1, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward

        I have a G1, and have the following complaints about it: 1) Slow response to input touch 2) No support for Bluetooth stereo profile (has this been fixed yet?) 3) It tends to do things like call people and display youtube videos without me telling it to (do other touchscreens have this problem?) 4) GPS receiver is less sensitive than iPhone (this might be just my specific phone)

        Battery life? Yeah, you have to recharge it _every_ night, but it has no problem making it through a full day's use. "On par with th

        • by JaiWing (469698)

          Um, AD2P has been supported since the release of 1.5. It has been out for 2-3 weeks.

    • by jbacon (1327727)

      Seeing as I actually own a G1, I enjoy the ability to make my interface whatever the hell I want it to be. On the Market alone are several complete Home screen replacement apps, offering a plethora of features including iPhone-style dock bars, skinnability, and more. And once you break out of the one-click comfort zone and check out xda-developers [xda-developers.com], the opportunities abound. Custom roms, roms for other phones that are ported to the G1, and so much more.

      So, the G1 ends up being a delightfully hackable, sur

    • by FunkyELF (609131)

      The iPhone is winning on the basis of having a much superior interface. Open source development has always been notably bad at user interfaces, and more generally, at design; it is no accident that the most successful open source projects are all clones of some other software, or implementations of back-end protocols like HTTP. Very often superior clones, mind you, but it's still derivative.

      XBMC has the best user interface of any application I have ever used.

    • Re: (Score:1, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      This is hilariously wrong. For one thing, the UI of Android is distinctive, and not derivative of the iPhone in any appreciable manner (like the iPhone it has a lot of similarities with other, earlier touch-screen smartphones and PDAs, going back as far as the DEC Itsy and the Compaq iPaq, and the Palm VII).

      The snipe about open source being bad at 'design' is crass stupidity, unless you think that gcc, BSD, TCP/IP and webkit are all bad design... Apple doesn't. Android's design is subtle and sophisticated,

    • by jackspenn (682188)

      The iPhone is winning on the basis of having a much superior interface

      Here is the best AD for Android, you run it the end of this year or early 2010.

      You have a cut of the Apple conference where they show how many apps they have compared to other phones with the date. - Advantage iPhone

      Then you show the current apps between Android and the iPhone with trend lines and the date Android will pass the iPhone sometime next year. - Advantage Android

      Then you show apps that Apple has banned but are available for Android, starting with wifi tethering that allows you to con

    • by mjwx (966435)
      Parent should really be nodded down on account of the fact he hasnt got a clue.

      The iPhone is winning on the basis of having a much superior interface.

      Entirely subjective. Try defining interface, do you mean the look, Google is the undisputed king of creating functional minimal interfaces, Apple has a love affair with shiny thus is far too subjective to make a definitive judgement on. Responsiveness, on par, the Iphone has a better basic interface but android is far superior with multi-tasking, apple has

  • eclipse (Score:4, Informative)

    by LDoggg_ (659725) on Monday June 29, 2009 @02:39PM (#28517457) Homepage
    The online Android installation instructions are much more useful, because they also include the latest version of Eclipse, 3.4.

    Actually 3.5 (Galileo) is out now. There aren't explicit instructions for it on developer.android.com, but it's still works the same way. Add the update site, and install the plugin.
    • by joshki (152061)
      Does Galileo offer any advantages for Android development yet?
      • by LDoggg_ (659725)
        From my 3 days experience with it, it looks exactly the same. The android plugin from the update site is 0.91. It may just be that 3.5 is backward compatible enough to run the same plugin.
  • furries?! (Score:4, Funny)

    by jollyreaper (513215) on Monday June 29, 2009 @02:41PM (#28517507)

    Why is there a furry on the cover? I thought the mascot was a cute little robot.

    • by Tehrasha (624164)
      That was my first thought as well. I knew they liked putting animals on the covers, but a furry??!? I had to go to Amazon to get a higher detail picture to figue out what was going on...
  • What is that thing on the cover? It looks kind of like Catwoman got a bunch of crappy henna tattoos. Though the idea of her with a tramp stamp does...things...for me. I'll be in my bunk.

  • Catdroid?

    Hope it's nothing like catbert.

  • by rusty0101 (565565) on Monday June 29, 2009 @02:48PM (#28517607) Homepage Journal

    If you would rather program in python, lau or bsh (not bash, but bean shell, a java based shell scripting language) and have an android based phone, have a look at ASE. Currently at version 0.8, found at http://code.google.com/p/android-scripting/ [google.com]

    You will want to follow the instructions under help once you have ASE installed. I found it easiest to save the script interpreters for python and lau along with the sample scripts to my phone's sd card as a separate action, then run the ASE application which immediately installed the interpreters and made the scripts available.

    See also the wiki and related pages for explanations of why ASE might be of interest to you. Or may not be of interest.

    • by Aladrin (926209)

      Nice! I've been hoping for Python on Android for a while... I looked at Jython and another, but they didn't seem to be far enough along yet... And looked to be a pain to install, too. (It's been a while, and they may have changed, though.)

  • Can someone please simplify the Android Platform for us developers? Is it a Java VM with some extra libs, and a linux kernel?

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by $1uck (710826)
      It doesn't use a JVM is uses Dalvik vm. SO it is something more than a typical j2me vm and something less than a full JVM. It has its own windowing tool kit, it does not use awt or swing or swt. Personally I think the Android OS is pretty slick, inter-application communication is interesting.
      • by josteos (455905)

        What would really help would be a VM that would JIT... Dalvik works but is not speedy -- it remains an interpreter. All it really needs is some JIT compilation to take off. Yes, you could do native stuff using the new NDK, but with like 18 announced phones coming out by year-end, I'd rather not get stuck writing custom code for each CPU.

  • by sabernet (751826) on Monday June 29, 2009 @03:52PM (#28518509) Homepage

    The platform is called "Android". It basically TELLS you what the cover should have.

    Instead they have a tattooed aboriginal hunter with hair from the boss on the Dilbert comics.

    Because when I think "android", I think "mostly naked male aboriginal tattoed hunter with Dilbert boss hair".

  • I'm subscribed to O'Reilly Safari, where I have both Unlocking Android [safaribooksonline.com] and O'Reilly's Android Application Development [safaribooksonline.com] in my bookshelf. The O'Reilly book uses the "build a big application" approach to teaching. So each chapter goes into adding a different feature. There is an expectation that the reader has the examples installed, but unfortunately they don't work with Android v1.5(cupcake). I was lost since I couldn't follow. Luckily I found this book which does a much better job of explaining things. The
  • > Unlocking Android

    Assholes! We're already past 2:14 AM easter daylight time, August 29, 1997 and riding on thin ice. Leave them locked up!

  • OK, so to develop for the iPhone I have to 1) learn a new version of C and 2) deal with yet another overly complex set of classes, invented to make your life more difficult.

    Where is the "Visual Basic" for iPhone?

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