If you’ve started down the path of learning Android development, have you ever had the sinking feeling that “there’s so much to learn — where on earth do I start?”
You’re not alone! Whether you’re getting into Android to build a nice portfolio of apps for your next job search, or to build your reputation in the open-source community, or even just for the fun of it, you want to get up to speed in the least amount of time possible. On top of that, because the Android world moves so fast, you need to be sure that you’re not learning old information that will lead you astray.
How to Get Started Building Android Apps
First, it feels like there are a lot of things you need to know to build robust, beautiful apps:
- Basic concepts like Layouts, Activities, debugging and networking
- Persisting user data and communicating between Activities & Fragments
- Building out your UI and adhering to Material Design principles
- Manging more advanced elements, like mapping and media playback
- …and then there’s the whole app release cycle as well!
Finding the right resources, as well as ones that are up-to-date, can be challenging.
But we’ve got just the right book, with just the right sample apps, to help you level up as an Android developer as you build out your first real-world Android apps: Android Apprentice!
How Can This Book Help?
This book is your introduction to building great apps for Android, using the Kotlin language. Whether you consider yourself a novice programmer, or have experience programming on other platforms, this is the book for you!
It’s not our aim to teach you all the ins and outs of Android development, or teach you the entire Kotlin language. They are huge concepts on their own, and there’s no way we can cover everything.
Instead, this book helps you master the essential strategies you need to build great Android apps using Kotlin. You’ll be able to take the core lessons from this book and bring them forward into your future apps, where you’ll be able to apply them to more complicated app scenarios you encounter.
The most important thing you’ll learn is how to think like a programmer. This will help you approach any programming task with confidence, whether it’s a game, a utility, a mobile app that uses web services, or anything else you can imagine.
Updated for Android 11
We know it’s frustrating to find Android development resources or courses on the internet, only to realize too late that it’s several years old, and that the concepts just don’t apply anymore.
That’s why we’ve completely updated the Fourth Edition of this book, from top to bottom, for the latest and greatest versions of everything:
- Updated for Android 11, Android Studio 4.1, and Kotlin 1.4
- Updated for 2021 Google Play Store processes
- Updated all sample apps for modern design patterns and for best practices such as databinding!
What’s Inside the Book?
Android Apprentice has everything you need to know about building your first Android app, all the way to publishing it for sale, in a whopping 31 chapters divided into six sections:
- Section I – Your First Android App: This is your introduction to creating apps in Android. This section will take you step-by-step through installing Android Studio and working inside the IDE and visual designer while you build Timefighter, a simple game that uses many common Android components.
- Section II – Building a List App: In this section, you’re going to create your own project from scratch! You’ll also learn how to persist data to your app using SharedPreferences and create different screens dedicated to different tasks. Towards the end of the section, you’ll learn how to change your app to adapt to different screen sizes using Fragments, and how to enhance your apps to follow Material Design principles.
- Section III – Creating Map-Based Apps: In this section, you’ll build PlaceBook, a location based app that lets you bookmark your favorite places and save some notes about each place. This section introduces several new concepts including Google Maps, Room database, drawer navigation, and camera control.
- Section IV – Building a Podcast Manager & Player: This section gets a bit more advanced. You’re going to build a podcast manager and player app named PodPlay. You’ll cover networking, notifications, working with REST and XML, and the Android media libraries.
- Section V – Android Compatibility: This section covers two Android topics that are almost as important as your Android app itself: how to handle the collection of Android versions out there, known as the fragmentation problem, and how to best keep your app up to date in the face of constant updates to Android.
- Section VI – Publishing Your App: Now that you’ve created your app, you need to get it out to the world! This section has two chapters that teach you how to prepare your app for release, how to test your app, and how to publish your app to your waiting fans!
- Basic knowledge of Kotlin
- A computer capable of running Android Studio (Windows, Mac, Linux). See https://developer.android.com/studio for more specific requirements.
- If you want to test on actual devices, you’ll need one or more Android devices. However, all the examples in the book will run using the Emulator included with Android Studio.
- Buy it individually: If you want to build up a custom library without a subscription, you can choose to buy the book individually. It’s available now for just $59.99 in our online store.
- Get it as part of our subscriptions: Enjoy access to our videos and mobile development books in our Ultimate Beginner and Ultimate Pro subscription, including Android Apprentice! Right now, you can get a full year’s subscription and save 20% off the cost of a regular monthly subscription. It’s simply the best investment for your mobile development career.
What are you waiting for? You can start reading the first part of the book for free:
What Do You Need?
To follow along with this book, you’ll need the following:
What if I Don’t Know Kotlin?
If you don’t know the basics of Kotlin, no problem! We’ve got you covered. Check out our Kotlin Apprentice book.
It teaches you everything you need to know about Kotlin, and goes into the language in great depth!
How to Get Your Own Copy
There are two ways you can get this book:
We hope you enjoy this book! Feel free to reach out to us if you have any questions.
Say “Hi” to the Authors!
Meet the genius minds behind this awesome book:
Namrata Bandekar is a Software Engineer focusing on native Android and iOS development. When she’s not developing apps, she enjoys spending her time travelling the world with her husband, SCUBA diving and hiking with her dogs. She has also spoken at a number of international conferences on mobile development. Say hi to Namrata on Twitter: @NamrataCodes.
Darryl Bayliss is a Mobile Engineer at Axon Vibe and lives in London with his wonderful girlfriend Rachael. Away from programming he is usually reading or playing some fantastical video game involving magic and dragons. You can say hello on Twitter over at @dazindustries.
Fuad Kamal provides mobile strategy, architecture and development for the Health, Fitness and Telematics markets. If you’ve ever been to an airport, you’ve likely seen his work — the flight arrival and departure screens are a Flash 7 interface he wrote towards the beginning of the millennium. He’s also into photography. He can be contacted through @FlexRonin on Twitter and Instagram.
Kevin Moore enjoys developing Android and iOS applications and now Flutter apps. He has been programming on the Android platform for over 10 years, iOS for a year and Flutter for two years. He has courses on Kotlin at LinkedIn.com and RayWenderlich.com and has worked on three books.
Start Reading For Free Today
Android Apprentice is out today — and even better, you can start reading the first section of the book for free:
Like all of our beginner books, Android Apprentice has been automatically added to the collections of all Ultimate Beginner & Ultimate Pro subscribers!
On behalf of the book team, thank you, and we wish you all the success with your Android app projects!