Head First Android Development
A Brain-Friendly Guide
Publisher: O'Reilly Media
Final Release Date: November 2016
Pages: 944

With Early Release ebooks, you get books in their earliest form—the author's raw and unedited content as he or she writes—so you can take advantage of these technologies long before the official release of these titles. You'll also receive updates when significant changes are made, new chapters are available, and the final ebook bundle is released.

What will you learn from this book?

If you have an idea for a killer Android app, this fully revised and updated edition will help you build your first working application in a jiffy. You’ll learn hands-on how to structure your app, design interfaces, create a database, make your app work on various smartphones and tablets, and much more. It’s like having an experienced Android developer sitting right beside you! All you need to get started is some Java know-how.

Why does this book look so different?

Based on the latest research in cognitive science and learning theory, Head First Android Development uses a visually rich format to engage your mind, rather than a text-heavy approach that puts you to sleep. Why waste your time struggling with new concepts? This multi-sensory learning experience is designed for the way your brain really works.

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Product Details
About the Author
Recommended for You
Customer Reviews


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oreillyHead First Android Development

(based on 2 reviews)

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really useful book - look forward to rest of chapters

By ruth

from london, uk

About Me Developer, Educator, Maker

Verified Buyer


  • Accurate
  • Easy to understand
  • Helpful examples
  • helpful excersises
  • Well-written


  • Too basic

Best Uses

  • Intermediate
  • Novice
  • Student

Comments about oreilly Head First Android Development:

i like the way it takes one through the coding slowly, and the exercises. It is really very good at showing how pieces of code affect the app, i.e. it is really good at teaching the coding skills needed for android apps. As far as it goes it's really useful, but i'm waiting impatiently for more chapters

(8 of 9 customers found this review helpful)


A glowing, shiny gem!

By croworc

from Carlsberg, Germany

About Me Developer, Learner

Verified Reviewer


  • Accurate
  • Concise
  • Easy to understand
  • Helpful examples
  • Well-written


    Best Uses

    • Novice
    • Self-learning
    • Student

    Comments about oreilly Head First Android Development:

    [Warning: This review may contain traces of irony, language not appropriate for adult audiences or severely biased (yet accurate!) opinions.]

    As you certainly know, Google partners with Udacity for its Android-related developer education programs (among many other topics, for that matter).
    "Head First Android Development" is the leading title on the "recommended readings" list for the "Android Nanodegrees by Google" (Basics & Fundamentals Courses) of Google's "Android Developer Advocate" Jessica Lin at Udacity (followed by "Professional Android 4 Application Development" by Google's Reto Meier, "Head of Scalable Developer Advocacy" and BigNerdRanch's "Android Programming: The Big Nerd Ranch Guide, 2nd Edition").

    And that's for a reason:

    Let's face it - the Android ecosystem is huge. That is to say: huuuge!
    Not only does that hold true for Android-powered hardware out "in the wild" - from smartphones and tablets to smartwatches, fitness trackers, drones, TVs, Google Cast devices, car integration, Google Things IoT devices, AR/VR devices, medical appliances... you name it.
    But it's also true - and even more so - for the software stack, developers have to deal with/can make use of.
    Further more: not only is it a vast and swiftly (no pun intended) evolving Android universe that's out there, it's an expanding one, and - in harmonious agreement with the rest of the universe - its expansion is accelerating, too.

    That's due to the tight integration of this open source platform to an ever growing plethora of services and platforms that you as a developer can utilize, like the Firebase platform, Google Cloud Vision, Google Actions (for Google's Assistant), location services, Google Maps and Google Places, natural language processing, (~speech recognition/understanding, speech generation), access to AI services like Google's "DeepMindLab" / Elon Musk's OpenAI "Universe" services, context-awareness APIs, the new Android Things platform and what have you.

    From a beginners perspective (and not only from a beginner's one, for that matter), inadvertently some key questions will arise:
    - But how on earth do I start??
    - How can I be sure not to miss out on something fundamentally important?
    - How do I know I'm doing it the "right way"?
    - How can I be sure to learn the most recent, up-to-date patterns/features/APIs etc.
    - And how can I be sure to reach a point from where I'll be able to proceed with a solid foundation and with confidence, from the "playground" into the "real world" of app development (and not to have reached a dead-end)?
    - And when I'm done, will I have maintained my mental sanity - and will then cake be served?

    Well, Head First Android Development has been the friendly, knowledgeable, patient instructor on that journey from its first edition on.
    You'll gain a rock-solid understanding of the underpinnings of your apps as well as a proven path to get you up-and-running (or diving) into the realms of app design/development for Android. And that up to a point where you'll have gained a fair overview of what the Android platform has to offer to you, and how to proceed from where you're now.

    Plus, you will do so the famous "Head First"-way: challenging the logical you, while at the same time stretching your brain's significant other (hemisphere) to contribute a different perspective, emotional attachment and surprises along the way.
    You'll be given brain teasers of all kind: puzzles, crosswords, criminal investigations, camp fire stories and what not, to get both of you involved.
    Because, you know the old saying:
    "He that will eat the kernel, must crack the nut."
    (And no, that isn't a citation of Linus Thorvalds, beg you...)

    You will kindly be nudged forward, by patiently repeating concepts, over and over again, presenting them in slightly different contexts and interesting ways each time. And, by the way, with even more swag than in the previous edition. :-)
    Along the way, the authors will take the fear out of being confronted with new, daunting concepts.
    They could as well have printed "Don't Panic" in big letters on the front cover.
    Which, of course, they couldn't, due to possible copyright infringements with the "Great Publishing Corporations" of Ursa Minor.
    Oh well, they did better! They put a welcoming "Relax!" **into** the book, just whenever you needed it (like, when Android moved it's permission-granting mechanism from app install time to feature-request time, starting with Marshmallow. But I'm digressing...).
    Plus, you get a drink for free, every time. Ha! Eat that, Megadodo Publications!

    Will you learn everything there is to learn? No. That's straightforward impossible - and not only so for a book. But you will learn everything crucial for a fair understanding of how things are wired-up in Android and what choices you have in building an app that's up to par, modern and even good looking; an app that's equally accessible as it is a joy to use.

    Will it be your only book on Android app development? Certainly (hopefully) not.
    (Among others: please see the two titles mentioned at the beginning, and also "The Busy Coder's Guide to Android Development" by CommonsWare.)
    But its a great way to get you started, that's for sure!

    And the best point is: it will leave you excited and determined to continue from there.
    Because you want to become the able, skilled, trustworthy developer that you know you can be, won't you?!
    And, probably even more so because, now that you've begun understanding what you could do, you will want to feed your curiosity even more, add new skills to your tool belt, maybe even progress onto a route to machine learning? So why not! The sky is the limit!
    In the realms of CS, you can nowadays learn (almost) everything you'd want to learn online, from the very best in their respective fields. And, for the most part, even without a higher cost than just your willingness to dive into and to hang tough. And that's because the notion of collaborative development and open access (open science, open education...) has become (and is even becoming more so) a widely accepted and endeavored method of expediting (computer-) science and education, providing the possibility to collaborate w/ people you'd probably never had a chance to exchange with just two decades ago, and also having fun doing so.

    So, to conclude, go grab yourself a copy of that book and start into this adventure!

    And if you can't afford it on your own, share it w/ someone else. Pair programming, you know :-)
    (Or sell your grandpa's old, fusty Sinclair ZX81 - he may not talk to you for some months, though...
    That way, you could then also afford the upcoming "Head First Flutter Development"** and be among the very first to jump onto Google's next-generation, rising Flutter framework, build apps for Android *and* iOS with just a single codebase, have them run natively and earn gazillons of bucks. No, don't thank me for that heads-up, just mention me in your bio. Which you'll then undoubtedly be able to write three years later, after having retired from your multi-trillion dollar Google-successor-two-folks-start-up unicorn [that pair-programming thing, remember Larry and Sergey?!]).
    **[ @O'Reilly: you know, you want such a book published, as early as possible, right?!! C'mon, folks! ;-) ]

    Also, in addition to reading this book (and others), you'll want to make use of the load of valuable resources out there, like:
    - Podcasts (e.g. "Fragmented", IMHO one of the finest Android dev-centric podcasts out there)
    - Tutorials/Samples/Guides (like CodePath's Cliffnotes, the Vogella tutorials and of course, Google's Android samples, easily accessible from within Android Studio)
    - Software repositories to learn from and maybe even contribute to, on GitHub, Bitbucket etc.
    - Android Developer communities, like those on Google+ (e.g. "Android Development", "Android Performance Patterns", "Firebase", "Android Developer Tools"...)
    - YouTube channels dedicated to Android dev, like Google's own "Android Developers", "Firebase", "Google Design"...
    - Newsletters, like "Android Weekly"
    - And, while we're at it: you certainly know that Google has made its course material, that comprises the famous "Nanodegrees" on Udacity, freely accessible for everyone to jump right in. So, you may learn at your own pace while being able to exchange with a load of fellow students on the free courses.

    So now it's all up to you, without fear, to dive right in: Head First!


    [Courses by Google]
    - Free Udacity course "Android Development for Beginners by Google" (https://www.udacity.com/course/android-development-for-beginners--ud837)
    - Free Udacity course "Developing Android Apps by Google" (https://www.udacity.com/course/new-android-fundamentals--ud851)

    - Fragmented (http://fragmentedpodcast.com/)
    - Android Developers Backstage (androidbackstage.blogspot.com)
    - Android Intelligence (http://podcast.androidintel.net/)
    - CodeNewbie (http://www.codenewbie.org/podcast)
    - Software Engineering Radio - The Podcast for Professional Software Developers (http://www.se-radio.net/)

    - CodePath Android Cliffnotes (http://guides.codepath.com/android)
    - tutorialspoint (https://www.tutorialspoint.com/)
    - Vogella (http://www.vogella.com/tutorials/android.html)

    - Android Programming: The Big Nerd Ranch Guide (2nd Edition) (https://www.bignerdranch.com/books/android-programming/)
    - CommonsWare: "The Busy Coder's Guide to Android Development" (https://commonsware.com/)

    - Android Weekly (http://androidweekly.net/)

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