Over the past few months, Kristin Marsicano, myself, and many others on the Android team here at Big Nerd Ranch have worked on the fourth edition of Android Programming: The Big Nerd Ranch Guide. We have a lot of good things in store for the next version, and we want to give you a sneak peek of some of the improvements.
The biggest change in this version is that Big Nerd Ranch is going all-in on Kotlin. We’ve been using Kotlin for our consulting projects for quite a while now, and since Kotlin now has first-party support for Android, updating the book to use it was the obvious path forward. We believe that using Kotlin makes development simpler and more fun, and we’re very excited to be rolling out these updates. We have already taught our Android Essentials bootcamp using Kotlin and we’ve gotten great feedback and support on the changes. This kind of feedback from our classes in invaluable as it helps direct future changes to our books and class materials.
We are also overhauling the book to reflect current best practices in Android development today. Architecture Components are a natural fit for the new materials as they provide an opinionated guide to app architecture that is easy to implement and follow for new developers. Room, ViewModels, and LiveData make appearances to teach best practices around data storage, as well as loading and maintaining it across rotation. Other Architecture Components are being investigated as well to see how we can add them to our existing examples.
The book will now use third-party libraries to focus on how modern Android applications are
developed, instead of strictly focusing only on the APIs within the framework. One example is
HttpURLConnection in favor of modern libraries which allows you to focus more on what
you want your app to do instead of low-level implementation details. This is a big departure from
our previous books, but we believe that this will better prepare you to dive into professional
application development after reading our book.
At this point, the fourth edition of our book has fully been converted to use Kotlin. We are finalizing decisions on new content. Writing that content will be our focus in the coming months. Updating our books is always a huge undertaking, but we are very excited about what is in store, and we can’t wait to get the book published. Stay tuned for more updates on the release timeline for the fourth edition of our Android Programming guide, and leave a comment below if there is anything you would like to see in the next version!
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