The Omnibus Begins

The Big Book Reboot is an effort to rebuild the CommonsWare Android books into a single integrated ebook, focusing on the current recommended practices for Android application development (e.g., fragments).

Eventually, the results of the Reboot will be Version 4.0 of The Busy Coder’s Guide to Android Development. Interim editions of the Reboot, though, are being made available to subscribers and are referred to as the Android Development Omnibus (or simply the Omnibus, for short).

Subscribers who log into their Warescription page will see a new row in the books table for Version 0.1 of the Omnibus in EPUB format. New updates to the Omnibus are expected weekly.

The Reboot is also rebooting the book generation process used here at CommonsWare, so the next couple of months will have a few rocky patches. Your patience is greatly appreciated.

The Omnibus has about a half-dozen chapters at the moment, covering setting up the development tools, creating an initial project, and examining the project’s contents (particularly the manifest). Much of this is the same material as seen in The Busy Coder’s Guide to Android Development.

Subscribers are welcome to peek at the Omnibus and provide feedback on what is there. As the weeks progress, some of the material added to the Omnibus will be completely new and potentially of interest to long-time readers. The Omnibus should be complete sometime in May, if all goes according to plan. Given my surname, that’s far from certain.

Some other notes about the Omnibus:

  • The Omnibus is being manually generated for now. This means that people who newly subscribe, or renew an expired subscription, will not be able to download the Omnibus until the next weekly update. The Omnibus will be automatically generated by the time is is completed and replaces the other books.

  • The cover for Version 0.1 of the Omnibus is simply the last cover from The Busy Coder’s Guide to Android Development. I will try to remember to customize the cover a bit for the next update.

  • The Omnibus will show changed material in two places. In the Table of Contents, changed sections will be listed in bold italic font, and that should be usable on all reader software. Specific new and changed paragraphs will be highlighted with change bars down the right side of the page. However, many readers screw up the HTML/CSS that the book requests and will not show the change bars. Recent tests indicate that Mantano Reader is the only EPUB reader that reliably shows the change bars. The “changed material” markers for Version 0.1 are inaccurate, as a side-effect of this initial release. Future versions should accurately show what changed from the previous release.

  • As mentioned, Version 0.1 is only available in EPUB. MOBI support should come next week with Version 0.2. PDF support should start up in April. And there will be other options coming online as well, one of which you will learn about in the coming weeks.

  • The Warescription Web site was updated to list the Omnibus, and it was updated to the latest GWT to hopefully help a bit with browser compatibility. By the time the Omnibus is completed, the Warescription Web site will be rewritten as a classic Web site, eliminating GWT and hopefully eradicating any compatibility issues.

  • You can read more about The Big Book Reboot in The Big Book Reboot: Why and The Big Book Reboot: The Trails.

If you encounter problems with the Omnibus or have other Omnibus-related feedback, please contact me at omnibus /at\ commonsware.com.


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