The Potential of AppInventor

July 30, 2011
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Have you ever wanted to create your own apps, but were unsure of how to go about doing so, and felt that learning to code seemed like a task that’s too challenging or involved? Don’t fear, fellow app-lover, for Google wants as many people to be involved with development for the Android platform as possible, and as a result are encouraging people to try AppInventor.

The concept is simple: say you want an app to display a feed, show stock market data, or display what O2Ā concerts are on this month, by pulling data down from the Internet. Sounds difficult, right? Not quite. AppInventor manages to side-step the lengthy coding process by using a block editor.

Imagine code, condensed into puzzle pieces. Clicking a “quit” button? Put that action-block in. What does it do? Snap a “close app” blockĀ into the button block, and there you have it! Your button now closes the app! If only all coding was this easy, right? Well, in fact, it is. Anything from buttons to pulling down data to drawing on the screen can be achieved here, and all for the pricey sum of nothing at all. It’s free.

Admittedly, there are limitations – for example, this is mainly for apps, rather than complex games. It also currently lacks the capability for multiple-screen apps, though if your screens number only a handful, then there is a clever workaround easily found by searching the web.

The potential seems endless, and of course, they’re still working on improvements and new features, so for now you can delve into it and create some new apps or perfect your skills via the tutorials and community, and wow your friends with your fantastic app ideas. Great for newbies, designers and prototypers alike, so jump in!

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