OMG! It’s official – I am an app developer. I have been playing with a gem of a program from MIT called App Inventor. It’s free, easy to use and I’ll let you know how kids get on with it next week. Meanwhile, this kid is having a ball playing with it.
Basically, you build apps by working with:
- The App Inventor Designer where you select the components for your app
- The App Inventor Blocks Editor where you assemble program blocks that specify how the components should behave
You assemble programs visually, fitting pieces together like pieces of a puzzle.
Your app appears on the phone step-by-step as you add pieces to it, so you can test your work as you build. When you have finished, you can package your app and produce a stand-alone application to install.
If you don’t have an Android phone, you can build your apps using the Android emulator, software that runs on your computer and behaves just like the phone.
The App Inventor development environment is supported for Mac OS X, GNU/Linux, and Windows operating systems, and several popular Android phone models. Applications created with App Inventor can be installed on any Android phone. (See system requirements.)
Before you can use App Inventor, you need to set up your computer and install the App Inventor Setup package on your computer.
MIT took over this project when Google abandoned it and have now made it available free of charge. Brilliant.