DECP 03: e-Learning Application Development
Introduction to App Inventor
If you like the idea of creating your own App but don’t have any coding skills, you may be very interested to hear about Google’s new offering. The "App Inventor" is a new tool which allows non-programmers to build fully working applications for Android. Google announced the availability of the App Inventor on its blog in july 2010.
To use App Inventor, you do not need to be a developer. App Inventor requires NO programming knowledge. This is because instead of writing code, you visually design the way the app looks and use blocks to specify the app’s behavior. Google has been working on the tool for years and it has been tested in schools and colleges before its final launch. Infact, many universities around the globe, App Inventor is taught as a core curriculum course to non-computer-science majors. Many of the students take the course because they hate Math and the course covers this dreaded requirement and that is why App Inventor is getting huge response as its serving as a hot cake.
"App Inventor" works by using blocks for everything you can do with an Android phone, such as store information in a database, repeat actions and integrate with services such as Amazon and Twitter. The App Inventor also provides access to a GPS-location sensor, so you can build apps use your current location and that too without incorporating any programming skills into it. Despite the non-technical background of the students, they’ve been able to learn a lot of android skills and build some apps with extraordinary impact. Daniel Finnegan, an English Honnours Student, created "No Texting While Driving", an app that auto-responds to incoming texts and speaks them aloud. His app was cited in the New York Times and featured in a Wired.com article. So this is how App Inventor has brought in a revolution in the Apps market and Development market where a non programmer can convert their ideas into a successfully working app at Android Market and some could make their ideas as a revenue model through fun learning android technologies like this.
The students in this type of course, all beginners in computer science, now present their apps alongside senior and master’s students, causing the traditional students to exclaim, “why didn’t we get to build such cool things when we started!”. Though not an explicit goal of the course, many of the students now continue on to take the next course in the Computer Science because of Android.