13/07/2010

Google makes developing Android apps easy-as-pie

Google has made available App Inventor for Android that allows anyone to develop an Android application with minimal programming (if any) knowledge.

The website has uses visual building blocks which are dragged on to the 'canvas' and these can link to other functions. Access to the lower level Android functions (like GPS location and SMS) are available.

There are basic functions like buttons, canvas, checkboxes, etc and then media, animation, social, sensors and screen arrangement functions allowing complex applications to be constructed. It uses the Open Blocks Java library, which is distributed by MIT's (Massachusetts Institute of Technology's) Scheller Teacher Education Program which was used to develop the Scratch programming language. The compiler that converts the visual framework to a native Android app uses the Kawa language.

App Inventor for Android isn't openly available yet and potential users have to complete a form (using a GMail address) entering information about what App Inventor will be used for.

There are around 60,000+ apps in Android Marketplace, compared to over 200,000 in Apples app store, maybe this could redress the balance.
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