Starting today, Google is offering a software tool developed with the goal of making it easier for users with no programming knowledge to create apps. Engadget writes that Android App Inventor "relies on visual blocks rather than oodles of arcane code, the App Inventor -- still in Beta, of course -- has functions for "just about anything" you can do with an Android handset, including access to GPS and phone functionality."
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.
The App Inventor team has created blocks for just about everything you can do with an Android phone, as well as blocks for doing "programming-like" stuff-- blocks to store information, blocks for repeating actions, and blocks to perform actions under certain conditions. There are even blocks to talk to services like Twitter.
TechCrunch takes a slightly more pessimistic view of the release of this program:
It also makes it easy for “regular” people to make apps. But as many web developers will tell you, the rise of WYSIWYG editors in their field led to an explosion of shitty websites.
Tools like Dreamweaver and eventually online WYSIWYG HTML editors from the likes of Geocities, made it so easy for anyone to create webpages that the web quickly filled up with garbage. Thankfully (and appropriately), Google popped up to restore of sense of order to the madness with Pagerank and its search engine. This allowed people to wade through the junk and still be able to find the quality sites.
Check out the video showing App Inventor in action:
TechCrunch also notes that there is a flip-side to giving nearly anyone the ability to create an app:
Because this new tool makes it easy for anyone to make their own apps, it makes the idea of trying to create your own app a much less daunting one. And that’s the powerful thing here. If this tool can get some kid to start messing around with app creation, maybe they’ll get more interested and start learning actual Java. And then maybe one day they’ll create the next killer app.
Interested? The New York Times mentions some important note on how to get started:
A sign-up with a Google Gmail account is required. The tool is Web-based except for a small software download that automatically syncs the programs created on a personal computer, connected to the application inventor Web site, with an Android smartphone.
Head over here to fill out an application and get developing.
Image from Engadget