Have you ever wanted to develop an app for Android, but lacked the coding knowledge? Does learning how to use the necessary programming tools to write an app just seem too overwhelming? Enter App Inventor.
You can build just about any app you can imagine with App Inventor. Often people begin by building games like WhackAMole or games that let you draw funny pictures on your friend’s faces. You can even make use of the phone’s sensors to move a ball through a maze based on tilting the phone.
But app building is not limited to simple games. You can also build apps that inform and educate. You can create a quiz app to help you and your classmates study for a test. With Android’s text-to-speech capabilities, you can even have the phone ask the questions aloud.
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.
App Inventor wants to take the average mildly tech-savvy user, and let them take control of how they use applications on their device, by letting the user build them. Just because you start off with little to no knowledge on how to use App Inventor, doesn’t mean you can only pump out terrible games for your friends to make fun of. As the quoted text above mentions, there are plenty of practical easy ways to utilize App Inventor; study guides, quizzes, etc. The idea is that everyone will start with small games and novel ideas, and then (hopefully) move into greater and grander projects. Of course, you could always just stick with the games and quizzes, but we know your better than that.
I have to admit… at first, this scared me. It brought me back to the days of Tripod, Angelfire, and Geocities. Make an HTML based easy website designer that anyone can use, and boom, the internet explodes with TERRIBLE sites that clog search engines to the point of explosion. Can you imagine if the lady’s cat app in the video above seriously went into the Market? Can you imagine that times a million? It’s a scary thought.
Then I calmed down and had a brilliant idea: What if a restaurant owner made an app of their menu. They could have a QR code available on the window outside the store that linked to the app. Once it was scanned, downloaded, and installed… you could magnify the text with zoom, look at full color pictures, and even listen to the menu aloud. If these were the kind of apps that were made and utilized, then App Inventor would be hailed as simply genius. If it heads in the opposite direction, well… let’s hope Google has thought of some brilliant filters to make our app browsing lives a little easier. You can check out some tutorials and grab some more info on the official app Inventor site that’s live now.
So what would/will you do with App Inventor? What kind of app has your creative juices flowing? Be sure to let us know in the comments below.