Ever wanted to teach students how to make their own apps on the computer but had absolutely no clue how to do it? As usual, Google to the rescue! (While it’s still in the early beta-testing stages, you can sign up and eventually get access to this tremendous resource.)
Google App Inventor claims to enable non-coders to develop complete, working Android apps by connecting a series of “blocks.” Google has been testing App Inventor in schools for a year, reports The New York Times.
It’s a smart concept. Not only is the Android Market an open platform for developers (with no approval process, a la Apple’s App Store), but now we’ll likely see a vast array of specialized apps built by non-developers. This could radically increase the volume of apps in the Market versus the App Store.
App Inventor is built on the idea that you do not need to be a developer to build great mobile applications. Instead of code, App Inventor allows you to visually design applications and use blocks to specify application logic. App Inventor is open by invitation only. You can learn more about App Inventor and request an invitation by clicking below.
What You Can Do
|Use the GPS-location sensor to build location aware apps
For example, build an app to help you remember where you parked your car.
|Make your apps communicate by using the phone functionality
For example, build an app that periodically texts “missing you” to your loved ones.
|Integrate with the web to build mashup applications
For example, build an app that talks to your favorite website like Twitter.
The expansion may, of course, come at the cost of quality. We’ll see thousands of new Android apps, but will they be of a “cookie cutter” nature, offering very little value? There is, however, an upside in the long term: If App Inventor is so simple that schoolchildren can make apps, some those same children will soon become coders themselves and perhaps choose to develop apps for Android rather than iOS.
Google and Apple are currently in a heated battle to win the hearts and minds of developers. Google, it seems, wants to win over the non-developers too.
It’s just for Google products, you can check out spots like AppMakr to see how to make simple iOS apps.
What do you think? Is it worth letting your students loose with this website and seeing what they come up with? Let me know in the comments!