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Google's Killer App: DIY Mobile Development For Android

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Google's release of App Inventor for Android is set to cause the biggest change in the mobile app development industry this year. All of a sudden, app consumers have the chance to become app creators. In fact, the site claims that you need no programming experience to write your apps, instead using a drag and drop approach build on the Open Blocks Java library.  As well as adding in user interface related functionality, blocks exist for communicating to services such as Twitter.

Projects are simply created through your browser, and can be downloaded directly to your phone or to your computer. The intro video shows how easy it can be:

I have yet to use App Inventor, but if it creates an initial project structure that you can edit independently after using App Inventor, it could really lower the learning curve for app development in Android. One thing for sure is that by making things this easy for app developers, Apple really need to start taking notice of what Google are doing. For anyone looking to make a quick buck in the app industry, App Inventor will be their way in.



Fabrizio Giudici replied on Tue, 2010/07/13 - 1:16pm

Hmm.... While it's a smart thing, I don't see Apple worrying about it. While Inventor faces the problem that iStuff users are less and less computer-acculturated by making development simpler, I don't see tons of people interested in developing an app, even when the task is simpler; 99.9% (I don't know how many decimal digits follow) of people want to use apps, not write them (just consider how tiny is the fraction of people who spend a few seconds to give you a star or a comment on the stores, figure it out how few would be attracted by the idea of working on it).

Thus, I see Inventor as a way to have more developers, have people talking about Android in schools and colleges, all good stuff, but not more people buying Android because of it. To sell more Android, manufacturers should rather focus on a) cooler graphic design of devices (just yesterday we was discussing at my local JUG that only the Nexus One come reasonably close to the coolness of iPhone design, while other appliances such as the Motorola Droid, that are technically excellent, are extremely poor in this respect) and b) more advertisement about the Android brand (outside the USA).

Max Tritschler replied on Tue, 2010/07/13 - 3:29pm

IMO the move to publish the App Inventor targets the long tail of apps for the Android phones platform. To enable inexperienced developers to create their own apps is not going to produce the most popular apps, but rather a huge amount of apps that are only used by a couple of users but - if it works out - could someday make up the majority of available apps.

Brian Reich replied on Wed, 2010/07/14 - 6:53am

Yay!!!! Visual Basic 6 for Android! </sarcasm>

Eileen Sampson replied on Tue, 2010/09/07 - 6:50pm

This is a fantastic idea. There are a lot of mobile application development tools out there now but I think it'll be great to have it right there on your phone. Nearly idiot proof, now whenever someone has a great idea for an app they can do it right then and there, no worries about forgetting your amazing idea! Awesome! I just hope it's as easy as they say it will is!

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