Drag and Drop your own Android apps with App Inventor

Drag and Drop your own Android apps with App Inventor

Summary: Create an Android App with no programming knowledge


Earlier this year Google announced an invitation-only solution called App Inventor. The web-based product offered the ability for non-developers to easily drag-and-drop to create Android applications that can tap into the phone's GPS. Now App Inventor is available to anyone with a Google Account.

The App Inventor is pretty straight forward to use. You fire up your browser, login to Appinventor.googlelabs.com, and as you build, the app starts appearing on your phone. Some examples from Google include a quiz app and games, but you can make just about anything using the App Inventor.

I mentioned that you simply drag-and-drop--the Google team has created blocks that do the "programming-like" stuff. For example, dragging a Button box over to the Viewer lets you instantly give that button some text. Then you can drag over an action of Button1.CLick and have it play a sound, by selecting the sound. The video below does a great job of showing just how easy it is.

The only drawback to this way of developing Android apps is that Google doesn't give you a look into the back-end code. So, it can't really serve as a starting point for a traditional Android app that you can then tweak if you know how to develop. I'm also concerned that it's going to cause the Android Market to be overrun with amateur apps. That said, it's great to see that programming for Android is now available to non-developers, too, and in an easy to use product.

Topics: Hardware, Google, Mobility, Software Development, Telcos

Joel Evans

About Joel Evans

With more than 15 years of mobile, Internet and wireless experience, Joel specializes in taking existing brands and technologies into the mobile and wireless space. Joel is currently the VP of Strategy Integration for Mobiquity, an enterprise-class mobile solutions provider.

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  • RE: Drag and Drop your own Android apps with App Inventor

    no back end code...........either they don't want real devs using it or the back end code is pretty ugly!!
    • RE: Drag and Drop your own Android apps with App Inventor

      @RonanSail I think it is to prevent the script kiddies from dropping a line of malicious code into the app and causing havoc!!
      • RE: Drag and Drop your own Android apps with App Inventor

        @Parassassin but that wouldn't prevent giving read access to the generated code so devs can copy over to eclipse on their dev machines if they so wish
  • I too would love the "back-end" code.

    I really don't care about the UI, I just want easy access to the platform's "normal" look and feel so I can hook in my code and pass its output to something useful to the end user.

    This would be great for me.
  • better than app inventor

    I'd recommend using EyeMags.com to create apps for any phone including Android. You create it once and the apps work on all phones not just Android. What's more the Android app can be uploaded to Android Market. So this is a better than App Inventor. The apps are more like just content though, eyemags does not yet have access to the shake api or location, so in that sense app inventor does a little more. It can play a sound if you upgrade to the pro version though.