Drag and Drop your own Android apps with App Inventor

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.