Google wants to make anyone an Android app developer

Google has launched a tool that lets anyone develop Android applications, even people with absolutely no programming knowledge at all.

In fact, the new App Inventor for Android is aimed specifically at people with no prior programming knowledge.

This is because it all works based on a WYSIWYG (what you see is what you get) editor, an idea borrowed from web development. Only unlike web development editors, there doesn’t seem to be any way to enter or edit raw code into the App Inventor, even if you do know your way around with programming languages a little bit.

It uses a block-based infrastructure, where ‘blocks’ can be anything from buttons, links, to blocks that store information, have repetitive actions, and blocks to perform certain actions only under certain conditions. There are even blocks for letting your app talk to Amazon or Twitter. Apps you build can even create databases of information.

Using App Inventor to create an app doesn’t seem to limit how much of the phone’s hardware features you can make use of. You have access to the GPS, accelerometer and other sensors and you can even have your users speak to the app to make it perform actions.

You can also trigger actions to be taken by other parts of the Android OS, such as automatically texting “Sorry, I’m driving” messages to anyone who sends you an SMS while you’re using the app (and, presumably, driving).

There seems to be an endless amount of use-cases for applications developed with this tool, so I’m sure that over time we’ll see many very good ones. And this may, obviously, help Android in the ongoing battle with iOS over how many apps are available for each platform.

Here’s the brief video demo:

Access to App Inventor is currently granted only after you fill in this form, but getting in immediately is in no way guaranteed. Greater availability will presumably come soon, after Google has worked out all the kinks and squashed all the bugs.

If you have been granted access and want to play with it, make sure you check out the Getting Started guide, the Tutorials, and if you need any help, there’s a Google group just for that.

Sample applications are also available.

What are you waiting for then? Your career as an Android developer starts… now!

Via Google Labs

Author: Vlad Bobleanta

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