Develop Android Apps Using MIT App Inventor

2016-08-08 - By 

There is a secret inventor inside each of us. Get your creative juices flowing and go ahead and develop an Android app or two. It is as easy as you think it is. Follow the detailed instructions given in this article, and you will have an Android app up and running in next to no time.

Imagine that you have come up with an idea for an app to address your own requirements, but due to lack of knowledge and information, don’t know where to begin. You could contact an Android developer, who would charge you for his services, and you would also risk having your idea being copied or stolen. You may also feel that you can’t develop the app yourself as you do not have the required programming and coding skills. But that’s not true. Let me tell you that you can develop Android apps on your own without any programming and coding. Here’s how:

An introduction to App Inventor
App Inventor is a tool that will convert your idea into a working application without the need for any prior coding or programming skills. App Inventor is the open source utility developed by Google in 2010 and, currently, it is being maintained by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). It allows absolute beginners in computer science to develop Android applications. It provides you with a graphical user interface with all the necessary components required to build Android apps. You just need to drag and drop the components in the block editor. Each block is an independent action, which you need to arrange in a logical sequence in order to result in some action.

App Inventor features
App Inventor is a feature-rich open source Android app development tool. Here are its features.

1. Open source: Being open source, the tool is free for everyone and you don’t need to purchase anything. Open source software also gives you the freedom to customise it as per your own requirements.

2. Browser based: App Inventor runs on your browser; hence, you don’t need to install anything onto your computer. You just need to log in to your account using your email and password credentials.

3. Stored on the cloud: All your app related projects are stored on Google Cloud; therefore, you need not keep anything on your laptop or computer. Being browser based, it allows you to log in to your account from any device and all your work is in sync with the cloud database.

4. Real-time testing: App Inventor provides a standalone emulator that enables you to view the behaviour of your apps on a virtual machine. Complete your project and see it running on the emulator in real-time.

5. No coding required: As mentioned earlier, it is a tool with a graphical user interface, with all the built-in component blocks and logical blocks. You need to assemble multiple blocks together to result in some behavioural action.

6. Huge developer community: You will meet like-minded developers from across the world. You can post your queries regarding certain topics and these will be answered quickly. The community is very supportive and knowledged.

System requirements
Given below are the system requirements to run App Inventor from your computer or laptop:
1. A valid Google account, as you need to log in using your credentials.
2. A working Internet connection, as you need to log in to the cloud-based browser that’s compatible with App Inventor; hence, a working Internet connection is a must.
3. App Inventor is compatible with Google Chrome 29+, Safari 5+ and Firefox 23+.
4. An Android phone to test the final, developed application.

Beginning with App Inventor
Hope you have everything to begin your journey of Android app development with App Inventor. Follow the steps below to make your first project.
1.   Open your Google Chrome/Safari/Firefox browser and open the Google home page.
2.   Using the search box, search for App Inventor.
3.   Choose the very first link. It will redirect you to the App Inventor project’s main page. This page contains all the resources and tutorials related to App Inventor. We will explore it later. For now, click on the Create button on the top right corner.
4.   The next page will ask for your Google account credentials. Enter your user name and password that you use for your Gmail application.
5.   Click on the Sign in button, and you will successfully reach the App Inventor app development page. If the page asks you to confirm your approval of certain usage or policy terms, agree with them all. It is all safe and is mandatory if you want to move ahead.
6.   If all is done correctly, you should see a page similar to what’s shown in Figure 5.
7.   Congratulations! You have successfully set up all the necessary things and can now develop your first application.

For step-by-step instructions to develop your first App Inventor application, and to see the full original article, go here.


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