Without a doubt, mobile device users dominate today’s society. Upwards of 90% of adults in the United States have a cell phone, with almost 60% of those being smartphones? Smartphones such as Apple’s iPhone or Google Android devices provide an opportunity to delve into the world of “apps”, mobile applications to perform actions on the go.
If you are a smartphone user, it may be possible that one time or another you’ve asked “why isn’t there an app for that?” What you might rather ask yourself after reading this is, “why haven’t I made this app yet?”
Established in 2010, AppInventor, now maintained by MIT, provides the unique opportunity for novice programmers or anyone familiar with computers to develop mobile applications for Android devices with ease. The AppInventor website boasts a whopping 7.5 million mobile applications developed through AppInventor, proving its quality as an app development tool. This justification may be unneeded, however, due to the project’s affiliation to MIT. AppInventor is considered “block-based” programming, meaning that instead of typing code you arrange building blocks to achieve a task. This transforms an area of expertise into a leisurely creative studio in which applications can be forged. Using visual design instead of hard code allows beginning app developers to achieve their needs efficiently and with less frustration. You can think of designing your mobile application as building Legos instead of deciphering a foreign language. Furthermore, the website itself provides ample documentation, tutorials, and resources to get you heading in the right direction.
Don’t have an Android device? No problem. AppInventor provides an installable Android emulator to test your app designs on the computer. So, you want to develop a mobile application? Give AppInventor a go (www.appinventor.mit.edu).