Update 7/19/2010 @ 5:20PM EST: App Inventor invites are rolling out now! Let us know if you receive one! (via Reddit)
Ever wanted to become an Android developer and write your own app, but felt overwhelmed by programming language? Well, Google heard your cries! As of today, Google is releasing a do-it-yourself application creation tool, called App Inventor for Android. The beta of App Inventor should be available publicly as early as today, but you will need to sign up with your GMail account for access before you can get started.
Google considers App Inventor a comprehensive tool capable of creating anything you could think of, from maze and Whackamole games to apps utilizing the accelerometer, from educational quiz games using text-to-speech to apps utilizing GPS services.
And the most fascinating part about App Inventor is that it requires no knowledge of programming! Google Labs has prepared for you a handy UI, on which you can build your apps with ease. The first test users included sixth graders, high school girls, nursing students, and college undergrads (who weren't computer science majors). And supposedly, all of these demographics were able to develop apps with ease. How does it work? You'll be basically dragging and dropping "blocks". Google explains how "blocks" are the cornerstone of App Inventor:
The App Inventor team has created blocks for just about everything you can do with an Android phone, as well as blocks for doing "programming-like" stuff-- blocks to store information, blocks for repeating actions, and blocks to perform actions under certain conditions. There are even blocks to talk to services like Twitter... The blocks editor uses the Open Blocks Java library for creating visual blocks programming languages.
The goal of App Inventor, as described by the project leader, Harold Abelson:
App Inventor is web-based, but there is a small application you will need to download, in order to sync your work between Desktop PC, Android phone, and App Inventor webpage. Your Android phone needs to be connected via USB to your PC in order to get the software to work. Check out the video below, for App Inventor in action:The goal is to enable people to become creators, not just consumers, in this mobile world,” said , a computer scientist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, who is on sabbatical at Google and led the project. He goes on to say, that "We could only have done this because Android’s architecture is so open."
So who among us would be interested in working with such a tool? Do you think it will be powerful enough to create the app of your dreams? Let us know.
Check out some sample apps here
Sign up for App Inventor here
More Information about App Inventor here
Source: NY Times
(Thanks to Shadez for the tip)