Last week Google launched App Inventor a visual development tool to build Android applications. This tool will allow anyone to create an Android app without writing even a single line of code.
The App Inventor comes loaded with many blocks for creating UI elements, programming blocks, storage blocks, social blocks, media blocks etc, these blocks can be arranged in to logical sequence by drag and drop to develop an application.
Some organizations/universities have had the opportunity to use it as a part of the private beta program and here’s a video of a professor and student from The University of San Francisco sharing their experience of using App–
The App Inventor has some basic and advanced tutorials that will help users start creating Android apps. The tutorials list have “Quiz Me”,“MakeQuiz, and TakeQuiz” tutorials which show how to develop the quiz apps. App Inventor can be used for developing mLearning, quiz apps, mini learning games etc. It also has social media blocks for connecting to services like Twitter .
I think allowing just about anyone to built Android app without programming knowledge will boost the number of apps available for Android.. This would help the domain as now SMEs would be able to develop the Android apps themselves without the help of a developer/programmer. With the cost of experimenting with new designs and timelines to develop an app being reduced we should see some significant progress on mlearning apps development.
To begin with the App Inventor is available only for the Android platform (understandable). It would be interesting to see if it supports other mobile platforms to in future – that potentially can be a big help to development of cross platform apps.And it would be interesting to see if Apple releases a similar tool to ease out the development for iOS devices.