Google’s AppInventer was an ambitious project trying to make it possible for non-developers to create Android applications, that started off an invite-only product, and was recently made available to all as part of Google Labs.
Unfortunately Google Labs’ shutting down meant that AppInventer would no longer have a home. Fortunately, that is no longer the case, as Google has announced that AppInventer will be open-sourced, and has found a new home in a new MIT Center for Mobile Learning, at MIT’s Media Lab. The new center will be run by Professors Hal Abelson, Eric Klopfer and Mitchel Resnick of MIT.
For those who have not heard of Google AppInventer, it is a browser-based application by Google that allowed anyone to create an Android application without writing any code. Instead one could lay out the UI of the application using a simple drag-drop interface similar to those found in visual UI layout tools in IDEs. The logic of the application interconnecting the different UI elements could then be described using a system of interconnected blocks using another interface. The applications can also be directly transferred to a connected Android phone, or run in an emulator. The web application can even be used to debug directly from the web UI. All this is possible in AppInventer which is an entirely web-based application. The UI designer is HTML-based, however the block building bit is a Java app that integrates with the UI designer and the connected mobile / emulator. You can read more about it in our article here.
As part of MIT’s Center for Mobile Learning, the focus of AppInventer will research based, and as a tool to aid education. AppInventer started under MIT, with major contributions from them and now it is back in MIT’s hands.