Even Your Cat Can Create an App with Google App Inventor [Video]


At least that’s what I thought was going to happen within the first 5 seconds of this video. Google’s gone ahead and released the App Inventor, a DIY app creation tool that literally requires you to possess just a little grain of knowledge on how to put pieces of a puzzle together. The drag-and-drop, menu-driven interface ensures you’ll never have to take one look at code.

How useful this tool will be? We can’t say. I’d like to imagine that you can create more robust apps when you have your hand deep within the code (and the demo app that they created didn’t do the world’s greatest job in convincing me). We’re also afraid for what might inevitably happen to the Android market: 100,000+ apps won’t sound as hot when you’ve got a bunch of meow apps getting in your way of finding some true gems.

If you want to learn more about and try out App Inventor, be sure to make your way to the App Inventor labs page now.

Quentyn Kennemer
The "Google Phone" sounded too awesome to pass up, so I bought a G1. The rest is history. And yes, I know my name isn't Wilson.

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  1. What would make this absolutely awesome is if you could use it for rad (rapid application development). I.e you create the app quickly, however it looks and probably works terrible with many bugs. You then refine the code or rebuild it properly using an sdk like eclipse. At least it gives you an insight into how you would code your app.

  2. Hopefully the Market in Froyo will provide a way to filter out apps created using this tool…

  3. I forsee many more garbage apps hitting the market but this happens anyways so whats the difference? None really. I also can see companies all having apps sorta like they all have web pages now. I do think that this will enable some creative people to start building though. I wouldnt want my market to filter out apps built with this program because I see some great potential here. I would definitely use it and tweak the code, Eclipse can be a pain at times. Market should have some changes so that great apps can be more visible/discoverable.

  4. No one said it had to be loaded to the Market.

  5. This is awesome. Google should also make a tool for turning ideas into web apps hosted on App Engine without having to know how to do all the programming.

  6. damnit, you can’t use this without an Android phone.. MAN I”M SO SICK OF WAITING FOR MY ANDROID.. I HATE ATT!!! I have 3 apps i’ve been dying to write but I’m not very good with C++ or java.. I think I could use this to get all 3 up relatively quick.

    Whether they go on the market, isn’t a huge deal, but I’ll def. be using them on my phone..

  7. One thing to also note that it’s still in beta and the person who posted this should ov brought to you’re attention any thing in beta will have flaws hence beta title. As far as useless apps yes there maybe more but also there maybe someone that will find a way to begin to have a start. Every one starts somewhere I remember when I started with visual basic and because microsoft made it easy to learn the fundamentals ov programming I grad to c then c++ then after that every other language that has come out ever since is easy now. But I might be naive but lets see were this goes. We might be taken by surprise and maybe in the future when it’s in the final form we might see some new and upcoming programmers. But me I’m happy with using the SDK on ubuntu. I would actually prefer a dedicated program for this instead ov a ecplise add-on cause I hate it.

  8. WOW, i saw this application and i said wow. I’m not a programmer at all and the only programming experience i have was C+ back in my college days. i really wished i had this back in my college days. could make some really nice flash cards to help me study

    2 thumbs up for google!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  9. I could see this going either way. Either we’re gonna get a ton of garbage apps (assuming they’re put onto the market) or it could be a great starting point for serious developers to make apps and then refine the basic framework that this tool gives into something great.

  10. I can see the good and bad in it. It will allow people that just have some basic idea for their phones to easily build it and use it. For that aspect I think its great and makes Android even more compelling. However I’ve already seen a number of people saying “Yeaaa I can write Android apps without learning all that code ‘stuff'”. Thats where you’re going to end up with crash happy battery draining apps in the market. People will do whatever this tool allows them to do with no understanding of what they are doing. Google should maybe mark these apps if they are allowed in the market.

  11. Anyone know how long it takes fro them to respond after you fill out the form?

  12. I would also like also note that I know some people are a little scared ov learning or starting into the whole programming language. But for anyone with out experience that uses this application it will not turn you into a pro programmer at all it takes years I been programming for 15 years in C++ and to best honest I’m still learning im not green but I’m far away from being Bjarne Stroustrup or a Dennis Ritchie. For those that don’t know they are the Developers that created C++ and C. Yeah I should ov put C before C++ but whatever sue me. But I really think this will give noobs a nice staring point that they can build off ov idk. We just have to wait to see where this takes us. I’m not happy with Google not taking control ov there market maybe they will but I hope the control ain’t like Hitler over at Apple thou cause I’m not happy with the Nazi Regime with the App store.

  13. @Phil I think to be honest Google with maybe address this problem with code thats run efficient. With the conference they made it very clear that your battery should last all day and that its developers fault for this which Ill be honest i would have to disagree with that statement but I can’t throw that idea out in the trash neither.Cause they are right alot ov programmers out there dont know how to write efficient already I think this might be googles way making it more efficient idk. Right I’m just shoot in to the wind since i cant get my hands on the Developer tool.

  14. While many devs will undoubtedly shun this application, in the broader sense this has the potential to bring creativity directly to the user. Can’t get much more open source than that.

    Anyone will be able to create their own apps, and maybe even persuade a few young minds into becoming programmers.

  15. wow this is like Scratch (http://scratch.mit.edu/) for Android!

  16. I was just wondering if you build an app on this program will you be able to put it on to the market. I have tons of Ideas I wish I knew more about how to make a real good app, but maybe this will do.

  17. #16 yes of course an app is an app whether created in eclipse or in appinventor. Ari-free app inventor is based on scratch. Check the about page.

  18. I hope to get this soon, I filled out my form. I haven’t done any programming since college and really don’t want to take the time to learn to code for Android. I have a couple great app ideas that I will use even if I don’t end up putting them on the market. And if I do put them in the market they will just be free, I don’t care about making any money off of apps I am really just making for myself.

  19. For app designers this could be a wonderfully liberating and democratising tool. Of course the proof will be in the pudding, as I reckon for every decent worth while app you get from this tool there will be a hundred rubbish fart apps.

  20. @elijahblake I am not going to put my life on it but one of the men/women behind this project you will be able to use a emulator. I dont kwon the details but goto http://www.appinventor.org check the FAQ its the first question answer hope this helps.

  21. My cat is a drunk. This would not improve his Android app making. He is a fun drunk.

  22. @ari-free Having taught 10 and 11 year old children to use Scratch (a programming language created by MIT based on a very similar looking ‘building block’ interface) this looks like a great tool to encourage children to write their own programs… and I know what they’ll all want to know – can they sell their app on the market (yes?) or can they create an advertising banner and earn money by offering the app for free?!

  23. I’m all for creativity and getting the tools into creative peoples hands. Sure, there will be crap, but it’s in the eye of the beholder. There’s crap in the market now, and there will continue to be. However, getting my hands on a cool little app created by a person with absolutely no coding skills would make me smile a bit.

    So what’s the harm? Just label them as beta apps, in a separate part of the market and let we, the consumer filter it ourselves through ratings.

  24. What about decent ports of linux apps like open office, gemrb, blender, truecrypt etc. For being based on linux I’m disappointed with the really useful apps that are missing. I really hope someone can come up with a way of streamlining converting those apps to android.

  25. If this would allow for the editing of the code within it, I could definitely see the potential in this. This co.uld make it that anyone could make an app, but could make it for more professional developers to quickly create the ui while spending more time to improve the code

  26. This would be pretty cool. I used to program in Visual Basic all the time so I’m out of my comfort zone when it comes to C++ and Java.

  27. Finally! I’ve been struggling with Java, and I hav e some pretty good app ideas, and I’ve been waiting for App Inventor to come out for months now! Too bad I’m on vacation right now, but I can’t wait to start making some decent apps.

  28. @25 no you can’t edit the code at all you can view it but that’s it about that’s why I’ll stick with the sdk it is way more powerful but for me if it ain’t broke don’t fix it. But for others this might be there tea.

  29. Once I tried this I realized how good I am at programming..

  30. iSites.us (http://isites.us) is an online service that enables media publishers to create and self-manage iPhone, Android, and iPad apps from one place.

    Check out the Daily Californian, Stanford Daily, AZ PBS news apps on the Android Market.

  31. ive received my Google App Inventor invite, and WOW!!! it is very simple to create a simple app using the JAVA interface, but once you create your app – it’s ONLY for you to use. You can not export the code to Eclipse. You can’t share it with your friends, or even make it downloadable on your own websire. It stays within APP Inventor!

    But what this does to me research more in the development of REAL Android Apps using Eclipse.

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