MIT announced that its App Inventor tool to enable users to easily build applications for Android phones is now in beta.
MIT App Inventor
service is now available to the public as part of an open beta launched by the
Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
a March 4 blog
post, Hal Abelson, professor of electrical engineering and computer science
at MIT, said the App Inventor is open to use by anybody in the public who wants
to build apps for Android phones.
App Inventor enables users to develop
applications for Android phones using a Web browser and either a connected
phone or emulator. The App Inventor service stores the developers work and
helps them keep track of their projects. There are three main components to the
App Inventor. First is the App Inventor Designer, where the developer selects
the components for their app. Next is the App Inventor Blocks Editor, the
developer assemble program blocks that specify how the components should
behave. The developer assembles programs visually, fitting pieces together like
pieces of a puzzle. Then the developers app appears on the phone step-by-step
as they add pieces to it, so developers can test their work as they build. When
they're done, they can package their app and produce a stand-alone application
The MIT App Inventor was once known as
the Android App Inventor, a do-it-yourself educational programming tool, at
Google. However, Google shelved the project last Augustamong several other
Google labs projectsand turned it over to the MIT Media Lab. To better support
the technology, MIT launched the MIT Center for Mobile Learning, an extension
of the Media Lab to focus on education and learning through mobile computing.
MIT is a proper home for the App
Inventor, as professor Abelson helped in its initial development. Then MIT and
Google open-sourced the App Inventor code in January.
Now, the project has hit beta as MIT
promised it would by the end of the first quarter of 2012.
past two months, we have been conducting a closed test of the system for an
increasing number of testers, and weve currently scaled to 5,000 testers,
Abelson said in his post. Today, were taking the next step, and opening the
MIT App Inventor service to everyone. All you will need is a Google ID for
log-in (for example, a Gmail account).
Inventor will now be suitable for any use, including running classes. But
please be aware that this is the first time the system will be under load from
a large number of users, so there may be bumps and adjustments as the load
increases. For now, we suggest that you maintain backup copies of important
apps, as we see how things go.
Darryl K. Taft covers the development tools and developer-related issues beat from his office in Baltimore. He has more than 10 years of experience in the business and is always looking for the next scoop. Taft is a member of the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) and was named 'one of the most active middleware reporters in the world' by The Middleware Co. He also has his own card in the 'Who's Who in Enterprise Java' deck.