New Linux OS version designed for Android & App Inventor app development

The Appril release of Quirky Linux includes the Android SDK (Software Development Kit), Android Studio, App Inventor, Oracle JDK (Java Development Kit), and LiveCode tools, as well as all of their dependencies, together with the JWM (Joe’s Window Manager) and ROX, providing one of the lightest environments for Android app developers.

“The intention is to have out-of-the-box, just-click-and-get-going Android app development, catering for total non-programmers with App Inventor, through intermediate with LiveCode, to hard-core coders with Android Studio,” says Barry Kauler, Puppy Linux creator.

Source: Puppy Linux’s Sister Quirky 7.1 Distro Arrives with Tools for Android App Developers

It actually runs the App Inventor system on the computer – does not require access to appinventor.mit.edu.

Download here (its free, of course). I have not tried this yet but would be interested to hear reports from users!

 

Pre-Announcing: App Inventor 2: Databases and Files-new e-book

Available now: App Inventor 2: Databases and Files

I have finished writing App Inventor 2: Databases and Files, a new e-book providing step-by-step guides to using TinyDB, TinyWebDB, Fusion Tables and Data Files in Android App Inventor programs, including sharing data with spreadsheets.

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Example of the new App Inventor “Responsive Design” Feature

MIT App Inventor introduced today their new “responsive design” features so that apps can work “better” on different sized screens. Using these new features, you can create a single app that should run on both a smart phone and a tablet, yet still display proportional user interface controls. Prior to this, your nicely designed smart phone app could end up having very small buttons or text boxes when run on a tablet; now, these components will resize as needed.

The name “responsive” comes from the ability of the app to “respond” to the size of the device and to change the size of controls so they maintain a similar size on each device. The terminology “responsive web design” also refers to web sites that are designed to work with different sized mobile device screens – here is a link to a great article about responsive web site design, passed to us by reader David – thanks!

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App Inventor to add “Responsive Design” features next week

MIT App Inventor upgrade coming next Monday – the upgrade will support apps running on devices with different size screens, such as a smart phone versus a tablet.

There’s one important rule when using App Inventor to create apps with responsive design:

Specify widths and heights of components as percentages of the screen width and height, rather than as fixed numbers of pixels.

For example, to make a button whose width is half the screen width, set the button’s width to be 50 percent rather than setting it to a specific number of pixels.

See Responsive Design in App Inventor

Please see the link for details on this upcoming change.

Apps written in Java and the Android SDK have access to additional methods of creating flexible design layouts, or even multiple layouts, for different screen sizes.

MIT begins testing “App Inventor Extension Components”

MIT has begun testing a new App Inventor feature that will enable developers to create their own “extension components”. Extension components are written in Java. Once created and tested, these new components may be shared with other App Inventor developers for use in programs.

What this means: if App Inventor lacks a feature or capability, then a Java developer familiar with App Inventor and its components software development kit will be able to add new features to App Inventor. Over time, the capabilities and power of App Inventor are likely to grow enormously – and rapidly. The ability to extend App Inventor’s features/components is an exciting and tremendously important development for the future of App Inventor!

For now, this feature is in “test mode”.

Source: App Inventor Extension Components available for testing | Explore MIT App Inventor

Is there a good way to print App Inventor blocks code?

I do not think there is any good way to make print outs of the App Inventor blocks code.

What I do is:

In Windows 7 (also works in Vista and newer version) is to use the Snipping Tool to select a section of blocks code on screen, copy the selection, and then paste that into a Word document. I make several “snips” as needed, to capture all of the code, and paste each into the document. Then I print out the document.

Is there a better way? I do not know but if you have a better solution, let us know in the comments! Thanks!

App Inventor Stores Numbers as “Floating Point” Format

When you type a number, such as “123”, computers convert the text values of “123” into an internal representation used by the computer. There are many possible ways that numbers can be represented inside a computer. For example, the computer could:

  • keep numbers in their original text format “123” (decimal format)
  • convert them into a binary representation (binary integers)
  • a “floating point” representation (floating point or “float” format)
  • or even a “binary coded decimal” (BCD) representation.

Each internal format has benefits and drawbacks, depending on the application. Most computers (and programming systems) convert entered numbers from their original text format into either integer format or floating-point number format.

App Inventor converts values to floating point format. Which is fine, except that you will encounter some odd and subtle issues. As the link below notes, in App Inventor arithmetic, 0.3 + 0.6 does not equal 0.9!

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