Appy Builder – an alternative to MIT App Inventor, with more features

AppyBuilder is a commercial version of MIT App Inventor that, for a monthly subscription fee, provides access to many additional components and features. Some of these features include monetization services that work with advertising networks to display ads with your apps, plus unique features like SQL Lite and the Android Material Design user interface.  You can also add in-app purchases.

There is also a free version that operates similar to MIT App Inventor. You can set up your free account at the Appy Builder web site or sign up for a subscription account with added features.

AppyBuilder is based on MIT App Inventor – if you know how to use App Inventor, you’ll find AppyBuilder very easy to use. The company behind AppBuilder also does custom app development and mobile web site development.

Click on their “Tell me more” button, and then page down to see the description of features and services, and subscription options.

I’ve played a bit with the “free” version but I could see buying a monthly subscription to access several of their enhanced features. Their lead architect also has a blog including this tutorial on how to use their components to access the web, camera and upload photos to a server using App Builder.

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Since I moved the web site from my own server over to the WordPress platform, you will often see posts authored by “Coldstreams”, or sometimes “AppinventorPlus”, rather than my name, EdwardM, that appeared on the old web site. I have 4 separate accounts on WordPress and set them up so that my Coldstreams account can update any of the blogs, including this one. Most of my posts will likely appear with the “Coldstreams” name, but it is still just me 🙂 … EdwardM

Thunkable turns programming into a drag-and-drop solution – based on App Inventor

Thunkable is a spin off of the MIT App Inventor project. If you can program in App Inventor, you can program in Thunkable. Their goal is to get the App Inventor concept running on both Android and iOS (iPhone).

Visit Thunkable at http://thunkable.com

Thunkable, built on top of the open-source project MIT App Inventor, is a visual programming tool

Source: Thunkable turns programming into a drag-and-drop solution – SD Times

There are indications that MIT App Inventor will focus on education and training applications and that spin offs will offer more powerful (and likely complex) features such as increased database functionality or media handling. These new features, oriented perhaps towards businesses and organizations (rather than education) might become a subscription service – but with added value in terms of features and capabilities.

Interest in App Inventor continues to grow

The following chart comes from Google Trends, and reflects the growing interest in App Inventor, based on searches for “MIT App Inventor” on Google.

MITAppInventorTrend

Because App Inventor has been viewed as a training tool in K-12 level schools, and some introductory college courses, searches for App Inventor information have gone down during the northern hemisphere summer months, when school is not normally in session. This accounts for the up and down movement in the trend line.

This chart shows a relative level of interest for the top countries searching for “MIT App Inventor”.

Region

FIRST Tech Challenge (Robotics) can now use App Inventor

Early in 2015, FIRST announced that the First Tech Challenge (FTC) robotics platform would be powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon processor (the same processor used in most Android phones).

Starting with the Fall 2015 FTC competition, students can now control the robot using App Inventor. (Go here and page down to App Inventor Download and Resources and follow that link).

FTC uses a version of App Inventor that is installed on a local computer rather than running over the Internet, as we do with MIT App Inventor.

About FIRST

FIRST robotics is an “academic sport” for the mind as teams are faced with the challenge of conceptualizing, designing and building a complex robot to solve a challenge. The Mission of FIRST Robotics:

“Our mission is to inspire young people to be science and technology leaders, by engaging them in exciting mentor-based programs that build science, engineering and technology skills, that inspire innovation, and that foster well-rounded life capabilities including self-confidence, communication, and leadership.”

Volunteering

I am in my 8th year of volunteering as an engineering mentor to high school robotics teams. I am currently a volunteer with Glencoe High School’s Team #4488 “Shockwave” team where I am the lead mentor for Apps Software. Our team is a student-led team. The students make the design choices and implement the solutions. The mentors assist with technical and management training and specialized learning.

Our team, like many FIRST teams, is run similar to a business with separate sub-teams not only for robotics (mechanical, electrical, robot programming, CAD) but also other functions (marketing, business, strategy, web and applications software, graphic design) and even an animation team. Our applications team produces support software for the entire team by creating custom tablet apps and Windows applications software that assist in various information collection, analysis and processing functions. Last year, the team also created a robotics game that is available in the Google Play store.

There are many opportunities for volunteering – from technical engineering to business and marketing, graphic and art design, wood and metal working, CAD, and teaching. Visit usfirst.org to learn more!

App Inventor course available in Spanish

Estructurado en 8 módulos y con más de 146 clases este curso es ideal para aquellas personas que, sin tener idea de programación, quieren tener un curso completo de App Inventor paso a paso y basado en la metodología de aprender haciendo.

Curso de Desarrollo de aplicaciones móviles Android con App Inventor

The 22 hour online course is offered through the udemy.com

(I did not make clear – sorry – this course is from Professor José Luis Núñez and he is offering it through udemy.com. I am not involved in this at all – just sharing the link – Ed)

App Inventor introduces copy and paste of code blocks!

App Inventor has introduced “copy and paste” of code blocks. Now you can copy blocks of code within a current screen, or from one screen to another screen, or even between projects. This is great news!

Look for the “backpack” icon at upper right of the blocks Viewer screen:

AI_Copy1

Select a block or blocks with the mouse pointer, and then click and drag the selected blocks into the backpack. A copy of the blocks are placed into the backpack and your original blocks also remain in the editing window.

Click on the backpack icon and it displays the code blocks currently stored in the backpack:

AI_Copy2

Click on the code block in the backpack (at right) and drag it into the Blocks Viewer. That is all you need to do to copy blocks.

Use this feature to copy blocks within your current screen, or to copy blocks from one screen to another screen, or to copy blocks from one app to another app.

You can put several blocks into the backpack, and then select only the ones you wish to copy over to another blocks Viewer.

How do you empty the backpack? It seems the only way to empty the backpack of saved items is to close the editing windows, go back to the MIT App Inventor home page (http://appinventor.mit.edu/) and select the Create apps! button to re-enter the designer and blocks editor.

Regardless, this is a GREAT NEW FEATURE! Thanks MIT App Inventor team!

“App Inventor 2 Databases and Files” ebook now available, 322 pages

For a complete description of Volume 1 (Introduction), Volume 2 (Advanced Concepts) and Volume 3 (Databases and Files), please see my App Inventor 2 e-books page where you can view the table of contents, download a sample chapter, and find links where you can obtain these ebooks online at Amazon, Google Play, Kobo Books and so on.

  • Volume 3 covers TinyDB, TinyWebDB, Fusion Tables, Files and exchanging data with CSV format files.

Volume 3 is a big e-book – 322 pages long, says Amazon’s page counter.

Volume 3 is now available at

Links to all 3 books are available here.

Capture

My Guide to 3D Photography e-book is available from:

How did you discover MIT App Inventor?

How did you discover MIT App Inventor?

I discovered App Inventor just as Google was handing AI classic off to MIT. At the time I was looking at different kinds of development tools for mobile devices, and App Inventor showed up in some online searches.

I took a look at it and found it  intriguing – at the time, AI classic did not seem quite capable of doing the things I was likely to need, but I intended to keep an eye on it.

A few months later, I was asked if we could quickly train some high school students to write Android apps? I have been a volunteer engineering mentor with FIRST Robotics programs for eight years. The new high school team where I was volunteering had intriguing ideas for mobile apps. When I was asked about the feasibility of quickly building some Android apps, I immediately proposed MIT App Inventor!

Our first student was so enthralled he literally stayed up half the night teaching himself App Inventor and soon was writing bundles of code for our Android tablet applications. Eventually another student joined the effort (from an iPhone background!) and rapidly came up to speed, writing a neat app in App Inventor.

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