I’ve been busy with other projects, traveling for work, and other tasks, that have cut into my App Inventor posts. Sorry about that!
One task I have been busy with is a project from AV8 Designer LLC to create an aircraft wing tip protection system. The system places proximity sensors on the tips of aircraft wings to detect – and help prevent – collisions with obstacles during aircraft ground movement operations. Aircraft are pushed and pulled around on the ground during all times of the day and night, and during all types of weather. They are frequently squeezed into aircraft hangers and parked extremely close to other aircraft. Unfortunately, this leads to occasional wing tip collisions that are expensive to repair.
The wing tip sensors provide audio and visual alerts of potential collisions and status (with audio and visual display) on Android tablets or smart phones carried by ground crew. The Android app is simple to use but incorporates complex programming to wirelessly communicate with all wing tip sensors. The app and the wireless communication links were implemented using App Inventor, rather than the Android Java SDK.
We took a risk in choosing to use App Inventor. While preliminary experiments were done to verify the concept, we did not know if we could develop the full application in App Inventor. Well, we took the risk and everything worked out great. Using App Inventor we were able to quickly develop – and demonstrate – the user interface and functionality. In doing this project, we proved App Inventor is capable of creating powerful and complex industrial applications. App Inventor can do much more than only educational and gaming applications!
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.
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.
Version 2.0 of my Photo Guide app for Android is now available – it is free, no ads either. No special permissions are required to install. Only works on Android 5 or newer.
Works on Android 4.4 and newer.
(Update: An updated version for 4.4 will be available in the store in about 1-2 days – its been uploaded and is awaiting Google processing. In the mean time, the version in the store works on Android 5.x).
Screen shot:Click on the icon to go direct to the Google Play store and request a download:
This app was originally written using the Eclipse software development system, and the PhoneGap and JQuery Mobile libraries. The new version was converted to use Cordova (similar to PhoneGap) and the project was transferred to the new Android Studio for compilation and testing. This app was NOT written using MIT App Inventor.
MIT App Inventor 2 is a fast and simple way to create custom Android apps for smart phones or tablets. Volume 2 in the series introduces debugging methods, explains additional controls not covered in Volume 1, introduces “agile” methods for developing a real world app, and provides sample code for using the TinyDB database.
The App Inventor 2 Tutorial series is targeted at adult learners (high school and up). App Inventor 2 provides a simplified “drag and drop” interface to layout your app’s screen design. Then implement the app’s behavior with “drag and drop” programming blocks to quickly assemble a program in a graphical interface.
Volume 1 of this series covered the basics of the App Inventor user interface Designer and the Blocks programming editor, plus basic “blocks” programming concepts and tools for arithmetic, text processing, event handling, lists and other features. Volume 2 builds upon Volume 1 to provide tips on debugging programs when the apps work incorrectly, how to use hidden editing features, and how to install your own apps on to your phone or tablet for general use. Code samples are provided for using the Notifier component for general use or for debugging, for user interface control tricks such as buttons that change color continuously or implementing the missing “radio buttons” component, using ListPicker and Spinner for list selections, and using the WebViewer to display web pages in your app. The book includes a large section on designing and building a sample real world application and finishes with a chapter on using the TinyDB database.
For readers of the blog, Chapters 4–8 are based on the tutorial already presented here. Chapter 2 and Chapter 9 on TinyDB are all new material.
Chapter 1 – App Inventor Tips
Chapter 2 – Debugging App Inventor Programs
Chapter 3 – User Interface Control Tricks
Chapter 4 – Designing and Building a Real World Application
Chapter 5 – Tip Calculator Version 2
Chapter 6 – Tip Calculator Version 3
Chapter 7 – Tip Calculator Version 4
Chapter 8 – Tip Calculator Version 5
Chapter 9 – Using the TinyDB database
(Volume 3 is now available – App Inventor 2 Databases and Files adds substantially more information on TinyDB, plus TinyWebDB and Fusion Tables and includes the full introduction to TinyDB).
As you know, MIT App Inventor is a graphical-based programming system, or a “visual development” system where programs are constructed by dragging and dropping “blocks” onto a Blocks editor.
Arduino, which we mentioned in conjunction with our Bluetooth interface code, is a microcontroller system that is normally programmed in a language similar to the C++ programming language – which is text-based.
Mitov Softwware has introduced a new visual programming system for Arduino. I have not yet had a chance to try this out – the software is in “Beta” test phase and is not yet generally available.
The simplicity of an App Inventor type programming environment might then be available for Arduino applications. This is very exciting. It may be helpful for enabling more kinds of people, with different types of backgrounds than software developers(!) to write code for Arduino boards.
Program Arduino boards visually, fast and easy with Visuino #Visuino #Arduino
NOTE – the Fire HD runs Android but its not a fully open Android tablet. However, there are some work arounds; more info on that here. Here is a CNet web page that shows specifically how to load other apps – there are some limitations so read the whole link. I do not own this tablet and have not tested it with App Inventor. Appears to be the same issue with the Fire Phone – Amazon restricts it but its just a matter of setting some options in Settings to open it up. Would be interesting to hear from others if they have App Inventor apps running on this tablet or phone. Seems like they should work!