Tuesday, May 10, 2011

App Inventor - Publisher: O'Reilly Media

Product Description

Create mobile services and applications regardless of your computer programming knowledge. This extraordinary book introduces you to App Inventor for Android, a powerful tool that exposes you to the world of computer programming, so you can create technology rather than merely consume it.

You don't need years of training to build your own Android apps. This book teaches you how to quickly design and code apps for anything from texting to location awareness to data storage on the Web, using App Inventor's unique visual interface. Ideal for beginning and intermediate Android developers, hobbyists and makers, and students of any age, App Inventor will help you turn your great idea into a full-functioning app in no time.

  • Take advantage of App Inventor's GPS-location sensor: Build an app shows the location of friends or colleagues at a concert or conference, or one that gives you a custom tour of your school, workplace, or a museum.

  • Use an Android device's phone features: Write an app that periodically texts "missing you" to loved ones, an app that responds to texts automatically when you're driving, and an app that reads incoming texts aloud.

  • Communicate with the Web: Create Android apps that talk to your favorite web sites, such as Amazon and Twitter.

from the book:

What Kind of Apps Can You Build?

You can build many different types of apps with App Inventor. Use your imagination, and you can create all kinds of fun, useful apps.

People often begin by building games like MoleMash (Chapter 3) or apps that let you draw funny pictures on your friend’s faces (Chapter 2). As you progress, you can build your own versions of more complex games like Pac-Man and Space Invaders. You can even use the phone’s sensors and move characters by tilting the phone (Chapter 5).

Educational software
App building is not limited to simple games. You can also build apps that inform and educate. You can create a quiz app (Chapter 8) to help you and your classmates study for a test, or even a create-a-quiz app (Chapter 10) that lets the users of your app create their own quizzes (think of all the parents that would love this one for those long road trips!).

Location-aware apps
Because App Inventor provides access to a GPS-location sensor, you can build apps that know where you are. You can build an app to help you remember where you parked your car (Chapter 7), an app that shows the location of your friends or colleagues at a concert or conference, or your own custom tour app of your school, workplace, or a museum.

High-tech apps
You can create apps that scan bar codes, talk, listen (recognize words), play music, make music (Chapter 9), play video, detect the phone’s orientation and acceleration, take pictures, and make phone calls. Smartphones are like Swiss-Army knives for technology, and a group of Google engineers has dedicated themselves to making that technology easy to control through App Inventor.

SMS apps
“No Texting While Driving” (Chapter 4) is just one example of the SMS processing apps you can build. You can also write an app that periodically texts “missing you” to your loved ones, or an app like “Broadcast Hub” (Chapter 11) that helps coordinate large events. Want an app that lets your friends vote for things by texting, like on American Idol? You can build it with App Inventor.

Apps that control robots
Chapter 12 shows how to create an app that acts as a controller for a LEGO robot. You can use the phone as a remote control, or you can program it to be a “brain” that the robot carries around with it. The robot and phone communicate via Bluetooth, and App Inventor’s Bluetooth components let you create similar apps that control other Bluetooth devices.

Complex apps
App Inventor dramatically lowers the entrance barrier to programming and lets you build flashy, high-tech apps within hours. But the language also provides loops, conditionals, and other programming and logic constructs necessary to build apps with complex logic. You’ll be surprised at how fun such logic problems can be when you’re trying to build an app.

Web-enabled apps
App Inventor also provides a way for your apps to communicate with the Web. You can write apps that pull in data from Twitter or an RSS feed, or an Amazon Bookstore Browser that lets you check the online cost of a book by scanning its barcode.


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