Saturday, 12 March 2011

Developing apps, minus the skill requirement


We've strayed a bit in our previous posts where we spent a lot of time talking about various aspects of technology (you can glance at our tech-related posts here). But now it's time to return to the original purpose of this blog, namely getting you excited about things you never thought you would or could do. And what better way than to get you into creating your own Android apps.


When Apple launched their app store back in 2008, they effectively created a market place for buying and selling software made by and for iPhone users. Seeing the opportunity to make a buck, scores of developers churned out app after app in the hopes of making it rich, or at least make a little money on the side. The promise was that anyone could build an app and offer it either at a price, or for free (in which case the developer had the option of incorporating ads as a source of income). But the entire concept had one inherent flaw: Participation in the app development scene was effectively limited to those with the necessary programming skills. There go your hopes of striking it rich Angry Birds-style.

Then came Google and did pretty much the same with its Android Market, an app store-alternative for the Android user. Naturally, in the heat of competition both parties try to out-shine the other. But Google went and did something that didn't seem to occur to Apple: They took out the developer-only limitation, allowing anyone with a computer to develop apps -- without the use of programming knowledge.

The Google App Inventor, the company's solution to your lack of Java coding skills, allows anyone to build apps using a system that's eerily reminiscent of Lego. By piecing together so-called blocks, with each block representing a particular function, users can put together fully working software in minutes. Check out this video for a quick demonstration and let yourself be inspired.


Just how advanced the App Inventor allows your apps to become is unclear, but the system allows people who never thought they would ever end up on the Android Market to create software, similarly to how Game Maker allows enthusiastic amateurs to develop their first, fully functional game -- no matter how unsophisticated. Don't worry about Game Maker yet, though; we'll talk about that in our next post.

22 comments:

Chris said...

Wow, I wish Im technically skilled enough to make aps.

ed said...

sweet, google continues to be awesome

mac-and-me said...

i prefer my xcode :)

Robert Fünf said...

I've considered making apps, but I don't have a smart phone to run them on. It's kinda hard to make a quality product like that.

Banacek said...

Yeah, I don't even have or need a smart phone.

WizWayne said...

Oh that would be a good idea, but I don't think I would be able to do that deff not that smart lmao

Lhosreiff said...

Oh wow, this is pretty neat.

Matt Neumann said...

Computers are getting out of hand! liking the blog and following!

amBored said...

I learn programming I could try it

Jung said...

I'm currently developing an iphone app. Wish it had something like this.

fabio_2007 said...

very interesting post

Helios Blog Log said...

good morning everyone
luv the Android...

Charles said...

I love how much easier it is

Westus said...

I have a few interesting ideas for apps... I'm totally going to use this to see if any of my ideas may actually work!

thenitefalls said...

wow I have some sick apps in mind :D

Major.Mack said...

yeah im a smart phone hater...i like 50+" screens

Ada said...

This sounds intriguing...Game Maker is pretty nifty in that you don't need any programming skill at all, so this sounds excellent if it's similar.

Also, re: your comment on my blog, yes, the problems I listed don't affect anything if the story doesn't pretend to be anything other than what it is. Unfortunately a lot of stories tend to promise REALISM! and GRIMDARK! and then are reduced to putting a lot of sex and gore on the screen in the hopes that it passes for mature content. Look at Dragon Age 2 >.>

TheHarvester said...

i honestly love google. really i cant think of a reason why anyone should hate them

The Game Store Guy said...

Oh. My. God. I think you just answered my prayers. I have been attempting to figure out how to design an app for The Parent's Guide to Video Games. THANK YOU!

Freek said...

@The Game Store Guy: Haha, okay man make sure to post about whatever you create!

Poetry of the Day said...

i love this
Poetry for Android | Poetry <3

spaceman said...

hmm, interesting. I like googles open-source android, awesome.

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