[FoRK] App Inventor

Kevin Marks kevinmarks at gmail.com
Thu Jul 15 23:54:00 PDT 2010


I got to try it out; a good start but still a bit clunky:

the layout+object adding is in HTML; the programming with jigsaw pieces bit
is a java app, which makes for clunky transitions back and forth.

The underlying typedness pokes through; the obvious thing to do (drag the
function parameter into a slot in a contained piece) doesn't work, but gives
a cryptic error. instead you have to go find the tab with the value of the
parameter in and use that instead.

Although the blocks are event driven, there is a tacit drive to global
variables for creating shared state; no obvious way to add a field to a
built-in element (unlike Scratch)

The 'hook the orientation sensor up to a rolling ball' idea idly mentioned
by one example didn't work; the sensors use degrees, the trig functions want
radians, the built-in 'ball' object has a velocity vector and a heading in
degress with a different zero point, and hooking up the trig with jigsaw
pieces is far from intuitive:

http://skitch.com/kevinmarks/dc369/appinventorroll

Also, there is no way to call a web service from an app except a kludged one
with a very constrained memcache key-like API, and a hard-coded twitter API
subset.

Overall, I'd much prefer something that compiled to HTML5+CSS+JS than this
thing that generates JVm blogs that can't be modified except by this editor.

On Thu, Jul 15, 2010 at 11:08 PM, Tom Higgins <tomhiggins at gmail.com> wrote:

> I noticed this a couple of days ago as I was doing a quick news read
> thru the Black Hills of South Dakota..the 3g coverage was surprisingly
> good for the terrain.  Of course I put my name in and am now waiting.
> I think it will be a good springboard for the kids to learn some
> basics as well as being able to bang out quick apps for my Droid.
>
> http://appinventor.googlelabs.com/about/
>
> Anyone else here taking a peek, diving in or even casting aspersions on
> this?
>
> >From all I am seeing this looks like it could bring the DIY back into
> the mix for more folks than those already inducted into craft.
>
> I got this article sent to me that sums up why I get excited about
> App Inventor and things like it (Scratch, etc)
>
> http://tomellard.com/wp/2010/07/try-remember-how-to-individuate/
>
> "Instead the Google application builder lets the phone owner slap
> together something only they might want and without it having to be
> stocked. It’s a Do It Yourself process – something that has been
> missing for some time – something which was once a given feature of
> computing."
>
> "..the whole dialogue becomes one of seeking approval from a
> gatekeeper. It’s like the old idea of ‘broadcast standards’ that kept
> control of
> television with the major networks. Of course the majors broadcast
> rubbish in the way the App Store stocks fart pianos – the idea of
> ‘broadcast standards’ is not about the worth of the programming but
> control of the programming. "
>
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