back to article Google fashions Android dev kit for dummies (from Scratch)

Google has unveiled an experimental tool that lets non-developers develop applications for Android phones. This Google Labs project is known as App Inventor for Android, and it's based on platforms built at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, including Scratch, the well-known visual web app builder designed for non- …


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  1. Alan Scott

    Scratch for Android

    I work in IT at a school and scratch is a fantastic tool to teach younger kids the basics of programming, this will only increase the interest of programming from a young age,obviously a good thing.

    But do we really want another 10,000 fart apps diluting the Market?

    1. John Bailey

      Please correct me if I'm wroing.. But..

      Don't you have to sign up and pay a fee to get your app sold/given away through the Android market place? So it isn't as if all you need to do is set up a free account and get on with it.

      In comparison.. In the hallowed sanctity of the app store temple of smut free iSpiffiness... Where each and every app is carefully vetted for purity and wholesomeness by teams of specially trained iElves..

      How many tip calculators?

      How many fart apps?

      How many flashlight apps?

      How many apps that are not much more than the example app in the video?

      How many PD books wrapped in a reader and sold as full blown apps?

      How many games that are little more than accelerometer based versions of those old "get the ball bearings into the holes" games I played when I was a kid?

      Can you look me in the eye and say these are worthy examples of the programmer's art? Not just there to make the numbers up?

      Agreed. "Lego programming" is not new. But it is a fun way to get involved, and to perhaps see computers as something more than boxes you buy software for and play games or surf for porn on.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up


    >scratch is a fantastic tool to teach younger kids the basics of programming

    Second that......Scratch used to be a great way for kids to make iPhone Apps until Skeletor had Scratch Player for iPhone removed from The Store.....

    >But do we really want another 10,000 fart apps diluting the Market?

    I'd happily can 90% of what's there now - but sadly its the numbers game that matters for App Stores....

    Hopefully they'll have the sense to add a filter in Market for stuff thus created...

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "Now you too can become a Fart App millionaire

    without any of that pesky code-learning bullshit!"

  4. Robert Hill

    I love Scratch for kids...

    but I don't know how many 8 year olds will have Android phones or tablets anytime soon - although this could be a driver for that price point in educational channels.

    But I am reminded of the saying " build a system that even a fool can use, and only a fool will use it..." Perhaps we will just get flooded with garbage (take a look at the Scratch site for what I mean) built by kids as simple applets. This may have a negative effect onthe penetration of Android into business markets...

    1. Graham Dawson Silver badge

      You've obviously never worked in a business environment...

      Those fart apps are probably the only thing most middle managers have their super-duper-special smartphones for.

  5. JaitcH

    Another Google Android challenge for Apple

    How can Apple implement a similar scheme when all up-loadable apps have to pass muster with the Apple Porn Gatekeepers?

    The power that will accrue to Android by letting users design their own Apps is inestimable. Smart fellows, those Google guys!

    1. Anonymous Coward


      Hey, Fandroid, they just can't do anything wrong can they?

      1. JaitcH

        I'm a RIMmer - for security

        Google does quite a bit wrong which is why neither my employer, or I, use anything live with Google ... privacy trust is lacking.

        However, for personal use both my wife and daughter find their HTC Android telephones reliable and useful. Google has limited control over Apps, which is good, but, speaking personally, since I don't know what data is collected by Google, or what uses they put it to, I don't use their smartphones. Of course, Apple also collects unknown data and no one knows what they do with it, either.

        I use anything that meets my needs with usually only security being the over-riding concern.

        I am am ardent supporter of excellence: embracing the people - some might call 'empowering' - is an extremely shrewd move by Google in the same way that school children have developed Apps.

      2. Kay Burley ate my hamster


        Hahahaha, I guess you're not left handed. :D

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    They missed the mark on the demo video, it should have been a fart sound

    Visual Basic + Widget Workshop

  7. Duncan Watts

    Requiring a google account...

    Isn't that much of a surprise - you need one to sign into the marketplace...

  8. Sean Timarco Baggaley


    ... has been supplied with Macs for years now. It's mainly a batch script creator, with bells on.

    Similar, though not identical, UI too.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up


    Even if it makes some of the chore of android development easier, so you can spend more time writing code underneath.

    I haven't used scratched, and don't know if this can create source that can the be tweaked in Eclipse ADT tools...

    I would imagine every day at Apple brings on even more hurt... With every new phone, every new Android marketshare report, every new Android tool, every bad iPhone4 review...

    1. Wpgwill


      Apple has ered with the iPhone 4 antenna, but at the same time I would hardly be scared of Android right now. The UI is downright clunky, copy and pasting is a terrible chore and there is mostly garbage for apps. Googles new tech will surely change that though.

      Droidtards are almost as bad as open source fanbois somedays.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Thumb Down

        but remember

        most of the new owners of androids have never used an android phone nor an IPhone before as they are all coming from either blackberry or nokia or feature phones. And once they are into android , they are hooked for life, all those wonderful services on android phones like satnav, google voice etc will make them lifelong fans of android phones.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Thumb Up

          @AC re: but remember

          And they will follow Google around like the sheep they are, finding no fault at all with them. Ironic I find it - Fandroids running around decrying fanbois Apple based decisions. Utterly ironic.

          I say this in jest (mostly) because this whole battle and attacking a person due to the product choices they make is silly. What's even sillier, though, is thinking that the choice you made in a product makes you better than those who made a different choice.

          If you like Apple products, great, so what? If you like Android phones, great and so what?

          1. Anonymous Coward

            Re: @AC re: but remember

            "I say this in jest (mostly) because this whole battle and attacking a person due to the product choices they make is silly. What's even sillier, though, is thinking that the choice you made in a product makes you better than those who made a different choice."

            Er, didn't you see any of Apple's 'Mac / PC' TV adverts? Apple started it, therefore AFAIC they and their legions of fanboys can go fuck themselves.

      2. Mr Brush

        Copy Paste?

        > copy and pasting is a terrible chore

        Long press on source text -> Select Copy.

        Long press on target -> Select Paste.

        Seems simple enough to me? Perhaps you're holding it wrong?

      3. Anonymous Coward

        re: Droidtards

        Another iCretin that's never actually seen an Android.

        Your claims of copy and pasting on android being a chore are laughable. Long Press.. That's all you have to do...

        Ironic since that iPhone only recently got copy and paste and Android had it from the outset.... Perhaps iOS will also get proper multitasking too, not this lame hack it currently has.

    2. Robert Hill

      The UI will likely be clunky...

      Given that Scratch really wants to animate block textures, or animate jpgs, it will probably not be anything that you can create a complex interface with. And by the time you start tweaking the underlying code, well then, you might as well have not used Scratch in the first place. As has been said, it is a very basic programming model.

      And one thing you seem to have forgotten - Apple has NEVER been about marketshare, not really. Apple is about PROFITABILITY, overall and on a per unit basis. They drive that profitability by having a "premium" product set. Not clear that Scratch really would contribute to this, although it may in the educational market, where Apple has traditionally been strong.

      I think the antenna issue will cause a LOT more consternation within Apple...

  10. Dan P


    She wrote an app called HelloPurr and it miaowed?

    1. Anonymous Coward

      Still it's better than

      ... iCaressMyPussy

    2. Kay Burley ate my hamster


      Have you never heard of Hello World?

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Oh, come on!

    I get it. You're American. You like ugly words like "LEGOs" and "gotten". But that's still no excuse for "LEGOS".

  12. Arthur McGiven

    iFart Apps?

    Not likely - it'sgoing to be iVuvuzela apps if the students I deal with are anything to go by.

    1. Kay Burley ate my hamster


      Shhh, you'll give them ideas!

  13. Eponymous Cowherd
    Thumb Up

    Clever idea

    Scratch is an excellent educational tool for kids, both of mine (8 and 12) love using it. They really like the idea of being able to use something Scratch-like to write their own phone apps.

    Cheap Android phones (like the Vodafone 845) coupled with a way for kids to write simple apps for them is a catch-em-young policy that might pay off.

    Yes, App Inventor is only ever going to be a toy, but giving an average kid a way to write apps for his/her phone? That's inspired.

    There was, incidentally, a Scratch player for the iPhone, until the App Police banned it.

    1. Kay Burley ate my hamster

      You beat me to it

      I agree. There are plenty of cheap Android phones available which will find their way into kids hands, so yes this is good for teaching kids.

  14. Semaj


    It reminds me of those "BUILD YOUR PERSONAL WEB PAGE IN MINUTES" sites that you used to get years ago.

  15. Matt Bradley

    Looks familiar

    Reminds me a lot of the way the Flash IDE GUI approach - are they serious about this, or are they just doing it to piss Apple of?

  16. OffBeatMammal

    anyone remember Popfly?

    a while ago Microsoft had a project called Popfly that was pretty much this ... wire up blocks to build a website widget... eg grab bus position data and plot it on a map so you'd know when to run for the stop etc ... it generated Silverlight apps

    sadly it got shuttered a while back, but I saw someone was working on porting it to Phone7 -

    wonder how App Inventor compares to SmallBasic ( as a learning platform...

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Need more dross?

    Good lord, the Android market is full of dross already.

    That said, Scratch is a decent enough tool for teaching.

    As for android on tablets - well, it's crap.

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