Google started out in search, but the company has expanded into a wide range of businesses over the years, starting with advertising and continuing with email, document creation, mobile operating systems, and even image editing. But every now and again Google decides to shutter some of the projects its developers have been working on to refocus on other areas.
This week Google announced it would close its Picnik image editing service, Urchin web analytics tool, social graph API, Google Sky Map, and several other Google products.
Some of those items will live on in other forms. Urchin led to Google Analytics. Google has used Picnik’s technology to add image editing capabilities to some of its other products. And Google Sky Map will go open source so that other developers can pick up where Google left off.
Last year Google discontinued another intriguing, but not widely used product: App Inventor for Android. The service allowed anyone to create Android apps using a drag-and-drop user interface without having to learn traditional programming languages.
To be fair, not a lot of really great apps came out of App Inventor. But the project had educational potential. While it didn’t technically teach people how to write code in Java, C++, or other traditional languages, it does require you to learn to think like a programmer — and App Inventor proved to be fairly popular with educators.
So rather than kill the project altogether, Google partnered with MIT to open source App Inventor.
It’s taken close to half a year, but now the first open source version of App Inventor is available. MIT isn’t yet ready to accept code contributions from the community, but anyone can download, build, use, and modify the App Inventor for their own needs now, and eventually they’ll also be able to help contribute to improving the software.
via Hack Education
I did happen upon a course that teaches App Inventor the other day.
Maybe this is a better alternative for people or businesses that want to
create their own apps. It looks like the courses aren’t open yet (I’m
sure due to the fact that App Inventor is not publicly available right
now), here here it is if anyone wants to check it out.
No download is available from the MIT wiki site, and the instructions are confusing as hell.
Bad news. I am sure the developer will make best use of it.
I hope this gains some acceptance among the public.
There are a lot of people out there with great ideas and concepts who don’t really know much about programming languages and IDEs. Even if it’s basic, this would be a great tool for them to at least learn the thought process behind basic coding, as well as an avenue for them to hook up with programmers and create apps together.
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