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App Inventor for Android

App Inventor for Android
Google App Inventor
Developer(s) Google, MIT Media Lab
Stable release Beta
Written in Java, Kawa Scheme
Operating system Web-based application
Platform Android
Available in English
Type Application software development
License MIT License

App Inventor for Android is an open-source web application originally provided by Google , and now maintained by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).

It allows newcomers to computer programming to create software applications for the Android operating system (OS). It uses a graphical interface, very similar to Scratch and the StarLogo TNG user interface, which allows users to drag-and-drop visual objects to create an application that can run on Android devices. In creating App Inventor, Google drew upon significant prior research in educational computing, as well as work done within Google on online development environments.[1]

App Inventor and the projects on which it is based are informed by constructionist learning theories, which emphasizes that programming can be a vehicle for engaging powerful ideas through active learning. As such, it is part of an ongoing movement in computers and education that began with the work of Seymour Papert and the MIT Logo Group in the 1960s and has also manifested itself with Mitchel Resnick's work on Lego Mindstorms and StarLogo.[1][2]


App Inventor includes:

  • A designer, in which a program's components are specified. This includes visible components, such as buttons and images, which are placed on a simulated screen, and non-visible components, such as sensors and web connections.
  • A blocks editor, in which the program's logic is created.
  • A compiler based on the Kawa language framework and Kawa's dialect of the Scheme programming language, developed by Per Bothner[3] and distributed as part of the GNU operating system by the Free Software Foundation.[4]
  • An app for real-time debugging on a connected Android device.


The application was made available through request on July 12, 2010, and released publicly on December 15, 2010. The App Inventor team was led by Hal Abelson[1] and Mark Friedman.[5] In the second half of 2011, Google released the source code, terminated its server, and provided funding for the creation of The MIT Center for Mobile Learning, led by App Inventor creator Hal Abelson and fellow MIT professors Eric Klopfer and Mitchel Resnick.[6][7] The MIT version was launched in March 2012.[8]

On December 6, 2013 (the start of the Hour of Code),[8] MIT released App Inventor 2, renaming the original version "App Inventor Classic"[9] Major differences are:

  • The blocks editor in the original version ran in a separate Java process, using the Open Blocks Java library for creating visual blocks programming languages and programming
File:App Inventor Block Editor.png
App Inventor Classic Blocks Editor
Open Blocks is distributed by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's Scheller Teacher Education Program (STEP) and is derived from master's thesis research by Ricarose Roque. Professor Eric Klopfer and Daniel Wendel of the Scheller Program supported the distribution of Open Blocks under an MIT License.[2] Open Blocks visual programming is closely related to StarLogo TNG, a project of STEP, and Scratch, a project of MIT Media Laboratory's Lifelong Kindergarten Group. App Inventor 2[9] replaced Open Blocks with Blockly, a blocks editor that runs within the browser.

As of May 2014, there were 87 thousand weekly active users of the service and 1.9 million registered users in 195 countries for a total of 4.7 million apps built.[citation needed]

See also


  1. ^ a b c Hardesty, Larry (August 19, 2010). "The MIT roots of Google's new software". MIT News Office. 
  2. ^ a b "On the Shoulders of Giants!". Google. Retrieved August 10, 2010. 
  3. ^ "The Kawa Language Framework". Retrieved May 30, 2012. 
  4. ^ "GNU Manuals online". Retrieved May 30, 2012. 
  5. ^ Wolber, David; Abelson, Hal; Spertus, Ellen; Looney, Liz (May 2011), App Inventor for Android: Create Your Own Android Apps, O'Reilly, ISBN 978-1-4493-9748-7 
  6. ^ "App Inventor @ MIT". 
  7. ^ "MIT Launches New Center for Mobile Learning". August 16, 2011. 
  8. ^ a b Clark,first=Andrew (December 30, 2013), App Inventor launches second iteration 
  9. ^ a b App Inventor Classic, December 3, 2013 

External links