If Only BlackBerry Developer Tools Looked Like Google’s App Inventor

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Today, Google unveiled a new tool in Google Labs called App Inventor that allows just about anyone to create an app for Android. We’ve heard rumors that RIM will be launching new developer tools with a drag and drop style interface, and we can only hope that the tools are as easy and awesome as App Inventor.

App Inventor has been in closed beta and today they are opening it to the general public. For the past year, Google has been taking App Inventor around classrooms in the US, and they have found that it has also become a powerful tool for promoting computer science and programming. Once case involves a student with dyslexia who was inspired by App Inventor to take more computer science classes and is now learning Python.

The beauty of App Inventor is that you don’t need to know how to program to be an Android developer. This will open the market to thousands, and possibly millions of applications. The platform uses a visual system of blocks to specify the app’s behavior. The blocks editor uses the Open Blocks Java library for creating visual blocks programming languages.

The compiler that translates the visual blocks language for implementation on Android uses the Kawa Language Framework and Kawa’s dialect of the Scheme programming language, developed by Per Bothner and distributed as part of the Gnu Operating System by the Free Software Foundation.

With development tools being one of the largest barriers to entry for BlackBerry apps, something similar to App Inventor would really give App World a huge boom in applications.

If you happen to have both an Android device and a BlackBerry, you should definitely try it out. Just fill out this form to get an invite.

Head over to the App Inventor site to see what people are cooking up.

  • http://appworld.blackberry.com/webstore/vendor/1111 Eric at Ebscer

    Be careful what you wish for…

  • jw

    While tools like this look great they are not as useful as most people think they are. It may be useful for rapidly building a basic UI or for letting novice devs make a basic app, but no “must have” app with a compelling UI is going to be made with this.

  • http://twitter.com/jbascu JBascu

    Althought this is a great idea, I'm afraid this means a overflow of poor quality apps. I explain this:

    I want a great and easy tools for developers to do great and quality apps, to give this powerfull tools to a expert must results in powerfull apps. I have no doubt that may be persons without knowledges in this area that can do usefull apps, but you must find first betwen all the amount of “low apps” that can be generated.

    So, I basically agree with @jw and @Eric at Ebscher I don't want this for all RIM users, only for developers will be better

  • http://www.blackberrycool.com/ Kyle McInnes

    It's true that tools like this could flood the market with useless and “low apps” but I Google's approach. The idea is that you lower the barrier to entry so tremendously, and leave it up to the Android Market or App World to make it discoverable. If RIM did this, and we saw a huge increase in apps, it would push them to come up with a way to make the quality apps front and center, and the bad stuff buried so as to not affect the user experience.

    All of this reminds me of a conversation I had with a BlackBerry game developer here in Ottawa. He was saying how he had an iPhone game and a BlackBerry game. For the iPhone, he had around 20 competitors. For BlackBerry, he had none. The barrier to entry can be a positive thing for developers who are good programmers and can afford to enter the market.