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.