Monday, August 16, 2010

Scratch and Google App Inventor

Yesterday my friend's daughter proudly showed off her new game, built entirely using Scratch, a 'codeless' programming language invented by MIT engineers. When I asked her to show me how she built the program, she showed the drag-and-drop interface of Scratch, where you simply create graphic objects on screen and drag code fragments from a library to a panel where they kind of fit together, get copied, and so forth. Not so completely codeless after all, but great for beginners.

The invitation-only Google App Inventor, by all accounts, resembles Scratch in many ways. Creating Apps for Dummies has long been a holy grail for tool designers. Google, in its grandiose fashion, promises to transform the app building landscape with Google App Inventor. The idea is to provide a non-programming, visual app building environment that would open up an ecosystem of do-it-yourself software developers. What a contrast from Apple's complex programming language and tedious app publishing process! However, if app inventor is anything like Scratch, I would contend that the 'app building for all' messaging could be over-hyped.  It is programming in a new guise.

1 comment:

  1. Hi
    This is really a useful article,since I am father of growing up daughter this will be of use to introduce her to world of 'Codeless programming'.
    Atlthough it sounds paradoxical programming without code.
    On a lighter note it also amazes me the evolution of the programming in last 2 decades.It makes me wonder is it evolution or revolution, since looks like the more SYSTEMS and TOOLS methods are EVOLVING, is it on path for less usage of BRAIN and its LOGICAL power, it is good, sort of feels like REVOLUTION.
    Thanks once again, for bringing such useful and friendly tips in a lucid language.