Google's App Inventor for Android

Introduction

If you fancy building some applications but don't fancy the pain of learning the SDK and working in a conventional programming language, then Google's App Inventor for Android is the tool for you. It can build powerful and useful applications in just a few minutes of effort. Although the resultant GUI is not going to win any beauty pageant, the apps are nevertheless powerful and feature rich.

Here's where you can get it - http://appinventor.googlelabs.com/.

I took some of the tutorials that come with App Inventor and extended them to meet my needs, so if you'd like to try out my applications then there are links below.

My Applications

I don't own these applications - they are extensions of standard tutorials that come with App Inventor, but you can download them and use them for free.

Here's the list, and afterwards some points on installing them.

bulletNoTextWhileDriving: whilst this application is running then if someone sends you a text then it will send them back a text to tell them you're driving at the moment and so can't respond to their text right now. You can choose what the response says and your choice will be remembered for future use. There are two additional options. The Send My Location option if switched on will append your current location in the text of the message being sent back. The Read My Messages option if switched on will read out to you the phone number from which the message came from and then the message itself. The download link is here.
bulletTextGroup: this application enables you to define any number of named groups of contacts and then write a text once and send it to everyone on your chosen group. The download link is here.
bulletWheresMyCar: this application remembers a location and then helps you find it again - for example: where you parked your car. You run up the application and click one button to memorise the current location. Then later you click another button and Google Maps pops up to show you the route back from where you are currently to where you parked your car. The download link is here.

To install these apps you need to do the following:-

  1. Go to Settings, Applications and tick the Unknown Sources box (otherwise you can only install applications from the Android Market).
  2. Download the chosen App to your PC by right-clicking on the appropriate link and choosing to SaveAs.
  3. Connect your phone to your PC, enable USB transfers, and copy the file (which ends in .APK) onto the phone's storage card.
  4. Disable USB transfers on the phone
  5. Find the file where you put in on the phone, and select it for installation.
  6. Finally, go to Settings, Applications and untick the Unknown Sources box.

N.B. For me, the easiest way of doing steps 5 and 6 was to use the Android Market to install ASTRO File Manager which is an excellent tool for browsing around looking for files and doing things with the files. One of the things you can do with an APK file is to run up the Application Manager which will then help you to install the APK file.

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