Become an App Inventor: The Official Guide from Mit App Inventor: Your Guide to Designing, Building, and Sharing Apps

Become an App Inventor: The Official Guide from Mit App Inventor: Your Guide to Designing, Building, and Sharing Apps
Author(s)
Publisher
Age Range
12+
Release Date
February 08, 2022
ISBN
978-1536219142
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Have you ever wanted to build your own mobile apps? App Inventor, a free and revolutionary online program from MIT, lets you do just that. With the help of this companion guide chock-full of colorful graphics and easy-to-follow instructions, readers can learn how to create six different apps, including a working piano, a maze game, and even their own chat app to communicate with friends—then use what they’ve learned to build apps of their own imagination. User-friendly code blocks that snap together allow even beginners to quickly create working apps. Readers will also learn about young inventors already using their own apps to make a difference in their communities, such as the girls from Moldova whose app helps alert residents when local well water is contaminated. Or the boys from Malden, Massachusetts, whose app lets users geotag potholes to alert city hall when repairs are needed. With this inspiring guide, curious young dreamers can become real inventors with real-world impact.

Editor review

1 review
Helping Digital Natives Design Apps with Ease
Overall rating
 
5.0
Writing Style
 
5.0
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable)
 
5.0
Learning Value
 
5.0
This book starts, in fact, with detailed instructions for going to the web site and getting started, not matter what kind of device you might have. Clear text, plenty of white space (well, cream), and screen shots, accompanied by notes that are clearly labeled, make this very helpful for learners who struggle to flip back and forth between screens. Working with this book alongside a device, and being able to flip back and forth, makes it so much easier to use the website.

I especially liked how the elements of the design pages were set up and explained. The App Inventor, which admittedly I have not tried to use, seems to be a bit more sophisticated than a typical drag-and-drop system, but still has some of the ease of that format. The coding blocks are broken into categories,and it's possible to add code without memorizing the language, but is a bit more sophisticated when it comes to choosing functions, which I really appreciated. This makes it quicker, but allows more attention to detail, like using the WYSIWYG "compose" function of a platform like Blogger while being able to switch to the HTML format. There's even a "show warning" button, which can be hugely illuminative when things aren't working.

It's easier to learn things by putting concepts into practice, and there are seven different projects to choose from, including "Hello, It's Me!" and a Translation App. I was absolutely tickled to find "My Piano", since I spent much of the winter of 1979 coding my oboe solo in BASIC on the TRS-80 my family got for Christmas!

App chapters are interspersed with interviews with different kids who code, and it's fascinating to see how children around the world use app creation to address problems that their communities might be facing, like water purity, locating potholes or school buses, and cleaning up vandalized areas. I liked that these biographies addressed the challenges that the coders faced, as well as the successes they had.
Good Points
I remembers computer punch cards and came of age when people were hooking Tandy TRS-80 Micro Computer systems to their televisions and building their own computers from scratch. I also took coding classes in the '90s and built websites with HTML and Java Script. It amazes me that today's children (the same ones who look at me and say "You're old. How do you know so much about computers?") aren't more interested in coding. This book, which goes along with MIT's App Inventor website (https://appinventor.mit.edu/), is a great step by step way to lure young technophiles into creating their own apps.

I am a digital immigrant who does not enjoy spending any more time on the computer than I have to, even on social media. I have a smart phone only because I couldn't find a dumb phone with a slide out keyboard, and am supremely unlikely to wade into the bracing waters of app creation.

This is a great book to hand to young inventors, along with Saujani's Girls Who Code: Learn to Code and Change the World, Young Rewired State's 2016 Get Coding!: Learn HTML, CSS & JavaScript to Build a Website, App & Game, or other how-to manuals on coding, or who have been inspired by fiction books like Deutsch's Girls Who Code series, Stone's Click'd, Tashjian's My Life as a Coder (My Life #9) or Yang's Secret Coders. My only concern about this book is that it will become obsolete if MIT changes its website at all. Still, this is a very helpful instruction manual for starting to create apps.
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