Welcome to App Inventor 2: Learn to Code!
This is a web site, a blog, tutorials, sample code, a Facebook page, e-books and more!
App Inventor is a quick and simple way to create apps for Android.
App Inventor 2, developed by Google and MIT, is a browser-based Android development system featuring a “drag and drop” user interface designer and a similar “blocks” visual programming system.
App Inventor has been pitched towards those under age 18 as a simplified way to create games for Android. However, App Inventor is quite capable of creating business and productivity applications too. And that is what this web site is about!
My style is to provide simple, step-by-step examples of each feature. This makes it easier for you to understand the specifics of a component – such as App Inventor lists, or user interface components – without a lot of complexity. There are many fine tutorials available online but they tend to present entire programs containing many App Inventor features all at once. My goal is to present each feature in a simple, isolated example, whenever possible.
I have also created a series of e-books to help you get started – see detailed descriptions of these App Inventor e-books here.
My name is Edward Mitchell and I live in Redmond, Oregon. I am not affiliated with Google or MIT and this effort is done independently, by me.
My bio used to just say that I had worked in software development and sort of left it at that. I noticed that everyone else boasts of their accomplishments and seems to derive success and recognition from that. Consequently, now at the end of my career, I have finally updated my bio.
I grew up in northern California, worked since the age of 11, finished high school one year early and earned a B.S. in information and computer science from the University of California, Irvine, and later in life, an M.B.A. from Gonzaga University (2001, GPA 3.89) and an M.S. in software engineering from Regis University (Dec. 2012, GPA 4.0, thesis on Android power management). I worked and paid for all college tuition myself.
My career spans Silicon Valley to Microsoft and wireless technology at companies including Agilent and Vivato Wireless. I have worked on or managed teams delivering #1 best selling software products, four times.
I have written a dozen books, primarily on software development and have two U.S. patents.
I have held a ham radio license since I was a teen, and in my 20s, was an FAA certificated private pilot. I am also a 3D photographer and author of a book on 3D photography. I spent ten years as a FIRST Robotics mentor, working with high school students in launching their STEM careers. I have also been a volunteer firefighter, a search and rescue volunteer and a Red Cross Disaster Services volunteer.
Throughout my life I had to deal with surviving multiple traumatic brain injuries (one skull fracture, 4 knock out blows that broke bones and bike helmets, and one head injury that led to slow brain and other problems for weeks), and long lasting effects of TBI. Protect your head; I strongly advise against experiencing TBI.
I am a member of EAA, AMA, ARRL, AMSAT, HiDARG and the Hoverclub of America (I now fly a hovercraft).
I am married to Kim (retired biochemist and R.N.) and a Dad to 3 adult “kids” – oldest daughter is a psychiatric nurse practitioner and Russian linguist, son is a research materials scientist, and youngest daughter is a geologist, microbiologist, cell biologist, hydrologist and geochemist and a staff scientist at an environmental consulting firm.
My LinkedIn Profile
About the Heading Photo At Top of Page
The photo is cropped from a photo I took of the Natural Bridge in Capitol Reef National Park in Utah in the spring of 2014.
I took a 3D photo of the Natural Bridge using two small Nikon 1 cameras to take the left and right images for the 3D photo. But I cropped out a section of just one of the images for the title photo.
I suppose this photo should have some symbolism about developing App Inventor apps and the power of App Inventor programming – but in reality, its just a nice photo of a neat rock formation!
9 thoughts on “About”
Just a quick note to say thanks for the blog – I have accessed it four or five times this morning as I have been experimenting with text files and warning boxes and found your explanations and examples very useful. I am working in a Secondary school in UK at moment and am just brushing up my knowledge. Thanks for your efforts.
Hello Jim and thank you for your comments. Much appreciated!
I am continuing to work on more tutorials that will cover many advanced topics including App Inventor and databases, and graphics. Once those are done, I hope to translate some to video tutorials.
While I am not a teacher, I am a volunteer engineering mentor for a local high school (Secondary education) robotics program here in the States. I tremendously appreciate your work as a teacher! Thank you for your efforts and the efforts of great teachers everywhere!
Hello! I would like to reference the tutorial in the following link, in my coursework(http://appinventor.pevest.com/?p=81). Would I say that the author is Edward Mitchell? Also when was this tutorial published? Thank you
Monica – please use the material as you need in your course work – that’s why it is here! Thank you for asking and appreciate the credit.
This specific post was published on Sep 8, 2014. The date each post was first published appears at the bottom of each post.
Your blog and books are great! Thanks a lot! I am trying to re-learn electronics after a long time as a multinational executive, and your a good source of inspiration. I am doing projects with Arduino and Haspberry-Pi, using Android Apps when necessary. I am writing a blog to record my discoveries and share learnings. Saludos e obrigado! 😉
Thank you very much! I want to write more here about Android and Arduino and Raspberry Pi too. Right now, I am busy volunteering with a school robotics team – as soon as that is done, I hope to spend time on hardware projects.
Your blog at http://mjrobot.org/ looks great too!
I’m enjoying your blog and App Inventor ebooks very much. I’m a semi-retired teacher and so I can appreciate the thought, expertise and instructional knowhow that has gone into writing thesw ebooks for a lay audience. Much appreciated. I have an unusual(?) question. I’m 65 years old and have just started learning to build apps. If I can sustain this interest I would like to build apps for seniors as I feel this is a relatively untapped market, particularly for app builders who are mature-aged themselves. Yes, there are a number of apps for seniors, but would be surprised if many of these are built by seniors. However, I’m sure you are better informed on this than me. I’ve been online looking for like-minded app builders and all I seem to come across are 13 to 15 year-olds(!). That’s fine if you are a teenager, however it would be good if I could find a few people to chat with who are some 50 years older than them … Do you know of any like-minded seniors who write/belong to a Special Interest Group/Blog/website who I can exchange ideas with?
Many thanks for your time. Kind Regards. Martin (Melbourne, Australia)
I think you have a great idea!
FYI, I’m 57 but have been writing software since, I was a teen! I’ve also been a long time mentor to high school (secondary school) robotics teams and work with many young people. We treat our young members like young adults, not youth. We interact with them as up and coming professionals – and their problem solving and leadership skills take off!
MIT App Inventor, in particular, has been targeted at what we call K-12 education in the U.S. That would be about age 5 to age 18. Many colleges have adopted App Inventor for teaching college students the basics of programming. As a consequence many of those doing App Inventor apps are young, of course.
This has led to a stereotype that young people do software and older adults are technology illiterate. My experience is that there are many older adults who are very technology literate or are trying to be. I attended a local photography club meeting for the first time last week, and took up a conversation with a guy many years older than I – discussing issues related to Linux, Mac OS X and Windows and image processing! My point being there are people like!
I have also corresponded with many “older” app developers who are working on business or science or engineering or “productivity” applications – using App Inventor. Whereas many App Inventor tutorials focus on games (an interest of youth), my tutorials look at more general programming topics which are not game-centric.
Rather than think in terms of “age”, which is something I tend to ignore whether young or old(!), I wonder if instead the focus is on “adult applications”. Okay, that needs a better name! The idea is applications of interest to those solving real world problems (regardless of age).
I don’t know of any specific groups or web sites that focus on this area. Why don’t we start one?
I think there is something to your idea – and wonder if we can promote it through the web site here and/or set up perhaps a Facebook group or Google+ group to begin the process. What do you think?
I’d be happy to work together with you on this,
Thanks for the interesting post Edward. Yes, you make a number of excellent points, one being that your books are not preoccupied with game apps, which is why I thought you might have some interesting ideas on adult applications. I am neither on Facebook or Google+, however I’m willing to change that and participate/help out if you could start the process and/or point me in the right direction. I don’t wish to burden you with additional work given that this was purely a random thought of mine as I was trawling through the App Inventor sites.
Thanks again for your time.