Tag Archives: apps

App Inventor to add “Responsive Design” features next week

MIT App Inventor upgrade coming next Monday – the upgrade will support apps running on devices with different size screens, such as a smart phone versus a tablet.

There’s one important rule when using App Inventor to create apps with responsive design:

Specify widths and heights of components as percentages of the screen width and height, rather than as fixed numbers of pixels.

For example, to make a button whose width is half the screen width, set the button’s width to be 50 percent rather than setting it to a specific number of pixels.

See Responsive Design in App Inventor

Please see the link for details on this upcoming change.

Apps written in Java and the Android SDK have access to additional methods of creating flexible design layouts, or even multiple layouts, for different screen sizes.

App Inventor 2 Tutorial Volume 2 is now available at Amazon

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Volume 2 of the App Inventor 2 Tutorial is now available at Amazon as an e-book via this link: App Inventor 2 Tutorial Volume 2: Step-by-step: Advanced features including TinyDB.  The e-book will also be available from Google Play shortly.

Description

MIT App Inventor 2 is a fast and simple way to create custom Android apps for smart phones or tablets. Volume 2 in the series introduces debugging methods, explains additional controls not covered in Volume 1, introduces “agile” methods for developing a real world app, and provides sample code for using the TinyDB database.

The App Inventor 2 Tutorial series is targeted at adult learners (high school and up). App Inventor 2 provides a simplified “drag and drop” interface to layout your app’s screen design. Then implement the app’s behavior with “drag and drop” programming blocks to quickly assemble a program in a graphical interface.

Volume 1 of this series covered the basics of the App Inventor user interface Designer and the Blocks programming editor, plus basic “blocks” programming concepts and tools for arithmetic, text processing, event handling, lists and other features. Volume 2 builds upon Volume 1 to provide tips on debugging programs when the apps work incorrectly, how to use hidden editing features, and how to install your own apps on to your phone or tablet for general use. Code samples are provided for using the Notifier component for general use or for debugging, for user interface control tricks such as buttons that change color continuously or implementing the missing “radio buttons” component, using ListPicker and Spinner for list selections, and using the WebViewer to display web pages in your app. The book includes a large section on designing and building a sample real world application and finishes with a chapter on using the TinyDB database.

For readers of the blog, Chapters 4–8 are based on the tutorial already presented here. Chapter 2 and Chapter 9 on TinyDB are all new material.

Chapters

  • Introduction
  • Chapter 1 – App Inventor Tips
  • Chapter 2 – Debugging App Inventor Programs
  • Chapter 3 – User Interface Control Tricks
  • Chapter 4 – Designing and Building a Real World Application
  • Chapter 5 – Tip Calculator Version 2
  • Chapter 6 – Tip Calculator Version 3
  • Chapter 7 – Tip Calculator Version 4
  • Chapter 8 – Tip Calculator Version 5
  • Chapter 9 – Using the TinyDB database

(Volume 3 is now available – App Inventor 2 Databases and Files adds substantially more information on TinyDB, plus TinyWebDB and Fusion Tables and includes the full introduction to TinyDB).

AppInventor_Volume2Cover

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I have added a new “Subscribe by email” feature to provide another way to be alerted to new posts on this web site.

Look for “SUBSCRIBE TO POSTS BY EMAIL” in the right column of this page, then enter your name and email address and click on Subscribe.

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I have only tested this feature with my own email address but hopefully it will work well for anyone who wishes to receive post alerts via email!

Facebook is a simple way to be alerted to updates, but you may also wish to use Twitter, our RSS newsfeed, or the new email subscription – or all of them! My intent is to make it simple for you to receive new posts in what ever way works best for you.

TOO MANY TOTES! Android game written in App Inventor

It’s free – the TOO MANY TOTES! game for Android devices – download at the Google Play Store.

The app was created by student members of the Glencoe High School FIRST Robotics Team #4488 “Shockwave” and was developed using MIT App Inventor. The Android game is inspired by the 2015 FIRST Robotics Competition game called “Recycle Rush”. In the game, robots must stack a variety of container “totes” and a trash can on top and relocate the containers to a recycle zone on the playing field. Students design, build and test their robots – weighing up to about 120 pounds or 55 kilograms – these are large, complex pieces of mechanics, controlled by an advanced system controller, with control software also written by the student team. To learn more about FIRST Robotics, visit the web site at http://usfirst.org

I am one of many volunteer engineering mentors to the Shockwave Team. This year, I was mentor for the applications software team, that has developed a number of Android apps (the game is the only one publicly available), an Excel spreadsheet (written in VBA) to analyze data and develop optimal strategies, plus another app written in Python to process text comments about other robotics teams.

The team’s Android apps are written using MIT App Inventor.