Wednesday, June 17, 2015

My first android app with MIT App Inventor - what a blast!

I'd been thinking for quite some time that I'd like to write a simple Android app, just to see what it's like. And what do you know - it's a lot of fun!

I was tired of the timer app that I've been using for a long time - it takes too much work to start it up, and then it has annoying ads that keep the screen turned on. So, I decided to write my own. Also, a timer app would be one of the simplest I could write.

I used the MIT App Inventor program. It uses a click-and-drag programming model which is easy to get into, but has all the disadvantage of graphical programming frameworks - great for small apps, but burdensome when it gets more complicated.

I specifically designed this timer app to be very simple, and called it Timer - Super Simple. It has just 2 buttons - Add 5 minutes, and Clear. And there's a display that shows the amount of time left. This is probably not an app many people would want to use, because the time can only be increased in 5 minute increments. But it's what I wanted.

Here's a link to download the app: https://sites.google.com/site/timersupersimple/

And also, here's a link to my very first video screencast that I uploaded to YouTube. I was having a hard time figuring out how to center things in App Inventor, so once I figured it out, I decided to make a video for it, using the free version of Screencast-o-matic. But it turns out there's a much easier way of doing it, so I made the video unlisted.




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