You are previewing Learning MIT App Inventor: A Hands-On Guide to Building Your Own Android Apps.
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Learning MIT App Inventor: A Hands-On Guide to Building Your Own Android Apps

Book Description

With MIT’s App Inventor 2, anyone can build complete, working Android apps—without writing code! This complete tutorial will help you do just that, even if you have absolutely no programming experience.

Unlike books focused on the obsolete Google version, Learning MIT App Inventor is written from the ground up for MIT’s dramatically updated Version 2.

The authors guide you step-by-step through every task and feature, showing you how to create apps by dragging, dropping, and connecting puzzle pieces—not writing code. As you learn, you’ll also master expert design and development techniques you can build on if you ever do want to write code.

Through hands-on projects, you’ll master features ranging from GPS to animation, build high-quality user interfaces, make everything work, and test it all with App Inventor’s emulator. (You won’t even need an Android device!)

All examples for this book are available at theapplanet.com/appinventor 

Coverage includes:

  • Understanding mobile devices and how mobile apps run on them

  • Planning your app's behavior and appearance with the Designer

  • Using the Blocks Editor to tell your app what to do and how to do it

  • Creating variables and learning how to use them effectively

  • Using procedures to group and reuse pieces of code in larger, more complicated apps

  • Storing data in lists and databases

  • Using App Inventor's gaming, animation, and media features

  • Creating more sophisticated apps by using multiple screens

  • Integrating sensors to make your app location-aware

  • Debugging apps and fixing problems

  • Combining creativity and logical thinking to envision more complex apps

  • Table of Contents

    1. About This eBook
    2. Title Page
    3. Copyright Page
    4. Dedication Page
    5. Table of Contents
    6. Acknowledgments
    7. About the Authors
    8. Preface
      1. What Is MIT App Inventor?
        1. Why Android?
        2. What This Book Covers
        3. Chapter 1: An Introduction to Programming
        4. Chapter 2: Building with MIT App Inventor
        5. Chapter 3: App Inventor Toolkit
        6. Chapter 4: Variables
        7. Chapter 5: Procedures
        8. Chapter 6: Working with Lists
        9. Chapter 7: Games and Animations
        10. Chapter 8: Multiple Screens and Debugging Techniques
        11. Chapter 9: Using Media
        12. Chapter 10: Sensors
        13. Chapter 11: Databases
        14. Chapter 12: Distributing an App
        15. Next Steps
    9. 1. An Introduction to Programming
      1. Operating Systems
        1. User Interface
      2. Android Strengths
        1. Extending App Capabilities
        2. Google Services
      3. Applications
      4. Programming Languages
      5. Summary
      6. Exercises
    10. 2. Building with MIT App Inventor
      1. The MIT App Inventor Site
        1. Signing In
        2. Designer
        3. Blocks Editor
        4. The AI2 Companion App
        5. The Android Emulator
        6. USB Connection to Android Device
      2. Getting Inside an App
        1. Event Handlers
        2. Doing One Thing at a Time
      3. Exercise: Sherlock Is Watching
        1. Adding an Image
      4. What Can You Build?
        1. Speak, Android!
        2. Pollock
        3. Fore
        4. Android Quiz
      5. Uploading to Google Play
      6. Summary
      7. Exercises
    11. 3. App Inventor Toolkit
      1. Creating a New Project
      2. Designer Essentials
        1. Palette
        2. Viewer
        3. Components
        4. Properties
        5. Media
      3. Exercise: Speak, Android!
        1. Connecting Your Device
        2. See Your App on a Connected Device
      4. Summary
      5. Exercises
    12. 4. Variables
      1. Component Properties: The Built-in Variables
        1. Clicker-Counter App
        2. Properties: Getters and Setters
        3. Clicker Counter Extensions
      2. Event Parameters: Special Variables
      3. Exercise: Pollock
        1. The Interface
        2. Programming Blocks
        3. Additional Exercises
      4. Scope: Global and Local Variables
      5. Global Variables
        1. Example App: Up/Down Counter
      6. Local Variables
        1. An Example App: Random Guess
      7. What You Can Store in Variables
      8. Summary
    13. 5. Procedures
      1. What Is a Procedure?
      2. Types of Procedures
      3. Why Use Procedures?
      4. Arguments
      5. Exercise: Flick
      6. Additional Exercises
      7. Summary
    14. 6. Working with Lists
      1. Modeling Things with Data
        1. The List Block
      2. The Basics
        1. Creating an Empty List
        2. Creating a List with Some Stuff Already In It
        3. Working with Lists
        4. Color as a List
      3. Types of Lists
        1. The One-Dimensional List
        2. Lists as Data Structures
        3. Using Multiple Lists Together (That Expand on Demand)
      4. Abstraction with Lists and Procedures
        1. Lists that Expand on Demand
      5. Common Problems
        1. Running Off the End of the List
        2. Defining a Variable That Depends on Runtime Elements
      6. Exercise: Android Quiz
      7. Additional Exercises
      8. Summary
    15. 7. Games and Animations
      1. Adding Animations
        1. ImageSprite
        2. Ball
        3. Canvas
      2. Animation Examples
        1. Smoother Animation
        2. Edges and Collisions
      3. Exercise: Fore
      4. Additional Exercises
      5. Summary
    16. 8. Multiple Screens and Debugging Techniques
      1. Why More Than One Screen?
      2. Building Apps with Multiple Screens
        1. What Screens Are Good At
        2. Issues with Multiple Screens
        3. Switching Screens
        4. Sharing Data Between Screens
      3. Debugging Techniques
        1. Leaving Comments
        2. Test Small and Test Often
        3. Do It
        4. Name Well
      4. Backing up Your Work
      5. Exercise: Pollock Plus One
      6. Additional Exercises
      7. Summary
    17. 9. Using Media
      1. Audio
      2. Images
        1. The ImagePicker
        2. The Camera
      3. Video
      4. Exercise: Camera Action
      5. Additional Exercises
      6. Summary
    18. 10. Sensors
      1. Building Location-Aware Apps
        1. Using Location
        2. Location Data
        3. Using the Maps App with Intents
        4. Saving Location Data
      2. The Accelerometer
        1. Detecting Tilt (and a Little Background Physics)
      3. The Orientation Sensor
      4. Exercise: Pushpin
        1. Part 1: Designing Current Location Readout
        2. Programming Part 1: The Current Location Readout
        3. Part 2: Pinning a Location to Remember Later
        4. Programming Part 2: Pinning a Location
        5. Extension Activities
      5. Summary
    19. 11. Databases
      1. TinyDB
        1. Retrieving Data from TinyDB
        2. A Few TinyDB Details
      2. TinyWebDB
        1. Setting Up Your Own Web Database Service
        2. Security and Privacy
      3. FusionTables
      4. Using Web GET and POST
        1. Basic Files
        2. Web APIs
      5. Exercise: WriteMore
      6. Additional Exercises
      7. Summary
    20. 12. Distributing an App
      1. Live Mode
      2. Security Settings
      3. Creating an APK File
        1. Downloading Directly to a Computer
        2. Downloading with a QR Code
      4. Creating an .aia File
      5. Exercise: App Distribution
        1. Version Codes
        2. Google Play Developer Console
      6. Summary
    21. Index