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MIT App Inventor

2018-10-18
A young kid is creating  application using blocks.

As we mentioned in an earlier article, MIT App Inventor is a Blockly-based coding platform that is used in the development of mobile and tablet applications. It is used by beginners as well as professionals. In this article, we will emphasize how easy it is to start coding your app from scratch through finishing it and uploading it to the store.


Getting started

The first thing you will do when you start your app inventor webpage is renamed your new project. You will see the main screen named Screen 1 and an Add screen button that will let you add multiple screens as necessary.


Each screen has two tabs on the right: the Designer tab and the Blocks tab. The Designer tab is where you can add your user interface, which we will discuss in detail later. The Blocks tab is where the actual visual programming occurs.


You will see the palette to the left. This is the actual user interface builder where you can drag and drop whatever items you would like to add to your campus. You can add buttons, checkboxes, images, sliders, or text boxes and more. There are lots of options out there. Once you add an item, you will see a corresponding control block that has been automatically added to the Blocks tab.

What about your smartphone?

When you are developing applications for smartphones, you may need to utilize the phone’s sensors. These can include the gyro sensor, the accelerometer, the camera, the microphone, the light sensor, and others.


You can find all these sensors in the Sensors tab on the left. Once you pick one, you won’t see it in the Designers tab because there is no direct interface with sensors in a mobile application. Instead, you will find a control block for it in the Blocks tab, where you can set the rules for what happens and when what occurs!


Now, let’s get coding!

After you figure out all the things you want your app to do and finish designing your user interface, you can move to the Blocks tab and start writing your application’s logic. There, you will find all the traditional Blockly blocks including variables, conditional statements, loops, functions, and more.

There are also some customized blocks for mobile users that will let you do things like using the system’s clock. Don’t forget about the blocks that were generated when you added sensors to your app! You will need to use all of these together to build your app prior to testing and publishing.


Excited about earning money from your first app? Let’s begin by learning the basics of the Blockly language. Start your learning journey with RoboGarden today and register for free.


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