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The Android Gets Its HyperCard 256

theodp writes "Steve Jobs & Co. put the kibosh on easier cellphone development, but Google is giving it a shot. The NY Times reports that Google is bringing Android software development to the masses, offering a software tool starting Monday that's intended to make it easy for people to write applications for its Android phones. The free software, called Google App Inventor for Android, has been under development for a year. User testing has been done mainly in schools with groups that included sixth graders, high school girls, nursing students and university undergraduates who are not CS majors. The thinking behind the initiative, Google said, is that as cellphones increasingly become the computers that people rely on most, users should be able to make applications themselves. It's something Apple should be taking very seriously, advises TechCrunch."
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The Android Gets Its HyperCard

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  • Re:scripting (Score:5, Informative)

    by ampathee ( 682788 ) on Monday July 12, 2010 @09:50AM (#32873974)

    Here [] you go.

  • Re:Just like Scratch (Score:5, Informative)

    by yelvington ( 8169 ) on Monday July 12, 2010 @09:54AM (#32874016) Homepage

    According to the documentation, [] App Inventor is based on Open Blocks, which is in turn modeled after Scratch, and uses Kawa [] (a Scheme implementation) to produce Java.

    As for the Blackberry Storm ... it's best not to speak of these things.

  • by Missing.Matter ( 1845576 ) on Monday July 12, 2010 @10:26AM (#32874324)

    As much as i hate apple for their approval policies, some level of QA is probably a plus (and apple is taking it way to far)

    The approval process is not so much about QA as it is about making sure your app doesn't compete with Apple's. Yes, they do check to make sure you're not using any undocumented APIs and that the app doesn't blatantly crash, but there is some real trash out there. They'll gladly let anything through, no matter how useless, including those that make a mockery of their own HIG.

  • What's amazing... (Score:5, Informative)

    by amiran ( 923374 ) on Monday July 12, 2010 @10:27AM (#32874334)

    ... is the fact, that the guy behind this project is Harold Abelson, author of Structure and Interpretation of Computer Programs! He described LISP "picture language" in the book as a useful learning concept. He also "...directed the first implementation of LOGO for the Apple II" which seems interesting in this case.

  • by SuperKendall ( 25149 ) on Monday July 12, 2010 @10:42AM (#32874492)

    I think Apple's thinking is that for simpler development, you can use HTML5. They actually have an already existing tool separate from XCode, that lets you pretty easily design a nice UI in HTML5 - it's called Dashcode.

    It does require you install the developer tools (which are free).

    That said I applaud Google for this effort, perhaps it could become a new standard for introductory programming classes in gradeschool/highschool.

  • Re:lawl (Score:3, Informative)

    by faedle ( 114018 ) on Monday July 12, 2010 @10:52AM (#32874584) Homepage Journal

    I will debate the "not cutting in to Apple's iPhone user base" statement.

    I know of three different "non-geeks" who had second and third generation iPhones who have switched to Android handsets. Two have switched to the Sprint EVO, one to a Verizon Droid handset (I don't remember which) in the last 30 days.

    In all three cases, the reasons were simple. Their contracts with AT&T were up, and they were irritated at AT&T's issues so they went looking. In all three cases, they found features present in the Android handsets that were compelling (4G coverage, while spotty on the Sprint EVO with the tethering capability in one case, Verizon's rock-solid coverage in the other).

    It's a bit early for the media and consulting houses to have picked up yet, but I suspect the story is the same: Apple introduced people to smartphones, and now that the market is ready a lot of non-techie types are frustrated with AT&T and looking for alternatives. And Android handsets are in a very good position right now to put the hurt on, and I think it is starting to happen.

    Hell, even T-Mobile is beating off potential Android customers with a stick, if my recent visit to a local T-Mobile store to handle a customer service issue with my handset is any indication.

  • Re:lawl (Score:4, Informative)

    by 99BottlesOfBeerInMyF ( 813746 ) on Monday July 12, 2010 @11:42AM (#32875092)

    So, as a "usability expert", you advocate dumbing things down to a preschooler level...instead of advocating people learning how to distinguish between button #1 and button #2?

    Maybe you don't understand what usability is. It's making tasks as easy and efficient as possible. For the most part, two button mice are wasted because the interfaces are designed by someone who does not know what the user's tasks are. For example, on a machine that ships with a single button mouse, nothing stops you from installing a three button mouse. I'm using one right now. But instead of a developer who does not know my workflow choosing what two of those buttons do, and me getting to program one of them in a customized way, I get two to customize and one is preprogrammed. That also means no functionality is "hidden" in a context menu. All of it is accessible from the regular menus, which means if a person with a mouth controlled joystick needs to use the software, they can actually get to everything.

    Simple DEFAULTS don't dumb down an interface. They make it usable.

    Seriously...if someone is struggling with two buttons, they shouldn't be using a computer.

    In my experience that would be about 30% of users in a given day, including a network security expert that is running the show for one of the largest telecomm companies in the world and has an IQ, PhD's, and enough experience to make your resume look like crap. You want to bet you never look in the wrong menu using the wrong mouse button when trying to perform tasks? I bet you do. Almost everyone does. It's just part of how people use computers these days and something we don't pay attention to.

    You can call that being a dick, you can call that not listening to user's problems...

    I call that idiocy and ignoring problems and blaming users for shitty usability. That would make you the average programmer then... maybe even one at MS :)

    The truth is, a one button mouse setup leads to a great many usability improvements.


    Umm, every book on computing usability ever published; or very nearly. Are you joking? Have you bothered to do any research on the topic, ever?

    You would have to use the keyboard to modify how that one mouse button functions.

    That's one option. It's called "chording". Another, more common, option is to make everything accessible without needing a second button. A third option, for more advanced users, is to add a device with multiple buttons, or enable those buttons when present in devices with a flexible number of buttons (ala magic mouse or whatever they call it).

    So now, instead of just clicking the button next to one the user is already using, you want them to have to find a specific key on a keyboard to act as a modifier?

    For some advanced options and shortcuts to actions, sure. For regular users, they should never need to use options only available there. It should strictly be for shortcuts, advanced options, and user programmable functions.

    They already have trouble using two buttons on the same object...what makes you think they could choose one out of 104 buttons on a separate object?

    The point is, if you only have one button by default, they never have to because no programmer in their right mind puts functionality ONLY in that place, as programmers routinely do for right click menus.

    Look. I can understand what you're getting at...I just think you are way off base.

    But you clearly haven't bothered to do any research on the topic. You just have an opinion formed out of your own emotional baggage and with no scientific basis or evidence.

    Your point about tablets have some credence to them, but their problem isn't that the interfaces weren't originally designed fo

  • by walter_f ( 889353 ) on Monday July 12, 2010 @04:16PM (#32878312)

    By the way, historic[ally], it was Steve Jobs who killed the original HyperCard.
    That happened in February 1998, if my memory doesn't mislead me, with a release-grade HC 3.0 just round the corner.

    And sorry, I regard a browser as a piece of software that may serve many purposes, but certainly not all, not even close.

  • Re:lawl (Score:3, Informative)

    by rdean400 ( 322321 ) on Monday July 12, 2010 @05:42PM (#32879452)

    This IDE looks similar to Ares (Palm's webOS IDE, which has been out for several months now).

In English, every word can be verbed. Would that it were so in our programming languages.