Do you have a great idea for an Android app, but no programming skills? Don't let that little problem stop you. Here are two easy ways anyone can develop an app for Android Smartphones.
App Inventor: A Non-Programmer's App Development Tool
Google has created this program to allow non-technical designers to create Android apps with ease. It requires absolutely no programming know-how; apps are created visually using pre-configured blocks of code. The App Inventor interface includes a module for anything that can be done on an Android phone, from saving information to interfacing with Twitter. By combining these functions in a logical order, you can do just about anything.
Follow these basic steps if you'd like to create an app using App Inventor:
1. Set Up Your Computer – Verify that you have a recent version of your preferred operating system and browser, install Java 1.6, and install the appropriate version of App Inventor based on your operating system.
2. Start a New Project – Go to the App Inventor website to access the projects page. Click "new" on the left side of the screen and enter a project name.
3. Select Code Blocks – After entering a name, you should be directed to the Designer screen. Look to the left under "Palette" to find the code blocks used to create an app. To select a block, drag-and-drop it into the viewer.
4. Configuring a Code Block – To change the properties for a specific code block, select it in the viewer and change the values on the right side of the screen.
5. Open the Blocks Editor – Open the Blocks Editor in a separate window by clicking "Open the Blocks Editor" from within the Designer screen.
6. Open the Emulator – Click the "new Emulator" button within the Blocks Editor to open a smartphone simulator – this can take a few minutes.
7. Connect the Emulator to App Inventor – Click "Connect to Device" from the Blocks Editor and click on the emulator in the drop down list to connect the two.
8. Assign Behaviors to the Code Block – in the Blocks Editor screen, define the behavior for each code block. Drag-and-drop the behaviors your app requires from either the "My Blocks" or "Built-In" tabs in the upper-left corner of the screen.
9. Package the App – If your phone is attached to the computer with a USB cord, you can try the app on the phone. To permanently install the app on the phone, package it into an apk file by clicking "Package for Phone" on the Designer page and choosing the appropriate option.
Although this looks like a long process, it's easy once you get the hang of it. Start off by creating a simple app that just makes a sound when you press a button. From there, continue to add new capabilities until you feel comfortable. At that point, turn your original idea into an Android app worthy of sharing.
Be the Idea Person and Contract out the Labor
Many talented designers couldn't code their way out of a wet paper bag. If you'd like to be the mastermind behind the hottest app to hit the Android market, consider hiring an equally talented programmer to do the actual coding.
If this sounds like a plan, there are plenty of freelance sites filled with experienced App developers waiting for new projects. GetAppQuotes is one of the most popular sites used to connect designers and developers, but there are plenty of other options available.
Whether you want to put together a new Android app from the bottom up or hire a little expert help, there's nothing standing in your way. In practically no time, your idea could be generating buzz in the Android market.
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