The first step to any new project is to begin an intense research binge about the topic. In my case, I have hurled myself down the “designing your own android app” rabbit hole and have found blogs, forums, tutorials and articles on the subject. First thing is first, I’d like to share some of my initial findings, particularly my findings on the MIT open source, App Inventor for Androids.
About 2 years ago, Google released App Inventor for Androids to select test groups at universities who were overwhelmingly pleased with the capabilities of the application. At that time, you had to request permission to use the App Inventor unless you were one of the faculty or students at selected universities.
The program allows non-developers to build Android apps with an easy-to-use visual interface that plugs into your phone for live testing. The App Inventor includes three important aspects; the design editor, the blocks editor, and the emulator. You can also hook up your android phone and test apps directly, if you have the appropriate drivers.
January of this year, Google and MIT have released App Inventor for Android on an open source basis, under the complete direction of MIT. Now, anyone can go online and download the software to run the application in their browser. The website has lots of tutorials and literature to help make the process easier to learn.