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Hey, I made an app!

August 5, 2011

I started playing with Google AppInventor a few days ago, and now I have a working app! It’s not a very exciting app, nor a very pretty one. But it works.

The limits of AppInventor are interesting. It only lets you create one screen. So imagine an app where you have six buttons on a homepage that take you to six different pages within the app. AppInventor doesn’t work that way. You can create them all on one screen and fake the transition by making the others not visible, but you can’t make separate screens. The second challenge was simply creating a button that would take you to a webpage. I didn’t think ahead that that would require telling the phone to open a browser. (Duh.)

My first idea was for a crafty/sewing app for Android. There are several for iPhone, but a severe lack on Android. So far it does two things:

  • Link you to the coupon pages of Michael’s, A.C. Moore, and Hobby Lobby
  • Show a chart converting fabric yardage from 45″ to 60″ widths

I’d like to make the second one a calculator, but I’ve only found tables. It would be a lot easier if I could find the actual formula for that calculation.

My second goal is some kind of personal stash catalog, either fabric, patterns, or both. I think AppInventor will let you work with Barcode Scanner, so I think I could at least scan barcodes on patterns to make a list. With several hundred patterns in my stash, just the scanning could take a while! (I wish the pattern companies would release their current catalogs through apps. That would be really handy.)

If you’re brave enough to try it out, you can grab it from my DropBox. You’ll have to tell your phone it’s allowed to install things that didn’t come from the Market, though. (If you’ve installed Swype, you’ve already told it that.)

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