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Google Pulls Plug On Programming For the Masses

CmdrTaco posted more than 3 years ago | from the hacking-is-cancelled dept.

Education 236

theodp writes "Google has decided to pull the plug on Android App Inventor, which was once touted as a game-changer for introductory computer science. In an odd post, Google encourages folks to 'Get Started!' with the very product it's announcing will be discontinued as a Google product. The move leaves CS Prof David Wolber baffled. ' In the case of App Inventor,' writes Wolber, 'the decision affects more than just your typical early adopter techie. It hurts kids and schools, and outfits like Iridescent, who use App Inventor in their Technovation after-school programs for high school girls, and Youth Radio's Mobile Action Lab, which teaches app building to kids in Oakland California. You've hurt professors and K-12 educators who have developed new courses and curricula with App Inventor at the core. You've hurt universities who have redesigned their programs.' Wolber adds: 'Even looking at it from Google's perspective, I find the decision puzzling. App Inventor was a public relations dream. Democratizing app building, empowering kids, women, and underrepresented groups — this is good press for a company continually in the news for anti-trust and other far less appealing issues. And the cost-benefit of the cut was negligible-believe it or not, App Inventor was a small team of just 5+ employees! The Math doesn't make sense.'"

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It has been seen before (5, Insightful)

zget (2395308) | more than 3 years ago | (#37045730)

Anyone who still does anything serious with Google's products kind of deserves it. Google has been for years putting some product up just to completely discontinue it soon enough. Unlike desktop software, Google discontinuing product means that you really cannot use it anymore. Google is really hurting itself and their image with this shit and ensuring competitors products like from Microsoft will continue to be widely used.

Re:It has been seen before (5, Insightful)

ShakaUVM (157947) | more than 3 years ago | (#37045834)

Yeah, I was just at a workshop today where the presenter was bitterly remarking that some history-related search function she was going to show us had just been yanked by Google.

App Inventor always seemed like a toy to me, not really capable of even making, say, an app for checkers. That said, it provided a really nice GUI for doing event/handler coding, easy enough for kids to understand.

I was debating teaching it to teachers... glad I didn't now.

Re:It has been seen before (5, Informative)

oakgrove (845019) | more than 3 years ago | (#37045892)

Not sure why you went on an off topic rant against Google's other products but in the case of App Inventor, Google has agreed to open source the whole thing. Which is great because as good as AI is, it leaves a bit to be desired. Honeycomb support in particular. Kudos to Google for not just taking their toys and going home but freely giving them away to benefit the rest of us and ultimately ensuring that App Inventor will always be an available tool no matter what happens behind the scenes.

Re:It has been seen before (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37046142)

Not good enough! We're worried about all the women and children! The poor, helpless things. What will they do now that their entire educational system has been dismantled by google?! Those monsters. Why do they hate children and women and teachers and schools and learning and children so much?

[tldr; jesus fuck, that summary was annoying]

Re:It has been seen before (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37046450)

yeah - Google agreeing to allow others to use the source also really helped the spread of Google Wave too, didn't it? Let's face it - App inventor is now officially dead. I tried it and it felt like fun but not powerful enough - but I will miss it since it was a nice little environment that could have been extended over time.

Re:It has been seen before (1)

oakgrove (845019) | more than 3 years ago | (#37046506)

So, while you're peering into your crystal ball there, (you do have one right?) can you tell me how this stock market crisis is going to shake out? My pins are on needles man!

Re:It has been seen before (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37046742)

It's going to go down further. Don't need a crystal ball to see that.

Re:It has been seen before (5, Insightful)

Baloroth (2370816) | more than 3 years ago | (#37046542)

Yeah, I'm not sure how making it open source counts as "pulling the plug." The summary is extremely misleading, to say the very least. I wouldn't even be surprised if Google continues developing AI after open sourcing it. In fact, they mention that they are looking to do precisely that, and because of its educational usefulness.

Seems like /. should be praising this move by Google. If Google doesn't release source code (see: Honeycomb) they're evil, and if they do... they're evil. I'm guessing someone just doesn't like Google. My guess is they don't want to develop it anymore because it just isn't powerful enough to be used for real app development, but they still want people to be able to use it. Good for Google.

Re:It has been seen before (3, Informative)

Hognoxious (631665) | more than 3 years ago | (#37046588)

The summary is extremely misleading, to say the very least.

Whenever I see something submitted by theodp, I make a bet with myself about whether it'll consist of:

Taking something out of context
Wild exaggeration
Just plain old lies

Re:It has been seen before (0)

zget (2395308) | more than 3 years ago | (#37046718)

Because when Google pulls of their development team of some of their product, it practically dies. It has been seen so many times now. But please believe it's different this time. Just like an abusive husband won't hit her wife again if she comes back, as he is different now!

Re:It has been seen before (1)

oakgrove (845019) | more than 3 years ago | (#37046880)

Wow, way to keep it classy. If you are actually comparing spinning off a software program to domestic violence, you need some serious help.

Re:It has been seen before (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37045930)

Also the math does make sense 600k per year... JUST for the devs.

API spin is not good. I am currently fighting this problem internally. Some devs do not realize that changing out APIs or dropping support on the floor for old ones seems to piss people off...

Dont court me then leave me standing at the altar thinking what the fuck...

Do it a couple of times and *any* new API you come up with will not be used. Your going to drop it in a year or two anyway...

MS did not end up in a position of power because of anything special. Its simple compatibility is BUILT in to their culture. They put it in they support it for 10+ years at a crack. They may not be adding new to something but they at least leave it there for you to use.

Re:It has been seen before (1)

gumbi west (610122) | more than 3 years ago | (#37046308)

well, MS likes forwards-self-compatibility, yes, but backwards-compatibility and non-MS-compatibility... not so much.

Re:It has been seen before (0)

Earl The Squirrel (463078) | more than 3 years ago | (#37046132)

Yeah, there should be a web page for ALL the various products that Google has killed, and some of the "impact" assessment. I mean how many is it by now?
Geeze, off the top of my head I can think of a few... Wave, Gears, Bookmark sync, Google Answers, Google Video, Dodgeball, etc, etc.

Using a Google tool in any sort of "production" environment is a real crap shoot, in my opinon...

Re:It has been seen before (0)

gumbi west (610122) | more than 3 years ago | (#37046338)

Yeah, I was thinking to (a) buy an android device and (b) continue to use gmail, but with google focused on server-client computing and shuttering stuff faster than you can say, "wait, I rely on that." neither of these makes much sense.

Re:It has been seen before (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37046670)

You are a complete dipshit.

Re:It has been seen before (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37046346)

Fuck off you M$ Shill

Re:It has been seen before (1)

countertrolling (1585477) | more than 3 years ago | (#37046726)

Anyone who still does anything serious with Google's products kind of deserves it.

Ya.. exactly. Google is completely untrustworthy. What they may accomplish through all of this is to get some more patents under its belt to lock up the market just a little bit more.

Re:It has been seen before (1)

RichardJenkins (1362463) | more than 3 years ago | (#37046770)

Seen what? A company offering a service then open sourcing it when they decide it doesn't fit in with what they do any more?

Services get obsoleted, if you can't accept that for a given project - then yeah, only use one where agreements that satisfy your needs can be put in place.

As for the apparent oddity in suggesting people get started whilst announcing the closure of the service, I think the first line in TFA clarifies: "With the winding down of Google Labs, Google will discontinue App Inventor as a Google product and will open source the code."

no surprise (0, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37045748)

App Inventor was the Visual Basic of mobile dev. It allowed any untrained monkeys to churn out malware infested apps in 5 mins.

Re:no surprise (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37046256)

App Inventor was the Visual Basic of mobile dev. It allowed any untrained monkeys to churn out malware infested apps in 5 mins.

Oh look at the trained monkey who writes code the same way.. poor you.

So simple (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37045768)

Democratizing app building, empowering kids, women, and underrepresented groups

So simple, even a woman can do it.

Riots (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37045920)

Five colored men destroyed the front yard of stricken uganda, started tonight when a colored man, known only as yellow slashed through the tripto under heart with a razor.. the white friend of the wounded man started after the negro who retreated to the toolshed.

Re:So simple (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37046034)

even bisexual half-black-latinos, half-vietnamese can use it.

Re:So simple (1)

Mean Variance (913229) | more than 3 years ago | (#37046084)

So simple, even a woman can do it.

Yeah, that caught my eye too. My manager (woman), team architect (woman), staff engineer (woman) and last 3 dev hires (women) really depended on tools to empower themselves.

Maybe I need some male empowerment since the 3 women on my team of 5 outrank me. Or, that's just how things came together.

Re:So simple (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37046416)

Maybe I need some male empowerment

Or perhaps you should get a job at a company that doesn't manufacture tampons or kitchen products?

I bet with that many women working in close proximity to one another, there's a week or so each month where you DREAD going to work, isn't there?

Re:So simple (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37046610)

Can you tell us the name of your company?

I want to make sure I never buy any of your products.

Does President Obama know about this? (3, Funny)

JudgeFurious (455868) | more than 3 years ago | (#37046322)

Maybe someone should tell him. I'm sure he can make this right.

Overessegerate much? (1)

Haedrian (1676506) | more than 3 years ago | (#37045804)

"Democratizing app building, empowering kids, women, and underrepresented group"

How dramatic. If it could do my bed and wash my dishes it'd be perfect.

Re:Overessegerate much? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37045918)

How dramatic. If it could do me in bed and make me a sammich it'd be perfect.

FTFY

Re:Overessegerate much? (0, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37046324)

You can tell the author is a professor. The National Science Foundation requires that there be an "outreach" component to research, so grant proposals always include a patronizing paragraph about how the proposed work will involve and/or improve-the-lives-of women and disadvantaged schoolchildren from the inner cities. Of course, none of this ever actually happens; they hardly bother to teach the competent undergrads at their own institutions, let alone 17-year-olds who still can't read. That would be a distraction from writing the next proposal. Nevertheless, because this kind of writing is so incentivised, eventually professors end up doing it everywhere whether they're trying to or not. Like here.

Every time you construct a game with monetary incentives -- like academic research -- people figure out how to win it. Unfortunately, the behaviors that do this usually aren't the ones you actually wanted to promote.

Open Sourcing != Pulling the plug. (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37045806)

from TFA:

"With the winding down of Google Labs, Google will discontinue App Inventor as a Google product and will open source the code. Additionally, because of App Inventor’s success in the education space, we are exploring opportunities to support the educational use of App Inventor on an open source platform."

Re:Open Sourcing != Pulling the plug. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37046092)

It'll end up having the same effect for the users.

It's Very Clear What Google Is Doing Here (5, Funny)

eldavojohn (898314) | more than 3 years ago | (#37046246)

from TFA:

"With the winding down of Google Labs, Google will discontinue App Inventor as a Google product and will open source the code. Additionally, because of App Inventor’s success in the education space, we are exploring opportunities to support the educational use of App Inventor on an open source platform."

I think it's pretty obvious what happened here. Because of close brushes with violating their "do no evil" mantra, Larry and Sergey have actually perfected time travel in order to ensure that no present actions result in future evil.

As a result, the first subject has been sent into the future to report back only negative results from Google's products. When he returned beaten and battered and bruised, he declared that support and extensions of the App Inventor must be halted. Instead of assisting in learning, App Inventor gave uneducated kids the power of super hackers -- creating applications that could be viruses and malware. The explosion of malware on mobile phones sent markets reeling and devastated the world economy ... and then, one fateful morning, as a particularly evil hacker was using App Inventor to build a smarter botnet he had the idea to use App Inventor to create an App that simply used App Inventor to progenate. And he succeeded in making it 0.000001% smarter than he himself was. And so it set out using App Inventor to make more programs that used App Inventor to make programs that were 0.000001% smarter than their parent program.

Nothing to fear, right? RIGHT?

A few quadrillion iterations later (which Google's servers handled without any problem) and App Inventor had infected every system in the world. The result was a super brilliant application that could predict and see everything by harnessing the computation power of every implemented Turing Machine in the world. Therefore, Google had to kill App Inventor now while it still had the chance.

Larry and Sergey debated for hours whether App Inventor was inherently evil or the application of App Inventor. What was worse, was that Larry was convinced that if App Inventor was not left to run its course then mankind would face an even more evil post-apocalyptic future past that when Microsoft's .NET Inventor overtook it.

And so they came up with a simple, elegant solution that would shift all the blame onto the entire world should App Inventor become the end of mankind: open source it.

Re:It's Very Clear What Google Is Doing Here (1)

krazytekn0 (1069802) | more than 3 years ago | (#37046758)

I am destroying all the turing machines within my immediate control starting after I'm done browsing slashdot for a while.

If I remember this right... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37045808)

...this thing hardly let you "invent" apps, so much as create boring cookie cutter apps.

From the horses mouth... (5, Informative)

itchythebear (2198688) | more than 3 years ago | (#37045832)

Quoted from the original source at Google:

With the winding down of Google Labs, Google will discontinue App Inventor as a Google product and will open source the code. Additionally, because of App Inventor’s success in the education space, we are exploring opportunities to support the educational use of App Inventor on an open source platform.

source [googlelabs.com]

Re:From the horses mouth... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37045912)

If this is true (open-sourcing the code) then no one has anything to complain about. As they've done before, (Etherpad, for example) Google will take reasonable steps to assure that those who've adopted a particular technology aren't thrown overboard without at least some recourse. It may not be ideal, having to stand up the infrastructure to support the open-source offering, but it's better than just pulling the plug.

Re:From the horses mouth... (1)

PickyH3D (680158) | more than 3 years ago | (#37046386)

Yeah. Just like they took reasonable steps to open source Android 3.0. And Android 3.1.

The App Inventor is now the community's problem. Had any other company done this, then people would be up in arms that there is no obvious transition.

How many people are going to transition to whatever fragmented open source offerings appear? Half, at best.

Re:From the horses mouth... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37046452)

Yeah. Just like they took reasonable steps to open source Android 3.0. And Android 3.1.

You entitlement minded little snit. Every byte of GPL'd code for Honeycomb is open sourced and can be downloaded right this minute. Google can release the code to the Apache licensed portion whenever they damn well please. Or not. While you're crying in your beer, cowboy, maybe you can console yourself with the other 25 million-plus lines of code Google has released in their history. Or the complete source to Chromium-OS which is completely transparently developed in the open and can be downloaded at any time. People like you make me sick.

Re:From the horses mouth... (1)

Sir_Sri (199544) | more than 3 years ago | (#37046436)

If this is true (open-sourcing the code) then no one has anything to complain about.

False

but it's better than just pulling the plug.

True.

Open source gives you the opportunity to make changes to software. It doesn't give you the ability, time, skills, or business relationships to do so. Google offered this up to build relationships with educators, and then said, 'sorry, nevermind'.

It is entirely possible that the non profit group being handed app inventor will actually produce a better product out of it. But part of the appeal is that it was Google offering it (which makes a lot of difference to people who aren't techies in the first place), and the idea that this product had the long legs of a major backer. I don't want to do up a course in a language that will be gone before the semester is over, let alone before next year, and then have to start again.

Re:From the horses mouth... (0, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37045980)

Hold on there, buck-o! Your "reason" and "facts" have no place on Nu-Slashdot where no opportunity is wasted by 2million+ uid users to bash Google and name-drop Microsoft.

Re:From the horses mouth... (2)

itchythebear (2198688) | more than 3 years ago | (#37046152)

Additionally, David Wolber may just be upset because he won't be selling any more books [amazon.com] ...

Where is the need... (3, Insightful)

jaymz2k4 (790806) | more than 3 years ago | (#37045846)

Democratizing app building, empowering kids, women, and underrepresented groups

I said this when it came out and I'll say it again - where is the real demand for this from these people the author is quoting? I've yet to come across someone itching to create apps but with no desire to learn development. Those people who do want/think they want/have a need for an app have just zero interest in spending the (however small) effort doing it themselves and prefer to lean on techy friends.

Re:Where is the need... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37046122)

Take a poll starting at kindergarten, and I think you'll find *quite* a lot of kids want to "Make games and programs like these and become rich" when they grow up... Especially when they hear about their "Dad's uncle's best friend's son who is selling apps for *millions*".

I mean, this *is* the iPhone generation. And the iPad has been topping christmas and birthday wish lists since it arrived. When kids like tech, kids want to make tech - so let them - and show'em how.

Re:Where is the need... (4, Funny)

vlm (69642) | more than 3 years ago | (#37046128)

Democratizing app building, empowering kids, women, and underrepresented groups

I said this when it came out and I'll say it again - where is the real demand for this from these people the author is quoting?

Supposedly that demand is the result of anti-kid / anti-woman in other dev tools. Ah that must be emacs with its "kitchen sink" comparisons, you know, keep em barefoot, pregnant and in the KITCHEN. Of course then there is vi. My guess is vi is anti-child, because you hit escape about every 5th keystroke, and everyone knows from horror movies that some mass murder ESCAPEs and kills all the teenagers in the movie. As for perl, well you got the camel book, and camels are from the middle east, and they're not known for their feminist outlook on life.

Re:Where is the need... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37046340)

I think this is satire...

I *HOPE* this is satire...

This is very funny satire...

Re:Where is the need... (1)

MightyYar (622222) | more than 3 years ago | (#37046272)

where is the real demand for this from these people the author is quoting

Teaching. When you introduce kids to music, you start with rhythm sticks and recorders - not a theremin. You don't ask them if they want to be introduced to music - you just start exposing them to it. Some will roll with it and some won't, but all will be more well-rounded for the exposure.

Re:Where is the need... (1)

jimmifett (2434568) | more than 3 years ago | (#37046698)

Actually, that is, IMO, a rather stupid approach. I taught my daughter how to read musical scales and how each note represents a key on the piano and started her off with twinkle twinkle little star, a familiar "hello, world" song. You don't start with gimped lame toy instruments. The kids aren't stupid, they know they are playing "fakey" things and are insulted. They are nothing more than mass produced, cheaply made things for parents to expose thier children to an inkling of music without a heavy investment cost. Teaching... right.

Re:Where is the need... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37046480)

I AM ITCHING and every time I try to learn development, I am instantly completely overwhelmed with the concepts of 'object oriented programming' and with the arcane syntax and the odd rules of declaring a variable (or not) and other stuff, and this is all before I even get a GUI to my app, this is all backend stuff. I am a computer guy for sure, but I learned "10 goto 20" and this stuff has been baffling me for over 5 years now, as I try to pick up languages etc. In an immersed learning environment where this is my life, I could see success. But in my normal life I just don't have that much time to learn and enough people willing to answer my stupid questions.

AppInventor allowed me to create 1.5 apps and now I am getting the rug pulled from under me.

Re:Where is the need... (5, Interesting)

scamper_22 (1073470) | more than 3 years ago | (#37046538)

There's also the reality that you can't make programming much more friendly than most of today languages.

I taught high school computer science and its amazing to see the difference between kids. But more importantly, the concepts are what is hard. It is not the expression of those concepts.

I don't know what it is with so many academics and educational people who seem to think the concepts are easy... we just need the right way to express them.

The same kid who struggles with the notion of a variable in algebra is the same kid who will struggle with the notion of a variable in a programming language. No amount of drawing boxes to show it is 'holding' a value will help any more than saying this is X.

These are just difficult concepts: variables, sequential steps, algorithms... Most of us who program take these things as trivial. Most of us who did quite well in school take these things as given. Most of us who naturally think analytically about issues take these things for granted.

That's just not how most of the population thinks. I have friends who are teachers who still don't understand what fractions really mean and how to do basic math on them.

These are just hard concepts. Part of me thinks that such people may never get it until they change their entire way of thinking. If you brain cannot comprehend the idea of a variable; you will never be able to think analytically; and you'll never be able to program.

I don't say that in a bad way. I'll probably never understand the complexity of modern art until I change my entire way of thinking.

Yet, time and time again, we see these tools which claim to make programming easy. Do you really think the big block is that a kid cannot comprehend an IF statement, yet if you draw a big diamond in a flow chart, it all becomes clear? No, that's the easy part.

Time and time again, we see educational academics trying to say we just need to express ideas in a way students can understand.

Yet, it is the concept that is hard. People can easily learn the different expressions of that concept.

But anyways. There's no demand for products like this except by academia and the education bureaucracy.

Re:Where is the need... (1)

XxtraLarGe (551297) | more than 3 years ago | (#37046654)

Democratizing app building, empowering kids, women, and underrepresented groups

The implicit argument here is that these groups are too dumb to be able to learn proper development themselves, which I find very insulting.

why are there complaints? (1)

frist (1441971) | more than 3 years ago | (#37045854)

Who in their right mind would build anything, much less a business or curriculum off a google product? What was the end of life google gave you for this product when you did your research into it? Or did you just hop on the latest/greatest google thing du jour bandwagon?

Someday ppl will figure out that free crap from google comes with no guarantee of any kind. Use at your own risk.

Even the paid stuff comes with no service.

Better alternative... (1)

TroysBucket (1748662) | more than 3 years ago | (#37045868)

There's always Illumination Software Creator. Fully visual app development. And it supports not just Android... but iOS, Flash and more. http://radicalbreeze.com/ [radicalbreeze.com]

Re:Better alternative... (1)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 3 years ago | (#37046074)

Doesnt fix the bug in iOS app development that requires a $699.00 fee plus $99 a year to start writing Apple iOS apps.

Apple still has not released a way to write, compile and sign apps without buying at least an entry level mac mini.

Re:Better alternative... (1)

TroysBucket (1748662) | more than 3 years ago | (#37046400)

True, developing for iOS still requires a financial investment. That said... Illumination Software Creator -does- allow someone to build an Android app. Then, when they feel like it'll be financially rewarding to them, hit a button and have a full XCode project auto-magically generated and ready to build. Same goes for Python/GTK apps and Flash web apps. (And, soon, HTML5, WP7 and WebOS).

Re:Better alternative... (2)

Americano (920576) | more than 3 years ago | (#37046642)

without buying at least an entry level mac mini

How is this different from *any other software development,* ever, in history? If you want to program effectively for a platform, you need to have a computer running that platform. Want to program for Windows? Go buy a windows box. Want to program for Linux? Build or buy a PC and load Linux on it. What's that? You have a Windows box already? Great, then either: 1) turn it into a hackintosh; or 2) consider whether or not the money / knowledge you'll get in return for programming on iOS or Mac OS X will be worth that $699 hardware purchase. If it is, buy the hardware and quite whining. If it isn't keep programming for Windows, Linux, WebOS, WP7, and Android on your Windows/Linux system.

For my money, if I wanted an all-purpose programming system, I would actually go out and buy a mac. Then I'd load VMware on it, and install Win7 and Ubuntu or Red Hat as guest operating systems, and set up dev environments for all of the platforms I intended to build software for, all on a single system, so I can easily move from one to the other.

It makes total sense (1)

loftwyr (36717) | more than 3 years ago | (#37045872)

They're shutting down google labs, it's a google labs product and, as the blog post reads, "Google will discontinue App Inventor as a Google product and will open source the code" so all that's likely to happen is the URL will change, new eyes will look at and update the code and things will continue as normal.

Why is making it more accessible a bad thing?

Re:It makes total sense (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37046024)

"Normal" people usually have a hard time understanding the concept of "open source". To them, GAI was just "another website". Most reactions about it being discontinued are greatly exaggerated.

Mostly because.... It sucked (2)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 3 years ago | (#37045910)

I tried to use it as I got in on the early beta and tried several times to make a basic app. and Gave up in frustration several times.

Honestly, it was poorly designed from day one, and as a programmer if I was frustrated a "average joe" would have gave up 60 seconds in.

Re:Mostly because.... It sucked (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37046608)

I agree. I tried to use App Inventor to see what it was like, but I really didn't care for it. I wasn't nearly as easy to use as was touted. I never did finish the app I started with it. I would much rather develop in eclipse.

Re:Mostly because.... It sucked (1)

krazytekn0 (1069802) | more than 3 years ago | (#37046814)

Maybe you were frustrated because you are a programmer. From the basic information you provided about your experience that cause is as good as the other. But I do agree that it was really hard to use it was ALMOST intuitive and that is way more frustrating that knowing that you have to read a huge book to get it. The idea that the designer apparently thought it could just be figured out and didn't provide the kind of resources you'd really need.

Hurry up (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37045928)

And spin this as google being evil.

The real move, (1)

M0j0_j0j0 (1250800) | more than 3 years ago | (#37045960)

The real move here is one and only one, raise the quality of apps, App creator is responsible for a lot of crap.

Deceptive OP header (1)

Synerg1y (2169962) | more than 3 years ago | (#37045984)

Google is not getting rid of the Android App Inventory, just handing it over the something like sourceforge community. This is by no means a bad thing as there's some great open source educational software available. On that note if your actually trying to use this to make apps, open sourcing it may be the only way to achieve it.

Dear David: (0)

nimbius (983462) | more than 3 years ago | (#37045990)

Google is a corporation, and as such is obligated by federal law to work in the interests of their shareholders and stakeholders accordingly to increase profit both quarterly and yearly in dividend and share-price form.

as fervently as conservatives may tout the modern corporation as a model for the education system and a beacon of empowerment for minorities, it is not. corporations invest time and energy into consumers, and while often times this may have the ancillary effect of the betterment of all mankind, one need only a cursory evaluation of corporations such as Monsanto, Cargill, BP, and Halliburton to confirm the primary goal of any corporation at any size is revenue.

personally, im sorry you were tricked. Just because the corporation installs an impressive waterfountain, a modernist sculpture, or a google doodle at its office does not imply its dedication is in these things.

Re:Dear David: (1)

Actually, I do RTFA (1058596) | more than 3 years ago | (#37046570)

Google is a corporation, and as such is obligated by federal law to work in the interests of their shareholders and stakeholders accordingly to increase profit both quarterly and yearly in dividend and share-price form.

What federal law is that? Microsoft, famously, refused to pay any dividends for the longest time. Furthermore, shareholders are but one interested party in a corporation. Balancing that with community and workers rights is also part of the board of directors jobs.

Re:Dear David: (1)

nimbius (983462) | more than 3 years ago | (#37046716)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Corporate_finance [wikipedia.org] publicly traded corporations, as you are correct, may or may not not be required to distribute dividends.

as a DC court recently ruled, a board of directors may or may not constitute the company.
http://pac.org/node/5122 [pac.org]

True or False: From the article... (1)

Cutting_Crew (708624) | more than 3 years ago | (#37046010)

"You can use App Inventor to build just about any android app you can imagine"

A famous quote deserves recognition: "I'll Believe It When I See It"

Re:True or False: From the article... (2)

ctid (449118) | more than 3 years ago | (#37046062)

False. Like most tools like this it is simple but inflexible. There are lots of things that you can do with it but it's nonsense to say "... build just about any android app you can imagine"

Re:True or False: From the article... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37046154)

Unless you have a very limited imagination, in which case the statement is true.

I cannot blame them (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37046032)

Hell, I quit compiling anything for android. By the time I wait for the compiler to finish I have already lost money.

Re:I cannot blame them (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37046118)

I lost 50 bucks just for reading this stupid post.

Why... (1)

jellomizer (103300) | more than 3 years ago | (#37046086)

Actually this is the first time I actually heard of the product... Or if I did hear about it it didn't appeal to me. But why would colleges, schools and groups jump at this technology and invest all these resources when its usage is rather shady. Wait for wider acceptance first then you can change your programs. I am not saying it needs to be top dog but it should at least have a good buzz around it.

Re:Why... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37046162)

But...but...they are democratizing app building with this! How dare you represent the oppression and dictatorship of the current android app development model that also happens to requires at least some modicum of intelligence and skill!

wahh hh wah hh h wah h h h hh hhh h hh hh (1)

MichaelKristopeit501 (2018074) | more than 3 years ago | (#37046100)

wa hh hhh hh wah hhh hh hh

See ? Trusting ANYthing with a private company is (2)

unity100 (970058) | more than 3 years ago | (#37046112)

BAD. bad. simple as that. a private company can just pull the plug on something masses rely on, and there may or may not be an alternative, and if not, an alternative may take years to come up. generations grow in the meantime.

this is why we need open source. so no private profiteers will be able to undo all of us in one fell swoop.

as for google - im saying this as a web developer ; its baaad bad p.r. for you. even from my perspective.

Re:See ? Trusting ANYthing with a private company (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37046348)

Google is not a private company.

Re:See ? Trusting ANYthing with a private company (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37046402)

this is why we need open source. so no private profiteers will be able to undo all of us in one fell swoop.

With the winding down of Google Labs, Google will discontinue App Inventor as a Google product and will open source the code. Additionally, because of App Inventor’s success in the education space, we are exploring opportunities to support the educational use of App Inventor on an open source platform.

empowering kids, women, etc, etc (-1, Troll)

Vinegar Joe (998110) | more than 3 years ago | (#37046134)

What about the gay whales?

Re:empowering kids, women, etc, etc (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37046426)

already been nuked for the greater glory of Jeebuz

Re:empowering kids, women, etc, etc (1)

Quiet_Desperation (858215) | more than 3 years ago | (#37046504)

Nuke 'em for Jesus

don't mess with the Bull (5, Funny)

hoggoth (414195) | more than 3 years ago | (#37046170)

> And the cost-benefit of the cut was negligible-believe it or not, App Inventor was a small team of just 5+ employees! The Math doesn't make sense.'"

One of those 5 employees parked in Sergey Brin's parking spot. The rest was inevitable.

Re:don't mess with the Bull (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37046496)

Sergey comes to work on a bicycle, just saying.

Re:don't mess with the Bull (1)

doom (14564) | more than 3 years ago | (#37046518)

"'... And the cost-benefit of the cut was negligible-believe it or not, App Inventor was a small team of just 5+ employees! The Math doesn't make sense.'

5 * 100K * 2 = 1 million/year
Maybe I don't understand the biz, but that seems like a fair amount to spend on a public relations program.

Re:don't mess with the Bull (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37046648)

And the cost-benefit of the cut was negligible-believe it or not...

Don't believe it? Then get started with Math Inventor. Egg plus tree equals bunnies!

App Inventor Replacement? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37046210)

My choice...Illumination Software Creator! It is like Legos for programming: very visual and as simple or complex as you want it to be. Check it out at http://radicalbreeze.com/. It will build for "Windows, Linux or MacOS X desktops, Android devices, Nokia Internet Tablets (such as the N900) and even as Flash powered rich websites." The software runs on Windows, Linux, or MacOS X as well, making it well worth the $50 price tag.

WTF (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37046280)

This is what happens when you rely upon a third party for a product or service with no contractual relationship to you. They pull the plug whenever they feel like it and you're left high and dry. How is saving money by using free service from "the cloud" different than the squirrels who play all summer instead of gathering seeds for the winter? To a casual observer unaware of the risks it sure seems dumb to forgo playing to work so hard while the weather's good. When the winter comes everyone will ask how it came to be that they have no food, and they'll dismiss the seed-gatherer who had the foresight to prepare for winter as having had a "lucky guess" about the future. See it not only in IT, but everything on a daily basis. People are idiots and have no ability to foresee the potential dangers in situations, and they don't prepare for bad things to happen.

Google has reached that point... (1)

postmortem (906676) | more than 3 years ago | (#37046390)

... where profit matters more than value given to customers.

Closing of Google Labs was sign of times to come.

Expect less freebies from them in times to come.

Re:Google has reached that point... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37046618)

Yes, the closing of google labs was a clear sign that Google is run by MBAs - and we know already that the One True Way of MBAs is to reduce expenses (cut staff), reduce expenses again (cut more staff) and then pay bonuses (to themselves)
Expect 50% staff reductions at google within 3 years, and a startup search engine to take the lead within 5 years.

geico (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37046398)

it was the geico ad, wasn't it?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oe-Y-zSd5gs

Geeze, and I really wanted to make a bro-stash app too

Re:geico (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37046536)

oh wait - its downloadable from the market :)

ok, google can kill app inventor now ;|

App Inventor's biggest problem (4, Interesting)

thisisauniqueid (825395) | more than 3 years ago | (#37046418)

Empowering kids, women, minorities?? That's ridiculous. App Inventor's biggest problem is that it is too low-level. There is almost a one-to-one correspondence between every block in App Inventor and a single Java keyword or operator. Therefore there is NOTHING you can learn with App Inventor that you can't learn by learning to write source code. In fact the blocks themselves obscure meaning, because their visual representation doesn't convey much actual meaningful information. App Inventor could have been really, really good if it worked at a much higher level, and if the construction process wasn't so highly geometrically constrained and brittle.

Re:App Inventor's biggest problem (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37046760)

Exactly. I too was expecting it to be a higher level development tool.

Scratch (2)

Arlet (29997) | more than 3 years ago | (#37046476)

My kids have used 'Scratch'. I've no idea how this compares on details, but they were having a lot of fun with it, and from what I can see, it certainly creates an understanding of structured programming techniques.

http://scratch.mit.edu/ [mit.edu]

Pile on! (1)

Quiet_Desperation (858215) | more than 3 years ago | (#37046482)

Democratizing app building, empowering kids, women, and underrepresented groups

Why, right you are, good sir! Capital idea! Our womenfolk would swoon right over with the vapors should they be forced to learn how to program our electromagnetistic computational whatnots the traditional way! The these "underrepresented groups" you speak of (wink wink), why they suffer constant indignities of many and varied brain fevers when attempting even the simplest mechanical tasks long ago mastered by proper Men of this Enlightened Age. It is demanded by Charity, not to mention we must field everything we have against the Encroachment by Foreign Undesirables! Cheerio, pip pip and all that!

Re:Pile on! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37046792)

Women can't program, how would they reach the keyboard when they're pregnant?! All that typing would hurt the babies.

Renting software (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37046674)

I like to bash google for kicks just as much as the next guy, but whenever you use *any* proprietary software you are basically renting it. If you based your spreadsheets on excel and decided not to pay the license, your files are basically junk. The less rent you pay the faster you should expect the software to disappear. Positioning oneself at the mercy of something like AI (as TFS makes it sound) is just dumb.

What's that? Google is open sourcing AI? Then what was everyone complaining about? Oh, google should continue to host it. We may debate the merits of Don't Be Evil, but it certainly doesn't mean Be a Charity. Perhaps they are expected to be a charity because they've previously sold us that image. I guess they *are* evil after all.

Have most of you even tried it? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37046678)

I think it's safe to say most of the people commenting haven't even tried App Inventor or tried it when it first came out. They've made some big improvements in it all around and it keeps getting better. To anybody that messed around with it for a full day and couldn't make an app, well all I can say is good luck in trying to get Eclipse set up.

Techie (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37046794)

Whats a Techie?

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