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Open-sourced Android App Inventor gets first MIT release


MIT has released the source code for Google’s Android App Inventor but isn’t yet accepting contributions

The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) has announced
the first open source release of App Inventor, a visual tool for
building Android applications that was discontinued by Google at
the end of 2011. Writing in a
on the project’s blog, MIT computer science professor Hal
Abelson provides a link to the code and explains that the project
won’t be accepting contributions until after the MIT servers have
been opened to the public at some point in the coming months.

“We hope to nurture a robust and active open-source project
eventually, but for now we don’t want to distract the MIT
developers from their efforts to complete and deploy the
large-scale public server,” writes Abelson. “In the meantime, we’ll
update the code periodically to match what’s running at the latest
MIT experimental system. We’ve also created a Google Group here for
people working with the code to relate their experiences with the
code, ask questions, help each other, etc.”

App Inventor’s compiler uses the Kawa framework, an
implementation of Scheme for the JVM. The whole environment is
built on top of the Open Blocks Java library, an MIT project to
create a flexible framework for visual programming, and is designed
for users with no prior programming experience. It shares some
similarities with RunRev’s LiveCode environment, which we
last month.

Abelson clarifies that users are free to use the App Inventor code
for personal projects, with Google having surrendered its rights to
the “App Inventor” name and the tool’s
jigsaw-piece logo
. When MIT’s semi-official version is
released, it will be called “MIT App Inventor”.

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