WYSIWYG ("What you see is what you get") editors are a blessing for the non-technical. Now that it seems smartphones are the main devices from which the masses access their information, via apps, a WYSIWYG app creator is just what the doctor ordered.
The best WYSIWYG app builder for the beginner is Google App Inventor which allows you to build Android apps. Android is the simplest and most widely used platform for smartphone and tablet apps. It may not be as sexy as Apple but there are many more devices that use it – which is a good reason to learn how to build apps for it. All you need to use Google App Inventor is a free Google Account.
Google App Inventor runs in your browser and lets you design an app's appearance using a WYSIWYG designer and then add the logic or functionality using a simple WYSIWYG java environment in which you can easily piece the logic together like a jigsaw puzzle. This WYSIWYG app inventor is really good for those who have very little experience with programming. Not only is it a brilliant WYSIWYG editor, its simple lay-out allows a beginner to really understand the inner-workings of apps and how best to design them.
Google App Inventor can even connect to your Android phone so you can see how your app looks on an actual device. If you don't have an Android phone, you can use the built-in emulator which acts as a virtual smartphone.
The downside to using Google App Inventor is that you cannot upload your creations to the Android Marketplace – but Google is promising to change that soon. However, you can still use your apps on your own phone and share them with other Android users. You could even sell them yourself on your own website outside of the Android Marketplace.
I recommend using Google Chrome as your browser for running Google App Inventor as I had trouble saving my apps to my computer through Internet Explorer.
Now to design some great Android apps – but the big question remains – should you build Android apps, Apple Apps, or webpage apps?
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