Android App Inventor: giving everyone the ability to hack their own tools

Google's new App Inventor for Android is a free graphic environment for creating software for Android devices. It's a scriptable, drag-and-drop tool in the tradition of HyperCard and other great simple tools for software creation. I love these tools — my first programming job was using HyperCard to make CD ROMs for Voyager Books — especially for the way they democratize access to technology. It's one thing to go and ask a bunch of teachers what software they want and then try to interpret their desires with code; another altogether to empower teachers (or secretaries, doctors, nurses, librarians, hot dog vendors, etc) to make their own tools using simple environments. Sure, these graphic kits tend to be constrained and less speedy than writing to the metal using more programmerly languages, but this is a fair trade-off for giving the ability to hack to anyone who wants it.

App Inventor for Android