Google's Android App Inventor is great fun to play with and I think represents a fascinating leap forward in mobile application development. It provides a whole toolbox of ready to go functionality, but sadly missing from this toolbox are facilities to interact with web sites and services (with the exception of Twitter of course). However there is one component that provides a glimmer of hope and if you want to publish data in a way that can be used by Android App Inventor developers then you can use this component with a PHP script to easily pass data to the mobile device.
A few days ago WOMWorld/Nokia asked "Have you made an Ovi app yet?" Ovi is Nokia's mobile app portal, similar in idea to Google's Android Market or Apple's App Store. My answer to this question was no, it hasn't occurred to me, but it turned out that a tool existed to turn any RSS feed into an app without needing to go to the effort of doing any coding. I had a spare half an hour so I decided to give it a try to see if I could make an app for this site. The app generator takes you through a wizard that asks you for a few settings, a few graphics and then submits you shiny new app for a review process. A couple of hours before writing this post I got an email to say my new app is now available in the Ovi app store - for free!
Boxee is a platform that is really going places. At one point it was a mainly for enthusiasts willing to spend the time on installing it and setting it up on their own hardware. Now it is moving towards mass appeal with the recent announcement of a Boxee Box, which users will just be able to plug in and go, and Boxee payments, which may make the platform more appealing to content providers. A great starting point before getting stuck into full scale Boxee application development is creating a simple RSS application that will just make a feed of a podcast available and give it presence in the world of Boxee.
Programming a computer is actually quite an intellectually stimulating way to spend time, you also usually end up with something to show for your labour. Getting into programming now though can be very confusing, there are so many computer languages out there, where would you start? An additional problem is that this is not the 1980s anymore, printing out “Hello World” ad infinitum is not going to impress anyone. This is where “Quickly" comes in, a new template based programming system making its first appearance in Ubuntu 9.10. It is designed to be easy and fun and is there to help you from getting an initial program together right through to distributing it.
Google this week anounced that it was going to let outside developers host their applications on Google infrastructure through a new product: Google App Engine. This is the latest in a long list of products from Google who are most probably the world's leading Internet company and may well become the most important IT company, if they aren't already.