MIT App Inventor Update February 25, 2016

Hal Abelson

This is a brief  update for MIT App Inventor users on major happenings around MIT App Inventor:

Large growth:  As I’m writing this post today, the MIT App Inventor service at ai2.appinventor.mit.edu is showing its largest traffic ever:  52,000 unique users active users building apps today, 149,000 unique active users for the past week.  The general picture is that MIT App Inventor usage has tripled over the past two years, from 50,000 unique weekly active users on Feb. 24, 2014, to 150,000 weekly today today.  In total, there are now more than 4 million registered users of our MIT service, with more than 13 million apps created.

More educational use - but MIT would like to know about it: We keep seeing more and more news articles about App Inventor use in K-12 classes, in camps, in contests and hackathons all over the world.  That makes us tremendously proud, but also makes us acutely aware of how little we know of great work being done by App Inventor community.  You’ll be seeing more outreach from MIT over the coming months, especially to the educators, but also to everyone.  In the same vein, we encourage you to fill out the optional anonymous survey (https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/3NPY6J3) that App Inventor presents when people first connect, in case you declined it previously: many users chose not to complete this survey, and we’d like to know more about you.

An App Inventor company: We’re starting to think about MIT’s long-term ability to continue to grow such a major global service.  Some of the ideas floated include more active fundraising or even charging for some categories of use.   Also, two alumni of our MIT App Inventor team have started a commercial company that provides an App Inventor-based platform, called Thunkable, with enhanced features and design elements and more active user support than we can manage from a university research project.   They would be eager for App Inventor users to visit their web site at http://Thunkable.com and try out their work.

Major new features:  We’ve made  lot of enhancements to MIT App Inventor over the past year, and we’ve got more in the pipeline.  Here’s a telegraphic list.   You can find more details on the App Inventor home and server sites at appinventor.mit.edu and ai2.appinventor.mit.edu and by asking at the App Inventor support forum:

As always, we encourage everyone to take advantage of the materials at appinventor.mit.edu.  We’re also happy to see people build on the App Inventor code base by participating in the App Inventor Open Source project at http://appinventor.mit.edu/appinventor-sources/.   And - for educators especially - we’d love to hear more about what you are doing.   Please contribute your stories at inventor.mit.edu/explore/stories.html.

hAPPy inventing!

Hal Abelson, Director

MIT App Inventor Project