Getting Started with AppInventor

Eileen King
Aug 26, 2017 · 3 min read

This tutorial starts with the assumption that you know nothing about AppInventor. If you’re already set up and logged in, and you just want to see tutorials, check out this list!

Getting set up

First things first: you’ll need both a computer (a Chromebook will work!) and an Android phone or tablet. You’ll use the computer to create your app, and the phone or tablet (we’ll call that the device from here on out) to test your creations!

MIT AI2 Companion app, free in the Play Store

You’ll also need to make sure the computer and device are on the same wifi network, and that the device has the MIT AI2 Companion app installed on it (its icon is the picture at left).

Signing into AppInventor

Next, you’ll need to sign in to AppInventor. On the computer, go to ai2.appinventor.mit.edu (if you type ai2 into a search engine, it’ll be the first hit!). If you’re already logged in with a Google account of some kind, your screen will look something like this:

That looks kind of scary, but it’s just asking for permission to use your existing account instead of having you make a new one. Pick the account you want to use, and click Allow!

If you were not already signed into a Google account, it will take you to a login screen instead. If you don’t already have a Google account of some kind (many school emails are through Google, even though they don’t end @gmail.com), create one or ask for help.

Finally, it will ask you to agree to some Terms of Service — essentially, you’re agreeing not to try to use AppInventor to make viruses or other malware — and then if you want to take a survey. It’s up to you how thoroughly you want to read those, and whether you want to take the survey!

Now what?

As you may have guessed, in just a minute, you’ll click the Start new project button and go nuts. First, though, a quick tour of what you’ll see:

AppInventor has two editors: one is the designer, where you put together the parts your your app will have and decide how they look. It looks like this:

The other is the blocks editor, where you write the code that will make your app run. It looks like this:

Got it? Now…let’s get started creating our first app!

Eileen King

Written by

Minnesota educator primarily using Medium as a publishing platform for coding tutorials | nfldcoderdojo.org | #cs4all | #mncodes

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