Sign In

Communications of the ACM

ACM News

The MIT Roots of Google


View as: Print Mobile App Share: Send by email Share on reddit Share on StumbleUpon Share on Hacker News Share on Tweeter Share on Facebook
Hal Abelson

Hal Abelson, the Class of 1922 Professor of Computer Science and Engineering.

MIT

In July, Google released a trial version of new software, called the Google App Inventor, intended to let people with no previous programming experience design applications for phones that use Google’s Android operating system. The software has provoked much commentary in the technology press, and Google has been trumpeting it as a way to give people direct control of their own phones. But App Inventor is the latest outgrowth of a tradition of MIT research that dates back at least 40 years.

The App Inventor project was led by Hal Abelson, the Class of 1922 Professor of Computer Science and Engineering, who spent a sabbatical year at Google as a visiting professor. Instead of having to write traditional computer code, users of App Inventor can create programs by snapping together virtual, color-coded instruction "blocks." For instance, to add a button to an application, the user would drag the button block into App Inventor’s workspace window and determine the button’s visual properties by selecting from pull-down menus. Then, to determine what the button will do, the user would snap a block that defines a function—like emitting a noise, or making a phone call, or changing the screen’s background color—into the button block.

From MIT News Office
View Full Article


 

No entries found