Sunday, September 05, 2010

Android App Inventor Hello Purr



My first application with App Inventor is the Hello Purr.
Download it using this barcode:



This tool is just awesome!

It's a mix of Scratch (programming language for kids) and lego mindstorms programming environment. It packages the app for you and produces a codebar code so you can publish it for download from any android.

Only one thing was a little annoying in the operation, the integration on Chrome between the designer and the blocks editor is a little sketchy.

I can see the Genexus community building extensions for App Inventor so that with a few clicks we're building amazing android apps connected to our favorite mission critical databases.

According to this Techcrunch post it will be possible to extend the App Inventor.
As far as Google documentation so far I only found this, talking about extensions in three levels: create components, add to the library and interoperate with webservices.

Saturday, September 04, 2010

Priority Inbox as a Software Pattern



Once in a while an idea emerges that changes the way we do things profoundly.
I believe Priority Inbox, by Google (view note below) is one of these little things, beyond email, it will change the way we program and the way users interact with the systems we develop.

Particularly in the software world, this kind of reminds me of the emergence of the auto-suggest feature.
It started with Google search if I'm not mistaken and continued with all of us adopting it as a best practice, including smart tools like Genexus generator, making it standard properties into their objects and simple click programming.

The future of priority handling might be the same. We might see in the near future that when we're looking at our customer or product list, there are some customers and products that have a whole different level of relevance than others, and I as a user might want to star some customers, products, cases, transactions, invoices, etc that I'm working with at the moment and visualize them with higher priority.

Google Email deserves to be called a mass product by now. Therefore, regular users will incorporate priority email as a natural thing that software does for them and sooner or later we'll have to implement it for them. I say, let's be ahead of the curve, let's make the priority standard behavior for grids now! This might be a job for a Genexus component or maybe more so for the Genexus Pattern Generator Tool ...

Note:
It appears that there are patents filled by Microsoft for similar priority emails sent to mobile devices as far back as '99 ... read more here.

Mobile: sliding pages expand the house


A week ago I found myself day dreaming about increasing the visual real state in my iPad and my Droid. Once you use the iPad desktop, where you can discover new magical rooms by sliding right or left, there's no way back. You have to have the same thing in applications and it finally is starting to arrive.

It reminds me of the time when my grandparents decided to downsize, sell the big house with backyard and move to the 2 bedroom apartment. I totally remember that I even had dreams where new rooms would attach magically to the apartment for my amusement and amazement.

The difference is that when it comes to mobile, we're in a virual world, and new rooms can magically appear and dissapear!!

Some of the pioneers out there:
1. Facebook app for iPad, allows you to to select your main options from the main menu and you can slide right or left to add new options [via @mcanziani]
This app seems to have copied the concept of sliding pages just for the exact same use that the iPad has for it, desktop management. They didn't seem to connect the dots and go one more step, using sliding screens for apps.
2. TweetDeck for Android, allows you to have one column per page, it has a great denotation for pages with a title on top and the now standard dots.
3. Twitter for iPad, this one not only got the sliding screens idea but it also innovated as far as how to handle those screens. I don't think the innovation replaces 100% the simple full screen slide, but it's a great, creative innovative way of handling screens and it will ripple.