I enjoy making things a lot. I don’t get enough time to do it though. When I do make stuff it takes all sorts of different forms, like electronics, fixing stuff (with Sugru etc), using conductive ink, conductive textiles, and the list goes on.
I haven’t used Android App Inventor in age, so when I got an email from MIT telling me about what they’re doing with it, it came as quite a nice surprise, especially as they’ve got new stuff planned for it, such as …
Better support for multiple screen sizes and densities (responsive design).
The Backpack provides a way to copy and paste blocks between screens.
The App Inventor Gallery lets you exhibit and share your apps for collaboration and remixing.
App Inventor Services (coming soon) lets you create apps that can run in the background.
App Inventor Extensions (coming soon) let advanced users augment App Inventor’s capabilities without limitation by
creating and sharing new components.
The Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) component lets you build apps that control BLE devices, and experiment with mobile apps and the Internet of Things
All of which will be quite interesting to have a play with. The other cool thing in their email was Thunkable. Which is a version of App Inventor which is run by a commercial outfit. I think I might have a try of that soon.
Now is probably a good time to get back to trying out App Inventor anyway. I did play with it a long time ago, with a view to seeing if it could be used for audio apps, but really it couldn’t. I wonder if any of the new features coming to it will help with that?
The more I use this little machine the more I enjoy it, and the more I think that it has some truly amazing possibilities to it. In the session I had with it tonight I managed to get what sounded like a whole track from it. It was amazing. I’m in the process of putting the samples up now. Actually, I’ve just finished.
I’ll post them here too just in case, but they’re on my SoundCloud pages if you want them.
There’s loads of new things to explore in the latest version. Here’s what’s new:
Pythonista is now compatible with all iOS screen sizes — from iPhone 4 to iPad Pro, and everything in-between.
For larger projects, you can now use multiple editor tabs to switch between related files more quickly.
The Pythonista app extension allows you to run Python scripts within other apps, using the standard iOS share sheet.
New and refined color themes are available in the settings; selecting a different theme now changes the entire app’s UI instead of just syntax highlighting.
Additional templates are available in the improved “new file” menu. You can also import photos from your camera roll as image files there.
The console’s interactive prompt is now syntax-highlighted, and provides better support for Bluetooth keyboards (you can use the up/down keys to navigate the command history).
You can now read the (pure Python) source code of the included standard library (and third-party modules) directly in the app. Simply enable the “Show Standard Library” setting if you’re interested in looking “under the hood”.
The UI editor contains a much improved inspector panel, undo/redo support, the possibility to set custom attributes, and a lot of other refinements.
The new traceback navigator allows you to get a lot more information about errors in your programs. When an exception occurs, a brief summary is shown at the top of the screen, and the line where the exception occurred is highlighted in the editor. By tapping on the exception summary, you can navigate the entire traceback, even if the source of the exception is in a different file. You can also tap the `<…` marker in the editor to inspect variable values in the selected stack frame.
The editor actions (“wrench”) menu has been improved significantly. You can now assign custom icons and colors to your script shortcuts. It’s also possible to invoke the standard iOS share sheet from the actions menu. If you have an iPhone 6s or 6s Plus (with 3D Touch), you can launch shortcuts directly from the homescreen by pressing the Pythonista icon.
The improved asset picker (`[+]` button) contains more free image and sound effect collections that can be used with the `scene`, `ui`, and `sound` modules. The UI for opening the asset picker is also consistent between iPad and iPhone now.
When the cursor is inside a color string (e.g. ‘#ff0000’ or ‘red’) or built-in image name, a preview overlay is shown automatically. You can also tap the preview overlay to select a different color or image.
The new *Highlight All* option in the copy/paste menu allows you to quickly find all occurrences of a word (e.g. variable name), without typing anything in the search bar.
You can adjust the indentation of a selected block of code more easily with the new `⇥ Indent` menu items (in the copy/paste menu).
iPad only: The extended keyboard has a more compact layout by default. If you prefer a larger keyboard with an additional number row, you can enable this in the settings.
The completely revamped `scene` module gives you a lot more possibilities for building 2D games and animations in Pythonista. You can even use custom OpenGL fragment shaders. Lots of new sample code and a tutorial for building a simple game are available in the included *Examples* folder.
So I probably need to revisit some of my old projects and maybe even finish them!
I think this could be amazing. I do think that littleBits should be doing this themselves. They should also make it a part of their iOS app. Anyway, if you’re interested in it, take a look at the GitHub page and check the roadmap.