Ever since the MIT App Inventor was introduced, it sparked creativity in anyone who knows how to use Scratch to build apps with blocks. But with the practically discontinued App Inventor, block-based programming has started to fade away unless you use a Raspberry Pi because it comes preloaded with Scratch.
The creators of Thunkable have a solution to make block-based programming great again with the release of Thunkable’s online drag and drop app builder. According to TechCrunch, they have about 50,000+ users who signed up after their first month of release and are recreating the MIT App Inventor experience with a more modern interface and some more “present” features for the latest Android operating systems.
Also, Thunkable is a fork of the MIT’s App Inventor and started out as a collaboration between Google and MIT, so if you used the original App Inventor, you can probably use Thunkable with very little difficulty. With the drag and drop method, no programming is necessary other than some fill in the blanks for some blocks but otherwise, it is quite easy to use and even offers a live mode and ability to download the APK file onto your computer.
After trying it out and successfully making my first app (I will include the download link), I realized I spent about half an hour trying to make it because a) I actually have no idea what is going on and b) I still have no idea what is going on with the live testing.
Download my app:
Once I successfully made the app, or at least the prototype, I enabled the live view which allows me to try out the app on my Android device via the Thunkable app and wherever I navigate on the app, the screen changes and selects different elements in the app on my computer. Which was pretty neat.
The overall design of the website and drag-drop method is quite bright and friendly compared to the MIT App Inventor’s HTML4 look.
“Our goal is to make a tool that will let anyone make apps” -Arun Saigal (From a really short chat)
Arun has also told us that the Thunkable team will be planning on adding more blocks to enhance the experience and upgrade the technology to allow app creators to create apps using any of Android’s features to get the most out of sharing, bluetooth, calling etc.
Overall, I would recommend this to schools and people who just want to have fun trying to make apps rather than just actually working on Scratch projects. Well, time to figure out how to get the database thingy working on Thunkable.