Daily Archives: December 1, 2010

Open source Drupal takes Gardens path to big business

 

Source: http://bit.ly/9VBmV2

Open..and Shut Even as we rapidly approach a future where most software lives on the web, with acronyms like HTML5 and SaaS pointing the way, it’s easy to overlook a primary building blog of yesterday’s web, Drupal, and its effects on the future web. Drupal founder Dries Buytaert claims that Drupal already powers one per cent of the web. Could it do more?

Drupal, at the most basic level is an open-source content management system. But this belies just how expansive it has become, with thousands of add-on modules and millions of developers. Drupal is not a product. It’s a community. A massive, ever-growing community.

This has led to explosive sales figures at Acquia, Buytaert’s company that sponsors a fair amount of core Drupal development. But it also suggests huge potential for the Drupal community to extend Drupal from yesterday’s simple framework for building brochure-style websites to tomorrow’s web application framework.

Buytaert is clearly thinking along these lines. In a recent conversation we had on the possibilities afforded by HTML5 and web application frameworks like SproutCore, Buytaert suggested he sees Drupal becoming a useful framework for building mobile applications, in addition to all that Drupal already does. But I think he meant more than that. I think he believes Drupal can become the framework for building mobile applications and, hence, for making Drupal the common development environment for applications whether they live at "http://www" or on your Android device or iPhone.

Knowing Buytaert, I wouldn’t bet against him. He’s a nice enough guy when eating frites and drinking beer off Grand-Place in Brussels, as I was fortunate to do a few years back, but he’s a dogged, determined competitor, as Jive or other Acquia competitors could tell you.

And he’s got an army of developers behind him.

Does Drupal and, by extension, Acquia, have its challenges? Of course. As Gartner’s Larry Cannell points out, Drupal still has its work cut out for it in the enterprise market, and faces an array of low-cost competitors who are increasingly adept at competing with open source’s disruptive appeal. Buytaert claims 100-plus enterprise customers already, including the BBC, Sony Music, FedEx, and a range of others.

But more must be done to marry the power of Drupal’s open-source web framework approach with the relative ease of an application in order to seriously catch fire in enterprise accounts. Fortunately for Drupal, this is exactly what Acquia has been building with Drupal Gardens.

For all the power the Drupal community offers, it may well be Acquia’s Drupal Gardens that decides the battle. Drupal has widespread adoption but remains a bit difficult to use and to scale. Ironically, a few years back Drupal was criticized for being too lightweight for truly "enterprise-class" websites. Such projects were said to require something like Interwoven to manage. Now the inverse is true: Drupal is considered grown-up and almost too enterprise-y.

To truly make it a standard, Drupal must become as easy to use as a template-driven build experience, coupled with a SaaS-powered deployment experience.

More like Drupal Gardens, in other words.

Importantly, getting into Gardens doesn’t mean enterprises give up the security of open source. As Forbes’ Dan Woods articulates, Drupal Gardens allows users to enjoy the safety of a hosted, configurable Drupal experience but also the possibility of hitting the "eject" button to export code and move to another provider, if necessary.

This isn’t solely about portability, either: as much as enterprises may want to avoid mucking in the code, at some point they may have to, and Acquia’s open-source SaaS model gives them the chance to both configure and code as much (or as little) as they’d like.

Acquia and Drupal won’t win the enterprise overnight, and must overcome significant, entrenched competition like Squarespace (growing fast), Automattic/WordPress (blog tool increasingly used to build websites), Jive and others.

But Acquia has something none of these others has: a booming community, coupled with the chance to "curate" that community into an easily managed web experience through Gardens.

This could accelerate Drupal adoption further which, in turn, makes Drupal ever more likely to become the essential platform for all of an organization’s web publishing needs, from brochureware-style websites to mobile applications – and everything in between.

RubyMine 3, the right choice for developing with Rails 3

 

Source: http://bit.ly/f5SUNP

It is here! Please welcome everyone RubyMine 3.0 — the IDE created for Rails 3 development.

This release mainly focuses on strong Rails 3.0 compatibility but even if you are not on Rails 3 yet, you’ll find a huge number of improvements to every environment aspect, such as:

    * Ruby code coverage with RCov,
    * Support for LESS, SCSS, rdoc and improvements for all supported languages,
    * Zen coding support for faster HTML/CSS coding,
    * Much better Git integration and support for Mercurial version control,
    * Major UI changes and performance improvements.

Read more about what’s new and download RubyMine 3.0.

Other important change — RubyMine 3.0 personal license is now 30% cheaper than before!
Note that RubyMine 3 is a free upgrade if you have a RubyMine license purchased after Nov 29, 2009.

RubyMine 3.0 took time to appear but we are very happy with the result and want to heartily thank all the early adopters for their invaluable feedback.

Moodle 2.0 Boosts Integration and Web 2.0 Features

 

Source: http://bit.ly/f6HQVt

Following more than two years of development, the Moodle community has formally released Moodle 2.0, a major update to the popular open source learning management system.

Moodle is a widely adopted electronic learning platform, one that boasts greater reported usage than any other open source or commercial LMS. It’s used by about 1.1 million teachers and more than 38 million users via 49,000 sites worldwide. Those users participate in some 3.9 million total courses as of this writing. Moodle supports both small and large deployments (with several sites well beyond 100,000 users) and includes course management tools, various Web 2.0 technologies, online assessments, and other features common to learning management systems.

The latest 2.0 release, formally launched last week (Thanksgiving day), adds a wide range of new capabilities as well as improvements to the core functionality found in earlier releases. Moodle 2.0 allows users to set up "community hubs," which are searchable directories of courses for public or private use that allow teachers to publish and advertise their own courses. It also adds support for standards-based Web services throughout, cohorts (groups of users that can be enrolled in a course through a single action), prerequisites, and conditions for course completion. And it adds new content block types, including comments for any page, community monitoring, status updates, and private files.

Version 2.0 also emphasizes integration with third-party and external tools. Among these:

    * Plagiarism and detection tools, such as Turnitin;
    * Content repositories via plugins (currently for "Alfresco, Amazon S3, Box.net, File system on Server, Flickr, Google Docs, Mahara, MERLOT, Picasa, Recent Files, Remote Moodle sites, WebDAV servers, Wikimedia, [and] Youtube," according to Moodle’s documentation), as well as the ability to add files from external stores via an AJAX interface or by specifying a URL; and
    * Electronic portfolios, which, like external repositories, can be integrated via plugins (for Box.net, Flickr, Google Docs, Mahara, and Picasa) or through export modules, with support currently available for HTML, image, text, and LEAP2A formats.

Moodle 2.0 also includes a number of improvements to features carried over from the previous generation. These include:

    * A new TinyMCE-based HTML editor with a resizable editor window and "cleaner" XHTML output;
    * Improvements to messaging, including a message overview panel;
    * More flexibility with themes, including custom menus for all themes;
    * Enhanced assessment tools, including improved navigation, reports, editing, and administration;
    * General improvements to RSS;
    * Simplification of roles and improvements to defining and assigning roles;
    * Enhanced backups, which now support courses of any size;
    * Blog comments and support for external blogs;
    * Overall improvements to enrollments, including guest accounts and multiple simultaneous forms of enrollment;
    * More robust fIle handling, including unicode file names, metadata, file associations, and duplicates; and
    * Improved navigation and settings blocks, which now appear on all pages with contextual links and settings.

Moodle lead developer Martin Dougiamas said in a blog post Thursday that development had already begun on version 2.0.1, with a particular emphasis on "performance and robustness." He added: "We are also switching the whole project from CVS to git and taking the opportunity to significantly improve our entire development process with more staff and better structures and workflow."

Aside from individual efforts, Moodle partners in the United States that contributed funding or code to the development of version 2.0 included ClassroomRevolution.com, Moodlerooms, NewSchool Learning, and Remote-Learner USA. (A total of 51 partners from around the world contributed.)

Moodle 2.0 supports PHP 5.2.8 (5.3.3 recommended); a minimum of MySQL 5.0.25, PostgreSQL 8.3, Oracle 10.2, or Microsoft SQL Server 2005; and most recent browsers, regardless of platform, including Safari 3, Internet Explorer 7, Firefox 3, Chrome 4, or Opera 9. Complete details of version 2.0, including a full list of bug fixes and system requirements, can be found on Moodle’s release notes page here.

Joomla 1.6 Beta 15 Now Available

 

Source: http://bit.ly/eStJyk

The Joomla Project is proud to announce the immediate availability of Joomla 1.6 beta 15. IMPORTANT NOTE: This is a beta version and is not intended to run any type of production site. It is intended to be used for evaluation purposes only.

Since the Joomla 1.6 beta 14 release on November 1, they have fixed approximately 84 issues in the tracker. They have closed an additional 33 tracker issues. At the present time, they have 4 issues that are blocking the release 1.6 Release Candidate 1. This progress is directly related to the continued efforts of the Joomla! Bug Squad.

See the CHANGELOG for details of what has been changed in this release.

What’s next?

This is the 15th in their series of continuous beta releases. They expect to release version 1.6 Release Candidate 1 on December 13, 2010 (unless they encounter serious and unanticipated difficulties).

Should You Finally Outsource Your SEO Overseas

Source: http://bit.ly/gQvoYs

Every businessman today knows the value of internet marketing and SEO. SEO is the abbreviation for search engine optimization, which is to make you go top onto the results of search engine results. The entire community of businessman today wants to be on the top of the search engine results to get proper return out of their investment. Many a big corporate are having their own search engine optimization team to do the services for you. For others you need to out source the services to someone. For this you need to go to search engines and find for the right professional to do the service for you.

You need to take the first step by talking with him and then you will be able to get the perfect service and be sure that the person does not give the same to any of your competitors. They are experts and hence they will provide you a much professional service and make you most happy with the results, as being on the top is not an issue being their constantly is an issue.

There are many benefits seen in the outsourcing of the SEO services. They are

• Quality Optimization

Search engine optimization is an ongoing process and hence you need to have a Quality Optimization. For this hiring a professional is always a better decision. The process needs a complicated research and development site. The experts are great in the service and hence they will provide you with a service that will satisfy you utmost.

• Free From Tension

Once you use the outsourcing you will be able to gain a tension free life. The more and more you will be able to do productive business with this. They will take full care of your SEO service and make you happy with the results. They will even periodically adjust with the services and make you reach a high in the business.

• Cost Saving

Cost saving is the main aim of every businessman and hence you need to go for search engine optimization. Hence they are experts they can give you results that you are unable to reach normally. This way you will gain more and more business which will ultimately save your cost in SEO purpose.

• Making a More Professional Approach

The more and more you employ experts the more professional attitude you will be gaining out of them. This will make you gain huge profit in the business. They are even known to give the service to you along with necessary regular changes and changes that required being on the top.

Trying out outsourcing can be a good idea as we all know professionalism is the key to success in any field and the SEO experts are very experts in it. Make sure that the service that they will provide you will be top class and will make you happy with the returns. Outsourcing also needs regular guidance and hence you must be in regular touch with them. Make sure that the SEO expert you are using is really an expert in the field and is not being providing the same service to your competitors.

21 Power User Tips for Web Marketers

Source: http://bit.ly/h30UaG

This article is intended to bring those who are not from a technical background fully up to speed with some time saving techniques and configurations.

While some joining the Internet marketing workforce in recent years have prior IT or web development experience, many come from less technical sectors such as off-line marketing, or have got into the field via their own initiative. Those that come from less technical areas, or have come to use computers for work only in recent years may be missing a few ‘old school’ tricks in applications and the operating system that can dramatically increase productivity in all sorts of tasks common to SEO, PPC, and working with web documents.

There are some tips that while useful I didn’t consider notable enough for inclusion on this list and others which no doubt I have overlooked – anything like this (and equivalents for MacOS where relevant) is welcome in the comments.

Basic Keyboard Shortcuts

1. Ctrl+A (select all)
A big time saver. The alternative used by many to select all of a document is to move the mouse to the top or bottom and drag a selection over the entire text. For anything except very brief documents, this is not quick. Combined with the shortcuts below, Ctrl+A is useful in a huge number of situations – copying URLs from the browser address bar, lines of e-mail recipients, lists of keywords to paste into keyword tools and even when copying and pasting into “confirm your e-mail address” form fields

2. Ctrl+C (copy), Ctrl+V (paste), Ctrl+X (cut)
These are the keyboard shortcuts that everyone should know and use regularly. Combined with Ctrl+A I use these dozens of times per day, every day. Say for example you want to copy the entire contents of one document over the entire contents of another document:Using the Mouse: Drag mouse to highlight entire document. Right click source document, Click “Select All”. Right click source document, Click “Copy”. Click on destination document. Drag mouse to highlight entire document. Right click destination document, Click “Paste”.Using Keyboard Shortcuts:
Ctrl-A, Ctrl-C, Click on destination document, Ctrl-A, Ctrl-V

This task would be likely to take about 20-30 seconds (depending on the size of the document) using the mouse (and contribute to causing RSI) but less than five seconds with the keyboard shortcuts.

3. Ctrl+Z (undo), Ctrl+Y (redo)
Again, these can be huge time savers – especially when going back or forward through a number of steps of undo history. Holding down control and tapping Z is so much faster than clicking “edit -> undo” over and over again. This shortcut also makes using undo so quick that it becomes second nature to use to correct typing mistakes and for things like altering URLs in address bars and search boxesN.B – While Ctrl+Z works for undo in pretty much all software, some apps use a different shortcut for redo.

4. Ctrl+S (save)
If you’re troubleshooting HTML, rewrites/redirects, CSS etc and making lots of small changes to files Ctrl+S is a big time saver – in the previous example scenario for copy and paste, this would be extended by adding Ctrl+S to the sequence of key presses to save the file.

5. Ctrl+F (find)
Quick timesaver. Some apps use F3 instead (or both)

6. Ctrl+H (find and replace)
Another simple timesaver – like Ctrl-F, this is not ubiquitous in every application

7. Home, End (skip to beginning or end of document)
These keys work in almost all documents and on the web too. Instantly skip to the top or bottom of what you are looking at, instead of using the mouse to scroll.

8. Page up, Page Down and Arrow Key Scrolling
A surprising number of people use the mouse exclusively to scroll and have never fully realised that keys can be used for this too. Using the keys is easier in many situations, especially when sitting back from the desk to read articles.

9. Ctrl-Shift-Escape (start task manager)
Is an unresponsive process making your PC grind to a crawl? Most people know about Ctrl-Alt-Delete, but Ctrl-Shift-Escape is a quick shortcut to open a task manager window in order to fix the problem directly.

10. Print Screen Key
This key is perhaps the biggest timesaver in the list (per instance of use). Without this key, including images in Outlook e-mails and Word documents would be a big hassle. Just bring up what you want to take a screenshot of, press “Print Screen”, and then hit ctrl-v to paste the image into a number of apps, most notably Outlook and Word. Crop, and you have an image in your e-mail message or word document in 20 seconds flat. Without the print screen key, you’d most likely be looking at 5 minutes+ of editing image files and need a third party screenshot app (I think some of these survive purely based on ignorance of the print screen key).

11. Alt-S (send e-mail (Outlook and others, some websites (e.g. Forum software)))
Simple timesaver. You can also use Ctrl-Enter in Outlook (this has to be turned on) but it’s easier to send half-written messages by accident with this shortcut.

12. Selecting text with Arrow Keys
In the days before mice, selecting a section of text was done with the keyboard and this still works very well in a lot of scenarios. Hold down the shift key and use the arrows to select text. If you hold down control as well (both control and shift) this selects whole words. For selecting text near to the position of your cursor, this is a lot quicker than using the mouse.

Web Browser Shortcuts

13. Ctrl+T (open new tab), CTRL+N (open new window)
Simple shortcuts for use every day.

14. Middle Click on link to open in new tab
I would hope that anyone working in Internet marketing would know and use this shortcut. It works in most modern browsers. What some people don’t realise is that in Firefox this can be used for any link, not just those on the page and bookmarks – for example the “back”, “forward” and “refresh” buttons – this can be very useful.

15. Ctrl and + (zoom in), Ctrl and – (zoom out) or Ctrl+[Scroll Mousewheel] (zoom both ways)
This is a tip that a lot of people haven’t picked up on. Many know about Ctrl+ and Ctrl-, but the ability to resize a page with a simple flick of the mousewheel is a great one. If you have a screen with a fine pitch this is useful to increase text size and readability on the web. It’s also very good for getting a rough idea of how webpages will appear on a lower or (particularly) higher resolution screen than your own.Ctrl+0 (zero)is worth remembering along with these shortcuts as it resets your zoom level to default.

16. Ctrl+1-9 (select tab)
Have tons of tabs open and want to skip to the first tab to check your email inbox? Scroll through tabs no longer! (unless you are using Chrome or have the Tree Style Tabs Firefox add-on…). Just hit ctrl-1 to go to the first tab. Ctrl-9 goes to the last open tab and Ctrl-2-8 go to those respective tabs. Useful if you have a set up, e.g. with the Keyword tool as your second tab and a source of data as your last tab – switch between them to copy and paste as simply as hitting Ctrl-2 and Ctrl-9. You can also cycle between tabs with Ctrl-Tab and Ctrl-Shift-Tab, and close tabs with Ctrl-F4

17. F5 (refresh), CTRL F5 (force refresh)
Again, I would hope that anyone working in Internet marketing would know these shortcuts. The first is a time-saver, the second is a way to make sure you are seeing an up to date version of a page after changes are made (depending on server-side caching)

18. Tab (cycle focused element)
This is also a general shortcut that works throughout windows (if your Windows PC’s mouse ever breaks you can still operate the PC using tab, space and return to cycle elements and emulate clicking with the mouse), but is most useful in web browsers. It’s particularly good for filling out forms. Just hit tab to move your cursor to the next field. This is particularly useful as it doesn’t break up your typing flow to take one hand away from the keyboard. Clicking on the next field with the mouse and resetting your position to the keyboard to start typing again can take up as much as half the time it takes to fill out online forms.

PC Setup Tips

19. Microsoft ClearType
While it’s Microsoft’s fault for hiding this option away when a new PC is set up, it staggers me the number of people who do not have this option turned on and do not know what it does.Put simply, old CRT style monitors do not have the same type of pixel that new flat panel screens do. ClearType is the setting to render text for display on flat panels.It does exactly what it says on the tin – text becomes clearer and easier on the eyes to read. If you are spending hours in front of a screen every day, you are really doing your eyes a disservice is this is not enabled. I believe more recent flavours of Windows such as Windows 7 have this enabled by default. Often it is worth adjusting when enabled for your particular screen to avoid colour fringing.For more information (and an example screenshot with and without ClearType), see Wikipedia’s page about ClearType

20. Native Screen Resolution
A few years ago when CRT screens were the norm, this item would have been about the vast numbers of people giving themselves completely unnecessary eyestrain and migraines by sitting in front of flickering monitors set to the Windows default 60hz refresh rate. With flat panel technology, refresh rate is no longer an issue, but native resolution is. Flat panel screens, unlike old CRT screens are only sharp at one resolution, their ‘native resolution’. If you don’t have this resolution set as your desktop resolution, you will see a fuzzy display that’s likely to cause serious eyestrain. Personally, I know one experienced marketer who had their screen set up at non-native resolution for who knows how long before until I pointed it out…

21. Using “Run”
The ‘run’ prompt in the start menu is handy to access a number of tools. Simply type ‘calc’ into the run box to run the Windows calculator, or ‘cmd’ to bring up a DOS prompt. There are a number of other system tools and apps that can be launched this way.

Moodle 2.0 Boosts Integration and Web 2.0 Features

Source: http://bit.ly/fr1hrG

Following more than two years of development, the Moodle community has formally released Moodle 2.0, a major update to the popular open source learning management system.

Moodle is a widely adopted electronic learning platform, one that boasts greater reported usage than any other open source or commercial LMS. It’s used by about 1.1 million teachers and more than 38 million users via 49,000 sites worldwide. Those users participate in some 3.9 million total courses as of this writing. Moodle supports both small and large deployments (with several sites well beyond 100,000 users) and includes course management tools, various Web 2.0 technologies, online assessments, and other features common to learning management systems.

The latest 2.0 release, formally launched last week (Thanksgiving day), adds a wide range of new capabilities as well as improvements to the core functionality found in earlier releases. Moodle 2.0 allows users to set up "community hubs," which are searchable directories of courses for public or private use that allow teachers to publish and advertise their own courses. It also adds support for standards-based Web services throughout, cohorts (groups of users that can be enrolled in a course through a single action), prerequisites, and conditions for course completion. And it adds new content block types, including comments for any page, community monitoring, status updates, and private files.

Version 2.0 also emphasizes integration with third-party and external tools. Among these:

- Plagiarism and detection tools, such as Turnitin;

- Content repositories via plugins (currently for "Alfresco, Amazon S3, Box.net, File system on Server, Flickr, Google Docs, Mahara, MERLOT, Picasa, Recent Files, Remote Moodle sites, WebDAV servers, Wikimedia, [and] Youtube," according to Moodle’s documentation), as well as the ability to add files from external stores via an AJAX interface or by specifying a URL;

- Electronic portfolios, which, like external repositories, can be integrated via plugins (for Box.net, Flickr, Google Docs, Mahara, and Picasa) or through export modules, with support currently available for HTML, image, text, and LEAP2A formats.

Moodle 2.0 also includes a number of improvements to features carried over from the previous generation. These include:

-A new TinyMCE-based HTML editor with a resizable editor window and "cleaner" XHTML output;

-Improvements to messaging, including a message overview panel;

More flexibility with themes, including custom menus for all themes;

-Enhanced assessment tools, including improved navigation, reports, editing, and administration;

-General improvements to RSS;

-Simplification of roles and improvements to defining and assigning roles;

-Enhanced backups, which now support courses of any size;

-Blog comments and support for external blogs;

-Overall improvements to enrollments, including guest accounts and multiple simultaneous forms of enrollment;

-More robust fIle handling, including unicode file names, metadata, file associations, and duplicates; and

-Improved navigation and settings blocks, which now appear on all pages with contextual links and settings.

Moodle lead developer Martin Dougiamas said in a blog post Thursday that development had already begun on version 2.0.1, with a particular emphasis on "performance and robustness." He added: "We are also switching the whole project from CVS to git and taking the opportunity to significantly improve our entire development process with more staff and better structures and workflow."

Aside from individual efforts, Moodle partners in the United States that contributed funding or code to the development of version 2.0 included ClassroomRevolution.com, Moodlerooms, NewSchool Learning, and Remote-Learner USA. (A total of 51 partners from around the world contributed.)

Moodle 2.0 supports PHP 5.2.8 (5.3.3 recommended); a minimum of MySQL 5.0.25, PostgreSQL 8.3, Oracle 10.2, or Microsoft SQL Server 2005; and most recent browsers, regardless of platform, including Safari 3, Internet Explorer 7, Firefox 3, Chrome 4, or Opera 9.

Google AppInventer – a rich online visual programming tool

Source: http://bit.ly/ie52Ju

One of the biggest reasons why developing applications isn’t everyone cup of tea, is the odd textual way in which logic and data must be expressed in order to get even the simplest functionality working. So much so that if one simple needs an application to play a music file when a button is pressed, it is no trivial task.

In a language such as C / C++ one would have to import the libraries for the UI such as Qt, create UI widgets, set up their positions, sizes and other properties, and assign a function that performs the actions you’d want to them to perform when they are interacted with. The way code is written is very different from how one uses the final result.

Google’s AppInventer takes on the challenge of devising a way to create applications that can be developed without requiring any textual coding. It comes as a web application that runs mostly from your browser and lets you develop Android using a visual programming language.

The idea of developing applications graphically instead of via code is not new. Projects such Applications are simply bundles of logic and data. While manipulating data on the lowermost levels requires a deep understanding of the data, for the end user an image is simply an image, and an audio file is simply audio. If a way of coding applications simply handles data as end users are used to, the development mechanism will be much simplified.

What AppInventer does is to allow one to visually lay out the flow of an application and Google’s AppInventer creates an Android application out of it. Quite a few IDEs such as Visual Studio, and QtCreator allow one to visually lay out the components in their application. This much is expected of any GUI Builder. A novice computer user could, quite easily devise at least a mediocre application interface using such tools. AppInventer takes it a step further allowing such a user to even code the functionality of such an application using blocks.

The thing about Object-Oriented programming is, that code components resemble objects, blocks of functionality. They have properties and behaviours that can be linked to give an application its functionality. A button’s click behaviour for example, could be linked to a sound object’s play behaviour, and what you get is a music playing each time you click a button. One can imagine more complicated application logic derived this way, as you have more objects with more behaviours.

This is how AppInventer functions. Once you are done laying out UI components in your application, you can launch the "Blocks Editor" which lets you add in the functionality to your laid-out components. The applications for laying out components is a web application, built on HTML and JavaScript. The blocks editor however, is written in Java and opens in a separate window, which breaks the flow a little bit. Here you can interact with the API of the objects you have added to the stage in the UI designer and connect different elements.

Using the Blocks editor is like putting together pieces of a puzzle where you don’t exactly know what the final picture looks like or how to get there. All you can do is figure out the different ways the pieces can fit together to get the functionality you want. It is not difficult to figure out, but it is a little puzzling to being with.

For someone already adept in development, AppInventer should be a walk in the park. In this case AppInventer can help in getting started with the basic functionality of a complicated project. A developer with knowledge of the APIs would be quite at ease with the rich visual interface for developing basic functionality and higher level logic. Since the entire development environment is delivered online, you don’t need to worry about saving your project (as that is managed automatically). You can create checkpoints at any time, which creates a snapshot of the project in its current state; this can work as a rudimentary form of revision control.

Unfortunately AppInventer doesn’t support exporting your project as Java source code – such that it can be further refined. While developers will find the rich interface and the auto-save feature quite useful and intuitive, this is a huge drawback.

Even for the average user, the ultimate point should not be to create a "block" for each and every possible function and operation that one could perform while coding, but to make it easier to express logic visually such that it is easier for both the programmer and the computer to understand.

If it were easy to have a computer process a natural language sentence such as "When the search button is clicked, search for ‘digitindia’ on Twitter, and display the results in a list " and translate that to machine code, wouldn’t it be simpler than creating a block structure such as:

 

AppInventer is certainly an interesting concept, but it needs a lot more focus towards making simpler for someone with no computer programming knowledge or experience to use. Of course, AppInventer is still not complete, it is only a preview as of now, and Google can take it any direction with this framework in place. Perhaps this is to be a framework for a simple product for novices while simultaneously allowing for more complicated projects for advanced users.

Currently AppInventer does not bring enough simplicity to be of use to the average computer / Android user, and is not flexible enough to create something and developer would want to. However the roots are there for a great application, and the fact that this is a cross-platform application which runs in the browser makes it only more exciting.