LEGO must be one of the most ubiquitous toys in the world. It's hard to imagine growing up without it. Somehow, the company has managed to remain relevant all these years, finding new ways to engage with kids as the world around them changes. One of the most highly anticipated LEGO releases for some time is the Boost Creative Toolbox, which tasks you with building a robot named Vernie, among others, and programming them to perform certain actions using "drag-n'-drop coding." It's due to ship from August 1st, and in preparation, the Android app has just been made available.
If you've ever tried to search the meaning of specific operations and characters in programming languages, you know how frustrating it can be. You'll often have to append the name of the language to the search, or try surrounding it in quotes to only show exact matches.
Now Google has vastly improved searching for special characters and operations in programming languages.
Treehouse is another one of those online education platforms people can use to get some learning done without having to set foot inside of a classroom. This particular company focuses on providing people with the knowledge needed to design their own apps and websites. To aid in its goal to reach a tech-savvy crowd, it has released an Android app into the Play Store that provides access to much of its content.
Treehouse offers over 1000 educational videos about topics ranging from creating software and designing sites to handling the business side of things. It tests knowledge through quizzes and provides space to code directly within the app.
Running, jumping, shooting—these are the sorts of things you'd expect in a mobile game. Coding? Eh, less so. That's what makes Hacked so interesting. This game, created by Joaquim Verges (Falcon Pro dev) and Fabien Devos, is built around a programming language (H) and a mobile friendly code editor (the Hackpad). You play the game by creating and running simple programs, so a little coding experience is needed to get the most out of it.
Tynker made waves back in March when the developers released the teaching app on the iPad. It introduces children (or anyone, I suppose) to the basic principles of coding and programming. Tynker was available on the web before that, teaching extremely basic programming with a puzzle-style visual interface and pre-made tools. The Android app is only available on tablets, which makes sense given the format, and it costs $4.99 with no in-app purchases.
Tynker won't teach your kids how to code C++ or Java overnight - it's more about learning to think and establish work patterns that roughly approximate programming to get kids interested.
Any developer (or writer, musician, athlete, parent, human being...) worth their salt is constantly trying to improve their skills. The best way to do that is not only through doing something constantly (read: practice) but also through research, reading, and studying new material. That's why school is a thing that we do.
This contest is now over.
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One of the great things about Android's ecosystem is the number of indie developers who are able to enter the market successfully, providing a great product and inspiring would-be developers to join in. For many though, Android development in general is a mysterious topic. How an app or game goes from an idea to an entry in the Play Store is unknown, but (thankfully) not unknowable.
Of course, considering how major development studios bring apps to life doesn't require too much thought – major companies like EA, Disney, or Rockstar have no problem hiring designers and developers to crank out and maintain polished apps.