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A Large-scale Analysis of App Inventor Projects

06/19/2020
by   Nathalia da Cruz Alves, et al.
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App Inventor is a popular block-based programming environment used by a wide audience, from K-12 to higher education, including end-users to create mobile applications to support their primary job or hobbies. Although learning computational thinking with App Inventor has been investigated, a question that remains is which programming concepts are typically used and how this compares to other block-based programming environments. Therefore, we explore the characteristics of App Inventor projects through a large-scale analysis of 88,606 apps from the App Inventor Gallery. We discovered that the size of App Inventor projects varies from projects with very few blocks to some surprisingly large projects with more than 60,000 blocks. In general, much fewer design components are used than programming blocks, as typically, to work properly, several programming blocks are necessary for each design component in an App Inventor project. In addition, we also compare our results with the analysis of 233,491 Scratch projects reported by Aivaloglou and Hermans [4]. Several differences can be observed, as in App Inventor projects events are more predominant, with lesser use of conditionals and loops. These findings may guide the decision on the adoption of App Inventor for teaching computing depending on the specific learning objectives or indicate the need for tailoring the curricula.

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