Blocks Editor

December 3, 2012 – I’ve been working with the blocks editor since I started working on my final project, so this week’s assignment felt half-completed before the week began. I’ve been programming the blocks as I went because I felt a need to make sure that I could actually program everything I could dream up with the component designer. I’ve often felt a little unsure of my ability to work with the blocks editor, but working on this final project has given me a lot more confidence with this component of App Inventor.

As I mentioned above, when this week started, I had a lot of my blocks editor work completed (or at least caught up). I decided to continue refining the look of my app, however, and that necessitated additional work with the blocks editor.

My ultimate goal with my app is to create a picture book that has hotspots on an image for navigation. One way of accomplishing this is to set up a canvas component with image sprites and assign navigation icons to those sprites. I’m having trouble figuring out how to set up a list picker as an image sprite (or somehow associate the two)–perhaps this can’t be done.

The kinds of blocks that I have in my app are:

  • A notification block that requires the user to agree to my license and terms of conditions.
  • A clock element on the splash page that shows a logo/series title for a few seconds
  • On each page thereafter, a global variable defined as a list (this forms my table of contents that my list pickers works from).
  • On each page, list picker.before picking and after picking elements.
  • On the picture pages, image sprites that provide basic navigation when touched.
  • Buttons and labels that allow text to be hidden and shown to the user. The buttons also hide themselves at certain points, depending on the visibility of the text (this allows me to hide the button the user doesn’t need at that point and keep the screen a little cleaner).

Here is what I want to do with the app and the blocks editor before I’m finished:

  • Finish adding all of the pages/pictures and the various component for each in the blocks editor (in other words, complete the picture book).
  • Add sound files that narrate the words (good for autistic users)
  • Find a way to super-impose the words over the picture so everything is cleaner and more seamless.

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