Simple is based on BASIC, a programming language created in the 1960s that saw widespread use in the 1980s as the personal computer market developed. BASIC became even more popular in the 1990s when Microsoft released Visual Basic.
"Bringing an easy to learn and use language to the mobile world and the Android platform is the goal of the Simple project," said Google software engineer Herbert Czymontek in a blog post. "Simple is a BASIC dialect for developing Android applications. It is particularly well suited for non-professional programmers (but not limited to). Simple allows programmers to quickly write Android applications by using the components supplied by its runtime system."
Google provides the source code for three sample Simple applications: a version of Etch-a-Sketch, a version of Tetris, and a speed dialing program.
Beyond living up to its name by being easy to understand, Simple also provides access to Android mobile phone hardware, like the accelerometer, the orientation sensor, the phone, and stored contacts. By contrast, developing applications for Apple's iPhone is not simple.
Available for Linux, Mac, and Windows, Simple is an open source project. It's not entirely complete, warns Czymontek. "You are very likely to run into bugs as well as into situations were needed functionality is simply not implemented," he says.
Simple users are advised either to report the bug or to contribute to the project by fixing the problem themselves.
Simple applications, once completed and digitally signed, can be sold in Google's Android Market.
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