App Inventor provides a component, TinyWebDB, which can be used to talk to web data sources (APIs) that follow a specific protocol. You can use APIs bring in book data from Amazon, stock information from Yahoo Finance, and data from blogs (see appinventorapi.com for samples) There’s also a new Web component in App Inventor that provides another method for talking to APIs.
Last semester, Jackie Tong, a University of San Francisco student taking our App Inventor course, created an”App-Inventor-Compatible” API to Yelp’s recommendation data. The API gives access to simple search on Yelp.
You can access Jackie’s API directly from your App Inventor apps. Just add a TinyWebDB component and set the sourceURL to cs1072spr11.appspot.com.
You can also download the source code to modify it and add new Yelp commands. She wrote the code in Python and using App Engine, and she’s been kind enough to share the code at:
Jackie was a beginning computer science student. She is exceptional, but her work shows that even beginners can create APIs using Python and App Engine, and thus, with App Inventor, can create web enabled Android apps.