Android App Inventor Chapter 4 Lab


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Android App Inventor Chapter 4 Lab


Goals & Objectives


  1. Calling Object Methods

  2. Creating Procedures

  3. Passing arguments

  4. Returning Results

  5. Ignoring Results

  6. Calling Subroutines

  7. Validating Input

  8. Doing Mathematics

  9. Generating Random Numbers

  10. Summary

Calling Object Methods

Application objects have methods that can be called upon to perform particular functions within the app. The method blocks can be found within their component’s drawer in the My Blocks tab, and have some differences in the way they are used. Many methods require arguments to be supplied in the call. Some methods also return a value to the caller when they are called. Other methods require no arguments and return nothing when they are called.

Step 1: Start a new App Inventor project named “Methods” then add a Label, two Buttons, and a Canvas component. Use the appropriate names as below



Step 2: Launch the Block Editor then drag in an event-handler for the first button’s Click event from the My Blocks tab.

Step 3: From the Canvas component’s drawer snap in a call to its Clear method – to clear any Canvas content when called



Step 4: Next add a statement to clear any Label content by assigning it an empty text string

Step 5: Now drag in an event – handler for the second button’s Click event from the My Blocks tab

Step 6: Snap in a call to the Canvas object’s DrawCircle method and specify three required arguments – to draw a 50 – pixel radius circle when called at coordinates of X:50, Y:50



Step 7: Add a statement with a call to the Canvas object’s GetPizelColor method – to write the numeric value of the Canvas’s central pixel on the Label when called



Step 8: Run the app then tap the Buttons to see the Canvas methods draw a circle and write on the Label

Creating Procedures

Multiple statements can be usefully grouped within a procedure to create a function with a name of your choice. The procedure can then be called upon by name to execute its statements. As with object methods, procedures can be created to accept arguments that pass data from the caller, and may also return a value to the caller, or may simply perform a task requiring no arguments and returning no value

Step 1: Start a new App Inventor project named “Procedure” then add three Labels, a TextBox, and a Button component. Need to use a Horizontal Arrangement Block to create the following



Step 2: Launch the Blocks Editor then drag a procedure Definition block onto the workspace and edit its name

Step 3: Next snap an ifelse Control block into the procedure block

Step 4: Now do add a test using an is a number? Math block –to test if the TextBox contains a number



Step 5: Add a statement to the else-do socket – to write appropriate advice in the “?” Label when the test fails



Step 6: Next add a statement to the then-do socket – to write a computed value in the “?” Label when the test succeeds



Step 7: Now insert a format as decimal Math block in the statement above – to ensure the computed value will always have two decimal places





Step 8: Finally drag in an event-handler for the button’s Click event from the My Blocks tab, then snap in a call block for the named procedure from the My Definitions drawer.



Step 9: Run the app then input a value and tap the Button to see the procedure calls respond.

Passing arguments

A powerful feature of procedure is the ability to receive information when they are called. The information is sent as arguments in the calling statement, and the receiving procedure must expect the supplied number of arguments. For example, a procedure created to accommodate two arguments must be supplied with precisely two arguments when it is called

Step 1: Start a new App Inventor project named “Argument” then add two Labels, TextBox, and a Button component



Step 2: Launch the Blocks Editor then drag a procedure Definition block onto the workspace and edit its name

Step 3: Next snap a name Definition block into the procedure block’s arg socket and edit its name



Step 4: Now do add an ifelse Control block with a test using an is text empty? Text block, and a value block from the My Definitions Drawer – to test if the TextBox is empty



Step 5: Add a statement to the then-do socket – to write appropriated advice in the Label when the test succeeds



Step 6: Next add a statement to the else-do socket – to write the argument value in the Label when the test fails



Step 7: Now drag in an event-handler for the button’s Click event from the My Blocks tab, then snap in a call block for the named procedure from the My Definitions drawer – passing the TextBox contents as its sole argument



Step 8: Run the App then input value and tap the Button to see the procedure calls respond using the argument

Returning Results

A procedure can usefully return a value to the caller. This is often desirable to return a result after the procedure has processed values passed to it as arguments. For example, a procedure created to perform arithmetic on two argument values.

Step 1: Start a new App Inventor project named “Return” then add three Labels, two TextBoxes, and a Button component



Step 2: Launch the Blocks Editor then drag a variable Definition block onto the workspace and edit its name & value.

Step 3: Next drag in a procedureWithResult Definition block and edit its name, then snap two name Definition blocks into the arg sockets and edit their name.



Step 4: Now do add an ifelse Control block with a test using an and Logic Block, is a number? Math blocks, and value blocks from the MyDefinitions drawer – to test if both arguments are numeric



Step 5: Add a statement to the then-do socket – to assign a computed value to the variable when the test succeeds



Step 6: Next add a statement to the else-do socket –to assign an appropriate message to the variable when the test fails



Step 7: Now snap a variable My Definitions block into the procedure’s return socket – to return its value to the caller

Step 8: Finally drag in an event-handler for the button’s Click event from the My Blocks tab, then snap in a call block for the named procedure from the My Definitions drawer – passing both TextBox contents as arguments and assigning the returned value to the “?” Label



Step 9: Run the app then input values and tap the Button to see the procedure calls respond with the returned value



Ignoring Results

Occasionally you may wish to call a procedure that returns a value to the caller, yet ignore the returned value. This will typically arise when the procedure is used by more than one app feature. For example, two buttons might call the same procedure but only one uses its returned value. App Inventor has a “|” pipe Definition block that provides a dummy socket for this purpose.

Step 1: Start a new App Inventor project named “Ignore” then add a Labels, two Buttons, and a Clock component



Step 2: Launch the Blocks Editor then drag a variable Definition block onto the workspace and edit its name & value

Step 3: Next drag in a procedureWithResult Definition block and edit its name, then do add Clock blocks to assign the current weekday number to the variable, and also return that value.



Step 4: Now do add an ifelse Control block with a test using an or Logic block and = Math blocks – to test if the weekday number stored in the variable is either 1 or 7



Step 5: Add a statement to the then-do socket – to write an appropriate message in the Label when the test succeeds



Step 6: Next add a statement to the else-do socket – to write an appropriate message in the Label when the test fails



Step 7: Now add an event-handler for the first button’s Click event to write the procedure’s return value into the Label



Step 8: Add an event-handler for the second button’s Click event

Step 9: Finally do add a pipe Definition block and a call to the named procedure from the My Definitions drawer – that will ignore any returned value



Step 10: Run the app then input values and tap the Buttons to see the procedure’s return value get used and ignored

Calling Subroutines

Procedures can be created for the express purpose of providing functionality for other procedures. This is considered to be good practice – as functionality is modularized into separate procedure is often referred to as “subroutine”. For example, a procedure that returns a text string to its caller might itself call upon a subroutine to perform an arithmetical function.

Step 1: Start a new App Inventor project named “Subroutine” then add a Label, a TextBox, and a Button component



Step 2: Launch the Blocks Editor then drag a variable Definition block onto the workspace and edit its name & value

Step 3: Next drag in a procedureWithResult Definition block and edit its name, then add x Math blocks and like-named value My Definitions blocks – to complete a subroutine that returns its argument cubed



Step 4: Now drag in another procedureWithResult Definition block then add an argument name, and a variable to return



Step 5: Snap an ifelse Control block into the second procedure block – to test if the passed argument is numeric



Step 6: Next add a statement to the then-do socket to build a string by employing the subroutine – to write an appropriate message in the Label when the test succeeds



Step 7: Now add a statement to the else-do socket – to write an appropriate message in the Label when the test fails



Step 8: Finally add an event-handler for the button’s Click event – to pass the current TextBox content to the procedure and to write the procedure’s return value on the Label



Step 9: Run the app

Validating Input

Procedures can return Boolean values to the caller instead of text or numbers. This allows a procedure call to be used directly as a conditional test – where a true return will see the test succeed, and a false return will see it fail. For example, a procedure may be called upon to validate user input.

Step 1: Star a new App Inventor project named “Validation” then add a Label, a TextBox, and a Button component



Step 2: Launch the Blocks Editor then drag a variable Definition block onto the workspace and edit its name & value



Step 3: Next add a procedureWithResult Definition block that will return the current value of the variable to the caller



Step 4: Now do snap in an if block to test whether the current TextBox value contains an “@” at character.



Step 5: Snap another if block into the then-do socket to test whether the TextBox value contains a “.” period character – and to change the variable value when both tests succeed



Step 6: Next add an event-handler for the button’s Click event from the My Blocks tab – to set the variable’s initial state



Step 7: Now do snap in an ifelse Control block – to test if the variable state has changed after validation and write an appropriate message in the Label.



Step 8: Run the app then input an email address and tap the Button

Doing Mathematics

The App Inventor Math drawer provides typical mathematic functions that perform as you would expect. Additionally it provides other less familiar functions that can also be useful.

Step 1: Start a new App Inventor Project named “Math” then add two Labels, a TextBox, and a Button component



Step 2: Launch the Blocks Editor then drag two variable Definition blocks onto the workspace and edit their name

Step 3: Next add a convert degree to radians Math block to assign Pi, and an empty text block.



Step 4: Now add an event-handler for the button’s Click event

Step 5: Snap in an ifelse Control block – to test if the input entered by the user in numeric



Step 6: Next add a statement to the then-do socket to assign a computed value to the empty variable, using pi



Step 7: Now add a statement to the then-do socket to ensure the computed value will always have two decimal places.



Step 8: Add a statement to the then-do socket – to write an appropriate message in the Label when the test succeeds



Step 9: Finally add a statement to the else-do socket – to write an appropriate message in the Label when the test fails



Step 10: Run the app then input a number and tap the Button

Generating Random Numbers

Random numbers can be generated using the Math random integer function. This returns an integer within a range specified by its two arguments. For example, arguments of one and twenty return a random integer within the range 1-20 inclusive.

Step 1: Start a new app Inventor project named “Random” then add two Labels, a TextBox, and a Button component



Step 2: Launch the Blocks Editor then drag a variable Definition block onto the workspace and edit its name & value



Step 3: Next add a procedure to assign a random integer to the variable whenever the procedure gets called



Step 4: Now call the procedure when the app first launches – to assign an initial random integer to the variable



Step 5: Add a Click event-handler containing an ifelse Control – to test if an input number is greater than the stored random number, and write an appropriate message when it succeeds

Step 6: Next snap another ifelse Control into the else-do socket – to test if an number is less than the stored random number, and write an appropriate message when it succeeds



Step 7: Now snap an if Control into the remaining else-do socket – to test if an input number is equal to the stored random number, and write an appropriate message when it succeeds



Step 8: Add a procedure call to reset the random variable then run the application and guess the random number

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