Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Fall Semester, 2011

MIT 6.S083: Building Mobile Applications

Class meetings: Lecture Thursday 10-12 (E14-633); Lab Tuesday 7-9PM (4-231)
Prerequisites: 6.00 or 6.01
Enrollment is limited. Permission of instructor required.

6.S083 is full for the fall semester. If you'd like to be put on a waiting list, you should fill out the Web form at

Three years ago, it was rare for non-professionals to implement mobile applications. Even two years ago, building a working app was an intensive semester-long project. Today, implementing a mobile app can be a straightforward exercise. The challenge is to have good ideas for what to build. This course deals with how to pick project ideas and rapidly bring them to fruition through the prototype phase, how work as part of an effective rapid development team, and how to present your work in a compelling way.

This fall, 6.S083 will be tightly coordinated with

For 6.S083, you'll be focusing on creating mobile apps, both apps of your own choosing, as well as apps and that relate to the business and development ideas explored in the other two subjects. Many class meetings will be joint, so you can learn not only about mobile app technoloy in itself, but about the challenges of creating a successful application that meets real needs users and survives the challenges of sustainable financial support.

You'll begin 6.S083 using Google's App Inventor for Android, a development environment for Android phones that relies on Android's open-source architecture to let people create apps quickly, by plugging together program blocks in a graphical interface. You'll work on your own computer (MacOS, GNU/Linux, or Windows) using a phone emulator, and the Department will provide phones to borrow for development, testing, and demonstration.

During the first third of the semester, you'll create several prototype apps to get a feel for the range of mobile app technologies and application areas. For the rest of the semester, you'll have the choice of working on projects from three different options:

  1. Developing an app as part of a team exploring an idea in Founders Journey
  2. Developing an app as part of a team launching an enterprise in Development Ventures (MAS.665)
  3. Working on a project with the help of a mentor drawn from the wider professional developer community at MIT and the Boston area

There will be several required presentations througout the semester, and much of class time will be devoted to presenting your work and critiquing the work of others. There is no final exam, but there will be a major end of semester presentation.