Many would think it needs deeper programming knowledge to develop iPhone apps, but in truth, even beginners or those who have a little about programming could end up developing the world’s most popular app. Perhaps, one of the best stories of a struggling developer who was able to find a fortune out of a single app is the story of Ethan Nicholas, the developer of iShoot app. In an interview done by The Guardian, he said he developed the app using his Mac that has seen better days while watching over his baby on the couch.
Nicholas was a Java programmer who knew a little about iPhone app programming language, Objective C. The point is app development needs more determination than vast knowledge on programming language. So, you can just jump into developing your first app, literally. For beginners, here’s how to develop iPhone apps:
Step 1: iPhone App Development Platform
It’s nothing fancy. If you already have a Mac, then you don’t have to buy a new unit to develop apps for iPhones and iPads. However, for those who are yet to buy an Apple computer but on a tight budget, used units or Mac minis would do the job. All you need is a Mac with Intel-based processor and runs, at least, Leopard version of MacOS X.
Step 2: Software Development Kit (SDK)
You don’t have to worry about any development kits you need for app development because Apple provided almost everything. You can download SDKs from Apple’s Developer site.
Step 3: Learn Objective C Basics
Objective C is the primary language used for iPhone development. Being one of the early object-oriented languages, it has a closer resemblance to C/C++ language. But the thing is, anyone who has programming experiences can easily learn Objective C. Unlike before where everything is printed on volumes and volumes of books, today, it is easier to find comprehensive and “made-easy” tutorials online. But the best place to start learning is on Apple’s Developer site and forums.
Step 4: Start Writing/Coding
You don’t have to master Objective C language before drafting your first app. If you have ideas to start with, you might as well start coding and learn the things you need along the way. Ethan Nicholas, being a Java programmer, said he knew nothing about Objective C, Cocoa and OpenGL when he started writing his first iPhone app, iShoot.
Another developer suggests you find sample projects from the SDK and reverse engineer them to know how they were built. From there, you can start your own and apply the things you need to add.
Step 5: Sign-up To Become Official Developer
It is a necessity you become one of Apple’s official developers for you to be able to try your app on the real iPhone and not just on an emulator. Apple offers a Developer Program that would cost you $99. You need to agree to Apple’s terms and conditions and you will receive a contract that you need to sign and return to Apple so that you can get a certificate that would allow you to pair your app with an iPhone.
Step 6: Dedicate More Time In Development
App development would take much of your time; it can become your full-time priority or just part-time. But the thing is, the more time you spend on it, the faster you will be able to launch your app. There’s no shortcut in development. Even if you’re done writing the entire app, you have to dedicate time debugging your codes to make your app perfect. iShoot was fully developed after two months of work and Nicholas had to spend more time debugging crashes.
The length of time will totally depend on your expertise, availability and dedication.
Step 7: Submit Your App
All developers don’t have control whether their apps will be approved by Apple or not. But based on testimonies of some successful app developers, apps are most likely to get approved when they are unique, original, don’t contain many bugs, with proper description, etc. It is more of like filling in the blanks and wait to receive feedback from Apple.
Step 8: Provide Support, Make Buzz
The work isn’t finished once your app made it to the App Store. The truth is, your real work is just beginning. As soon as thousands, if not millions, of users get hold of your app, you can expect bugs to be discovered here and there. You need to provide support for these users to gain their support in return. But prior to that, you also have to make a lot of buzz about your app; send press releases to PR firms or websites that you think could help in building the popularity of your app.
Once people start to notice your app and if it offers unique and exciting features, you can now expect to see good sales figures in your reports. But all these are the epitome of your dedication and hard work.