Writing an iPhone App

This is a guest article by Ruben Corbo, a writer for the website Cell Phone Expert where you can compare cell phone plans and check out cell phone reviews.

For a lot of people who have read cell phone reviews and realized they had a better app idea than some developers, the roadblock to actually creating that app has likely been the same: They don’t know how to go about creating an app. It seems like a daunting task and, truthfully, it does take some time and commitment. The steps are simple enough, though, and if you follow them through you can write and launch your very own iPhone apps.

Writing iPhone Apps

Courtesy Markopacko

Learning to write code is the most critical step. Apple does offer some templates – more on that later – that can be used to create apps without writing too much code. But no matter how easy or simple your idea for an app is, you’ll need to learn to write some code. iPhone apps are written in Objective C. Several books are available on the subject and are written with the iPhone in mind. Beginning iPhone Development is one popular title. No matter what book or website you choose to learn from, make sure to go through and practice writing sample code.

Once you have a decent grasp on the fundamentals of programming, the next step is to download the iOS development kit from developer.apple.com. This kit includes all of the tools you’ll need to write, edit, debug and preview iPhone apps. From start to finish, the iOS development kit is there to support you in the development process.

The kit includes a full iPhone simulator for quickly testing your apps, but the most important component of the kit is Xcode IDE. This is where most of the development actually takes place. It’s where you’ll write your code, but it’s also where you’ll save a lot of time. This is where Apple’s project templates are available. These are templates that take a lot of the labor out of writing more basic pieces of code, and they really save new developers time when writing applications at a beginner’s level.

Another important part of the kit, Apple Interface Builder, lets you quickly add basic elements to an application, such as text field and navigation buttons. It features a full library of these common elements, and relies on drag-and-drop functionality. Like the project templates, Apple Interface Builder is capable of saving developers a lot of time that would be otherwise spent writing tedious parts of code.

The iPhone simulator that Apple provides is great for checking for bugs, but it’s not so great for actually testing an app’s functionality. If you’ve written a racing game, for instance, you’ll want to check to see if the steering is too tight or too loose, or if the AI provides a reasonable challenge. That’s why, once you’ve written an app, you’ll want to try it on your own iOS device. For this ability, you need to be able to sign apps. At this point, Apple charges a $100 fee. Along with that fee, you get more developer tools and support.

More importantly, that $100 fee also lets you submit your apps for publication to the iOS App Store. Once you’ve written and tested your app, you can send it to Apple. If they review it and do not find any bugs or other features that stop it from being published, then you’ve succeeded: Your app gets published. Just like that, you’ve gone from reading cell phone reviews and feeling like your ideas are better than some major developers to having your own apps published by Apple.

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