The year 2007 marked an important event in the mobile history when Apple’s Steve Jobs showcased the first iPhone to this world. It shocked the world when everyone saw a phone with only one key and more surprised with the UI that was thrown at users fingers. This was probably the first phone where everything except power is controlled by user finger gestures. The one thing, which made iPhone stand out of its competitors, was its purpose of usage. Most of the smart phone out there in market is basically business oriented with entertainment like music but having iPhone is real fun. Having an iPhone is like a baby playing with a toy – the baby never gets bored. With iPhone revolutionizing the smart phone market, Steve Jobs came with another shocker by launching “iPod Touch”. It was also released within few months after the launch of iPhone but this one was an IPhone minus camera and phone capability. ITouch and iPhone basically shares the same platform. From the first release of iPhone to till date, iPhone is in its own league and untouchable in the smart phone market. We hope, there will be some one born to really challenge iPhone.
Just releasing the iPhone isn’t the toughest part. What good does a phone be if it cannot have applications to unleash its power? In practical, Apple of its own cannot create applications on a large scale, which can cater to different kinds of people. So Apple decided to throw its application development open to anyone in the world and come up with his or her own ideas. But the application has to pass through Apple’s testing procedures and can be purchased only through iTunes stores. The best part being, the more your application gets downloaded, the more money you make.
We put forward our ideas on the basic things you have to know on how to get started with iPhone application development.
Our hardware requirement is straightforward and till now we do not have any other option. We require a Mac machine powered by Intel processor and having MAC OS 10.5 or later. Though having an iPod to iTouch is optional, we recommend having one because their will always be difference in running the application on a simulator and a real time device.
On the software front, though you can program using a text editor, we highly recommend using the XCode IDE because of its simplicity and options, which makes the development much easier.
As far as creating the UI is concerned, Apple provides us with a tool “Interface builder”, where placing a component is as easy as dragging from the components library on to the screen and the positions gets saved automatically. It is the easiest way though you can completely avoid Interface Builder and place the components calculating the position and hard coding in your application. We prefer using Interface Builder.
And finally you need to register for the developer account to become a Registered iPhone Developer. The standard account costs 99$ and enterprise account costs 199$. This is mandatory to submit your applications to apple and also to test your application in iPhone or iPod device. Apple would take at least 10 days to confirm your developer account. Make sure to submit all the relevant documents while submitting your developer account application, because once it gets rejected you need to resubmit the application and wait for a few more days.
Once you have setup your environment and submitted your developer account application, you can start learning Objective-C programming. IPhone applications are developed using objective-C and you can think of it as a marriage between C and Smalltalk. It is like an Object Oriented version of C with Smalltalk-style syntax. The language is very simple to learn and it would be extremely easy if you come from an object-oriented background like Java. The only think which you might find it peculiar initially is the syntax and once you get used to it, I’m sure you will really love it.
By the time you get you Developer account approved, provided you have submitted the application carefully, you should be comfortable with Objective-C language and raring to start with you application.
Once you are a Registered iPhone Developer, you can start developing applications. Either you can start with your own ideas or get some one who has got a nice idea. Remember Apple may reject your application, if it is not going to be of much use.
Once you have your idea, draw a rough sketch on how you application is going to look and flow? How many screens it is going to have? Whether you require database to store data? Whether your application requires data from external server? Make sure to at least know what are the standard components (textbox, picker view etc) available so that you can decide what is the best way to present information to the user.
Once your overview is ready, start building your application Screen by Screen. This way, you will gain confidence as you proceed. Once you have completed the logic for all the screens, try to decorate your screens like providing background image to your screens, images to your buttons etc. Though this is not compulsory, it provides a rich look and feel to the application. We prefer to do this after completing the business logic, because some screens require design based on the components you have used.
Now with your application having a nice design and perfectly working in your simulator, its time to check it in a real time device. To test your application in a real device, you need to Development Certificate and Provisioning Profile You can get a clear understanding about installing and running an application in real device from here. You can also see real time logs and crash logs from the real time device once you have configured your device for iPhone development using XCode.
After completely testing your application, you are ready to submit you application for testing to Apple.
We present a checklist that you can use before submitting the application for testing
Once everything is ready, you can login into iTunes Connect using your developer account and navigate to “Manage Your Applications “. Click on “Add New Application” button to start submitting your application
Once everything is done, you can see the application status as “In Review” in “Manage Your Application” screen. On an average, it will take 14 days for apple to review your application and send you the report. If the application is accepted and you have signed the Sales Contract, Your application is ready for sale in iTunes store.
To get the link for your application, open iTunes, type your application name in the search box at top right, and once you find your application, right click on the application copy and select “Copy iTunes URL”. You can use this link to publish your application in your websites. When the user clicks this link, iTunes application will be automatically opened with the application page.(If iTunes is not installed, user will be prompted to download and install).
It depends on you business strategy and how well you promote your application, which makes it a success or failure.