iOS Fundamentals

A Dice Talent Community

By Chris Jones

Well know that mobile development is hot, and more and more that means iOS development is hot. Companies need developers who know, or have at least been exposed to, the iOS environment.

If you’re looking to get started with iOS, her are some fundamental steps to take.

Register

To start, you’ll need to registered as iOS Developer at Apple’s Developer Program website. You can register for free as an individual, or pay $100 for a corporate account. Be aware that if you plan to release software as a company you can only submit code to the App Store under your corporate account.  Also, a corporate account requires more paper work and takes a little longer to approve.

One more thing: You’ll have to do your development work on a Mac.

Download Xcode

This is Apple’s IDE. It contains all of the tools and SDKs needed to develop applications for iOS and the Mac. It’s free. By default, Xcode installs some UNIX tools behind the scenes so you don’t have to worry about plugins as you do with Android’s IDE, Eclipse.

One of the tools Xcode provides is the Simulator. It allows you develop for iPad or iPhone using different versions of iOS, so that you can target your code without having a specific device to test on. However, the Simulator can’t simulate everything so you’ll need an actual device before you release your code to the App Store.

Diving In

As a developer, you may have the urge to just launch Xcode and start coding your first iPhone/iPad app before you really get to know your environment.  iOS uses Objective-C as the primary language. Objective-C is a hybrid of SmallTalk and C/C++.  You may know C/C++ like the back of your hand but the first time you look at Objective-C, your eyes may glaze over wondering what all of those brackets surrounding the methods mean. This is usually the point where some people stop and go over to Android and Java — but hang in there.

Get to know Objective-C and Xcode by accessing the tremendous resources available at Apple’s developer site. By taking the time to work through your environment, you’ll be able to produce better code faster.

Summary

As always, Apple makes things simple. Except for the corporate account’s small fee, its The resources come at no charge. There are a number of tutorials and videos with a lot of sample code.  Apple also provides a nice Getting Started walk through. So, download Xcode and, indeed, get started.

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