Now, explain it to me like I'm a four-year-old.
October 13, 2008 12:30 PM   Subscribe

iPod Touch/iPhone app development for utter idiots.

I want to make an app to sell in the store, a very simple app like the flashlight or lighter ones, basically a picture you could say.

I have seen that there are supersimplified ways of making widgets and so forth (Jiggy for example?) but they all seem to be for jailbreak users.

Is there something similar for making actual apps for the store? What steps do I need to make something simple like this? I have signed up as an iPhone developer (I gather it's the same devgroup?). Do I have to pay the 100 dollar developer fee? Do I have to learn obj-c or are there other, simpler options? WTF is a toolchain?

Please break this down for me, I have some webdev experience and a couple of smart and patient friends, but I need to know the basics and where to start.
posted by Iteki to Computers & Internet (5 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
iPhone SDK. There are several tutorials on that page, but yeah, you'll probably have to learn a compiled language.
posted by rhizome at 12:51 PM on October 13, 2008

Why not just make a website that is optimized for the iphone? You won't need any developer know-how or credentials, and it's silly to make a whole app to show "basically a picture."

If you still want to make an app on the App Store: yes, you need to pay the $99 and install XCode. You then need to do a lot of mumbo jumbo with certificates and provisioning. You can download example XCode projects that do simple things and modify the resources yourself after reading a few tutorials. You haven't given us much details on what your app will do, but if it does anything other than show a picture, yeah, you'll probably need to learn some coding.

A toolchain is a set of programs, libraries and source code headers that let you develop software for a platform. The iPhone SDK contains a toolchain, documentation, and an IDE (XCode.)
posted by neustile at 12:52 PM on October 13, 2008

You must pay Apple money, and meet their criteria for having the app sold in their store. This (somewhat) humorous article identifies the 22 steps involved in making an iPhone app; it begins with joining Apple's developer group and paying them $99.

Also, Apple has in the past rejected apps on the grounds that they have "limited functionality." The "very simple app" you described might not meet their standards.
posted by profwhat at 12:55 PM on October 13, 2008

Some observations as someone who's in the midst of this themselves:
  • You can download the SDK without paying Apple any money (as you've probably found if you're registered), but you can only test in the simulator; You'll need to give them your $99 if you want to test your app on physical hardware.
  • Yes, you'll have to learn Objective C. If you've done some object-oriented programming before it won't be too crazy, but it's certainly different.
  • The online documentation (cmd-opt-?) is good, but it's not enough. You'll need to understand some of the design concepts behind the API - The Hillegass book is pretty much the standard, and has a relatively shallow learning curve. The PragProg book is getting there (it's in beta, they only have about half the content in the book).
If you're just getting into this, I'd suggest that you learn the programming aspect first before paying Apple their entrance fee.
BTW, an alternative would be to do a web-based iPhone app - I don't think you'll have to pay Apple anything for that, and the technologies are all pretty standard.
posted by lowlife at 3:32 PM on October 13, 2008 [1 favorite]

These are good tips, thanks! Given that there are apps that show a lighter, mine would be somewhat more functional than that :)

I am open for any and all tips here, so feel free to add more, thanks!
posted by Iteki at 1:10 AM on October 14, 2008

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