Creating Apps
April 27, 2009 3:37 PM   Subscribe

I want to turn two ideas into downloadable programs for the Android/G1 Market.

Both are in a usable form right now. One is a searchable calendar written in Javascript. The other is a searchable database on an Excel spreadsheet. I know nothing about programming. And after reading previous posts about creating anything for the IPhone, OMG, just the terminology itself is daunting; ObjC, C++, OOP, Keychain ...

I want to do this, but how can I get it done for Android? And if I want to do anything for the IPhone, would finding somebody to do it be a more expedient choice than teaching myself? I mean, what's the difference between the two in terms of exposure anyway?
posted by CollectiveMind to Computers & Internet (7 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Kevin Rose, creator of Digg, has said many times that the way to do it is, hire yourself some geeks to make your vision real. That's what he did to create his website, and, well, we all know how well that's done for him.

How to go about finding those people, I am not certain.
posted by hippybear at 3:47 PM on April 27, 2009

Android uses the JVM, so it's Java-the-language and a others that run in the JVM. Android isn't quite as onerous as the iphone, though it's pretty darned far from trivial.

My advice: You need a good programmer. Having ideas isn't enough. Every programmer has 100 ideas for every thing they actually have time to make, so there's no deficit of cool ideas. Getting time to work is the problem. With money, you can buy someone's time.

And beware, the Android market isn't nearly as large as iphone's. I did make almost $20 before making my app ("TimeCop") free.
posted by cmiller at 3:55 PM on April 27, 2009

Android managed to nab something like 5% of the smartphone market so far. iPhone has like 50%, so the amount of money you'd make from anything there wouldn't be huge. My app's been downloaded around 50k times, but it's free.

As far as doing it yourself, if you enjoy programming, go for it, but if your intention is just to make money, you'll get burned out very quickly, plus there's marketing to consider.

That said, hiring a good freelance programmer could cost you around $100/hr, and iPhone developers are making more than that.
posted by fnerg at 5:36 PM on April 27, 2009

Oh, and as far as teaching yourself programming, I've liked the Sams teach yourself X in Y Zs books.

Android is actually pretty well documented, so you could just pick up a book on Java, then figure the rest out using Android's online documentation.
posted by fnerg at 6:19 PM on April 27, 2009

Turning Ideas into iPhone Applications.

The situation will be similar for the Android, except that the costs will be somewhat lower and the likely revenue will be much smaller.
posted by alms at 8:18 PM on April 27, 2009

Part-time freelance developer here; I've done my share of work on both the iPhone and Android platforms.

Parroting what everybody else says, it kinda depends how much cash you have at your disposal and what you plan to gain from this. Be warned that it's hard to make a lot of money on the iPhone without (a) a great idea, done well (b) killer marketing instincts, and (c) luck. Android has so much less market share (and cool factor) that making money there will be harder still.

So, it depends on what your goals are. If you're looking to learn new stuff and have fun, buy a Java book, download the Android SDK, and dive in. For someone who knows as little as you, Android is probably a better platform to start; Java is (IMO) a cleaner language than Obj-C, you don't have to worry about memory management (all hail garbage collection!), and it's free to develop apps. (Apple lets you download and develop stuff on the simulator for free, but to actually run your programs on a real iPhone or iPod Touch costs $99 for a dev certificate).

That said, there's a large learning curve (especially if very little of that last paragraph made much sense to you), and it'd be quite a while before you got good enough as a programmer to do the sorts of things you're talking about. Like, years.

You know option B: hire somebody else to do it. It's gonna be expensive, though; $100/hour is actually on the low end.

Feel free to contact me with any questions. I could possibly even take on the project(s), although my freelancing comes second to my studenting, so everything is time-permitting.
posted by captainawesome at 8:45 PM on April 27, 2009

If you want to do this for profit, there's not much point in the Android market yet. The iPhone market is a jillion and a half times larger.
posted by rokusan at 10:12 PM on April 27, 2009

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