Recommended Path And Expectations for Learning to Program iPhone Apps
August 30, 2016 8:36 AM   Subscribe

Recommended Path And Expectations for Learning to Program iPhone Apps?

Hello. I know there are a lot of similar questions on here and on the Internet in general, but I'm hoping to get some tailored advice for my situation. I am basically starting from zero in terms of programming experience (i.e., have done some very basic 'if then' stuff in excel, but that's it). I work in a fairly niche field and would like to start developing some apps that would be useful for me and likely others in my field. The things I've conceptualized so far seem like they would be pretty straightforward and, in terms of general structure, would typically be short questionnaires and tests where values would be inputted and assigned a score, scores would be summed, and then individual scores would be compared to a population average to generate percentile rankings or z scores. If it matters, this would not need a database feature- i.e., the primary goal would be generating scores for an individual case based on inputted responses, but the app would not need to save data for individual cases.

With those general ambitions in mind, how would you recommend that I approach learning to code/build iPhone apps? Would it be useful to learn some beginner level C or objective C as a starting point? Should I start right away with Swift? It also looks like there is some sort of app building 'wizard' in Xcode that is more modular and not really code based. Should I start there? I would ultimately like to get to a level of sophistication with this that I'll be able to think about options and capabilities on a more fundamental level, but basically I'm really looking for expert opinion on a best 'jumping off point' for my goals. Recommendations on any specific courses/resources are much appreciated. Any thoughts on a realistic timeline for how long it might take to get up and running in terms of assembling apps like that are appreciated too.

posted by jimmysmits to Computers & Internet (4 answers total) 11 users marked this as a favorite
iOS developers are moving to Swift, so I'd start there. I'd start with the Big Nerd Ranch books, like this one and this one.

Get as hands on as possible by trying out all the examples/exercises, and google everything you don't understand at first.

One thing to note is that most stuff out there is targeted for Swift 2.0, but Apple has just released a new version of the language, Swift 3, which is not fully compatible with 2.0. So expect books and online tutorials to start changing soon.
posted by dis_integration at 9:30 AM on August 30, 2016

Definitely swift. The new version of iOS coming out in a couple of weeks includes a swift tutorial app from scratch aimed at kids too.
posted by tillsbury at 12:45 PM on August 30, 2016

I've enjoyed Team Treehouse videos-- there's hours of content on Swift programming, and I found it helpful to get up to speed with the language. I think they have a free month trial or similar.
posted by Static Vagabond at 12:46 PM on August 30, 2016

Oh, it's worth pointing out that the documentation that Apple provides is excellent too-- this is the Developing iOS Apps in Swift guide and has a lot of other Swift Resources. All of which are free.

Addressing how long it'll take— UI programming is on the more complex side of things but the nice thing is that most apps share similar foundations, so once you get your head around one tutorial, you can start seeing how things could be changed to fit another niche. For example one of the Team Treehouse tutorials include building a 'pick your own adventure' app, picking from set choices to move to the next stage— hopefully you can see the parallels to a questionnaire there.
posted by Static Vagabond at 1:28 PM on August 30, 2016 [1 favorite]

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