Just like every other year, this New Year’s Eve is a time for reflection and an opportunity to make a few new resolutions for ourselves.
These are often filled with good intentions aimed at making us better people, but sadly the vast majority of us never keep to them beyond the end of January.
However, instead of sticking to the tried and tested resolutions such as vowing to start exercising, being more helpful around the house, or learning a musical instrument, why not expand your horizons with the help of all the technology that surrounds you?
Is your idea any good?
The lure of writing an app for iOS is incredibly hard to resist, but how do you know if your idea will be a hit? If you really want to write an app, you should just go for it. However, before you start, check that your idea hasn’t been done before, or if it has that you can do it much better than the competition. It’s also important you create an app that you yourself would love to use. Steven Spielberg started out by making movies that he would have wanted to go and watch, and look how that turned out for him.
Create your own app
If you’ve read up on programming and feel confident enough to set off on your own, you’ll need to grab a copy of Xcode, Apple’s programming environment for Mac and iOS. You can get the latest version from the App Store. It’s only available for free on a Mac running Lion, so if you haven’t yet upgraded now’s the time to do so.
You could also experiment with Codify (www.twolivesleft.com/Codify) an app designed to let you program games on an iPad, without having to deal with another computer. At £5.49, it might be worth a look.
Use a tool to create it
If you’re a designer, but not a coder, the idea of learning a language to bring your idea to life may feel a little too daunting, especially if you’re thinking of creating a new game. Thankfully, there are tools out there, like the Unreal Engine from Epic Games (www.unreal.com), which are available for others to design with.
As George Norman, creator of the iOS game dream:scape said: “Programming is the one aspect of game design I cannot perform myself, so I immediately responded to the potential to create complex game interactions using relatively simple plug-and-play modules.”
He was inspired by Epic Citadel, Epic Game’s application that showcases the technical capabilities of its Unreal Engine on iOS devices.
Find a company to make it for you
If you’ve got a killer idea for an app, but lack the design and coding skills to bring it to fruition, don’t lose hope. You simply need to find a company that can help turn your dream into reality, and a quick Google search will help you find a selection of businesses.
One such company is MEDL Mobile (www.medlmobile.com). It works a bit like an incubator. You pitch your idea for an app to them and they help you develop your idea and build it for a cut in the proceeds.
Getting it on the App Store
With your app built and ready to go, your next step is to upload it to the App Store. You’ll first need to make sure it adheres to Apple’s published guidelines. We recommend that you read these before you write a single line of code – they are available at developer.apple.com/appstore/guidelines.html. In order to submit anything to Apple you have to be a paid up registered developer, which will set you back $99 (£63). This also gives you access to forums where many people are only too glad to guide you through any coding nightmares you may face.
Next, write a description of your app, take a few screenshots and submit your app. Apple is very rigorous in its approval process. Some apps may be approved in weeks, but be prepared for it to take months.