About this time last year I had an idea for an iOS app – one that allowed you to browse through the world of coffee. Of course, it isn’t groundbreaking but it’s still something I’m proud of – Affogato, affogato.visioa.com.
Starting out in the world of iPhone, iPad and iPod touch app development can be a somewhat daunting experience for even the most seasoned developer, and it’s easy to get confused along the way.
Before I started working on my app I invested in three iOS development books, and each one proved itself invaluable. They are: Programming in Objective-C 2.0 by Stephen G Kochan, Programming iOS 4 by Matt Neuburg, and Beginning iPhone 4 Development by David Mark. These will provide you with a solid foundation, though nothing compares to putting what you learn into practice. As the old adage goes: “Practice makes perfect.”
Once you feel you have a good, solid understanding of key concepts and can competently create a range of apps, you can start to plan out your app’s functionality, what it will look like, and how the user will interact with it. It’s a good idea, and I cannot stress how important this is, to physically draw the elements of your app on a piece of paper.
When starting out on a new Xcode project you’re provided with a number of templates
Firing up Xcode to actually start developing your project is always satisfying. At this moment your app is nothing, and it has its whole development cycle ahead of it. Remember that at times things will go wrong, but always keep your goal in mind. Savour the moment when you create and open your Xcode project for the first time, and relish the fact that your app, regardless of its functionality, is bug-free and works properly.
Once you’ve finished coding and designed your app – it took me around two months to design and code Affogato – you’ll be faced with the task of distributing your efforts to a team of beta testers. This in itself can be tedious and irritating, but must be done nonetheless.
Personally, I love TestFlight (www.testflightapp.com) as it provides everything you’d ever want from a beta-testing program. There are, of course, other options, such as sending the .ipa to all your testers via email; however, I cannot recommend TestFlight enough. During the development of my app it was a real boon.
It’s a good idea to give your beta testers sufficient time to provide good, insightful feedback, and improve you app accordingly. Obviously, the length of your beta testing is relative to the complexity of your app, but around three weeks should be enough. Once you’ve gathered all the feedback, acted upon it and redistributed numerous beta builds, it’s time for the most stressful part of the development cycle – getting your app approved.
All your hard work will be worth it once you see that your app is available on the App Store
Apple’s App Review Team is notorious for being controversial, and has caused its fair share of uproar among the development community. Handily, it recently posted a document that explains what you can and can’t include within your app. Conform to this and approval shouldn’t be a problem.
After uploading your app to iTunes Connect, you’ll have to wait for it to be reviewed and published to the App Store. This typically takes one week for new apps, and most of the time its status will read: ‘Waiting for Review’. Once your app has been published, you can look back on a job well done and reap the rewards.