At our development company, we are often approached by clients who ask us whether it is possible to build an iOS application without any experience in coding. They do not know where to start, what programming languages to learn and what tools to use. We have decided to make lives easier for everyone entering the world of app design, introducing this guide on how to get started in iOS development.

Where to Start?

Learning the basic of iOS development has two major part: learning to code and learning Apple’s development environment. If you are an absolute newbie in the computer programming, you need to start with learning a programming language, Objective-C or Swift in the case of iPhone and iPad app creation. If you have some knowledge of programming languages, then you should get familiar with iOS development environment, tools, techniques and Apple Developer Guidelines. As you may know, Apple is famous for their harsh approval process, so it is better to know what you can do before proceeding to actual development.

Learning the Basics of Apple App Development

To say the truth, it is impossible to describe the entire development process in a single article if you do not want it to grow to the size of encyclopaedia, and we do not want this to happen. Instead, we will introduce you to the very basics of the iOS app design, help you with getting to know the coding environment, set you up with the Apple guidelines and supply you with a few valuable links that will help you learn other helpful tools and technologies for iPhone development.

iOS Development Tools

The main tool for iOS and Mac application development is the Xcode integrated development environment. It is available for free download on Apple’s official website. Xcode is a suit of development tools with a graphical interface that developers use to write apps. It has everything you may need to build an application for any version of iOS with Apple’s latest programming language called Swift. And keep in mind that Xcode is compatible only with Mac computers running OS X, so make sure you have one before you start.

iOS App Development Tutorials

Despite Apple trying to popularise Swift, you still can choose between a number of programming languages including Objective-C, of course. We have prepared a list of useful tutorials, resource, videos, articles and guide that may help you choose the programming language and get an understanding of the essential aspects of iOS application development:

  • Start Developing iOS Apps (Swift): First of all, Apple’s official starting tutorial. The tutorial explains to you how to build a simple application within Xcode, leading you through all of the steps from setting up the environment to creating the app’s architecture, implementing various features and submitting it to the App Store.
  • Apple Developer Videos: Here you can watch videos showing off new Apple devices, but also videos from The Apple Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC), from which you can learn a lot of valuable things about iOS development. Apart from teaching you how to use the main toolset for Apple development, it will give you an insight into different industry tricks.
  • Introduction to Swift: Swift, Apple’s latest programming language can be used for coding apps for macOS, iOS, watchOS and tvOS. It is supposed to be an easier, intuitive version of Objective-C, so if you are an absolute beginner, you can try starting with Swift. On the other hand, it is similar to Objective-C, which is a classical language, so it is up to you to decide which one to choose.
  • The iOS 10 SDK and new APIs: Apple provides developers with tonnes of APIs to access Messages, Siri, Phone, Maps, Touch ID and more. It is a must to learn about APIs’ capabilities if you want to create feature-rich, efficient applications that use the full spectre of iOS technologies.  
  • Ray Wenderlich's iPhone Tutorials: Ray Wenderlich’s tutorials are a great source of information for those of you who want to create games. However, his tutorials are not limited to game development, so you will be able to find something useful about Objective-C, Swift and other instruments even if your project is a productivity app.
  • The Try iOS Development Tutorial by Code School: This guide is one of Code School’s free classes and an excellent introduction to iOS programming.
  • Stanford’s Developing iOS 7 Apps for iPhone and iPad Course: Luckily for you, Stanford has released a free course on iPhone and iPad app creation. Although it speaks of iOS 7, you should not worry, because the later version of the Apple’s mobile operating system inherits the most important features of the predecessor. Anyway, you will have to settle for the iOS 7 course until Stanford decides to update the classes to keep up with the times.

Now that you have read these tutorials and guides, you know how to set up your basic iOS development toolset and understand what is what in the iOS environment.

App Store Review Guidelines

It is common knowledge that Apple has very strict review guidelines, which many apps fail to meet. Apple sets incredibly high standards for applications they publish in their App Store, which you can find here, and you have to stick to them if you want your app to be available to the large audience of Apple’s smartphone and tablet users. If you do not take the time to study the guidelines, chance is that you will invest time and efforts into an app that will never see the light of day.

Why Apps Get Rejected

Without a doubt, you develop an app with a purpose - to send it to the App Store to make it available for download for millions of people, but before it happens Apple’s experts will review it, examining its contents, designs (keep on reading and you will find more on that topic) and functionality. So do not waste time - go to Apple’s Review Guidelines and carefully read them. Another helpful article deals with common reasons why applications get rejected - you can find it here. The main reasons are bugs, broken links, incorrect information and ads. One more reason why apps can be rejected is explicit or political content.  
Keep in mind that many iOS APIs have their review guidelines. So if you are going to integrate the app with Siri or Touch ID, do not forget to check out their review guidelines too. You can find them here:

Ensure that the app meets every detail described in the guidelines, because Apple pays attention even to the tiniest nuances. If they notice something that deviates from their standards, there is almost 100% risk that they will not approve your application.

iOS Design

Not only does Apple have a strict approval process, but also design and interface guidelines that set a standard for apps’ visual elements. Apple cares a lot about the iOS apps, which does not necessarily mean good designs,  but rather encourages developers to use particular user interface elements. If you do not get what it means, take a look at iOS Human Interface Guidelines. It will give you an idea of what they want the apps and their icons to look and feel like.

iPhone Design Tips

If you do not have time to read the entire massive guidelines, you can check out the shorter version, a list of UI Design Do’s and Don’ts. But do not worry, Apple will tell you how to create a visually appealing application too. These Apple guidelines will give you a few tips on how to make your designs beautiful. And do not forget that you have the entire internet at your hand, there are plenty of design tutorials and tools.

Build Your App

To put it in a nutshell, everything you need to know about iOS app development is in the Xcode. Once you have got to know your way around the Apple’s development environment, you can be confident that you are ready to build an app of your own. Of course, you will face some aspect that you will have to find the answers to along the way, but the sources we have mentioned above will help you get started. We wish you good luck and a happy journey to the world of software development.

Not Ready to Learn iOS Development?

If you feel that you do not have time to learn iOS app development, we can help - our mobile application design team has a broad experience in creation first-class iPhone and iPad apps integrated with all the latest technologies. Do not hesitate to contact us - we will help you choose the most efficient digital solution that will bring your business to the next level.

 

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