If you want to design and develop iOS apps, you first need to learn the basics of the Xcode integrated development environment, the Objective-C programming language, the Cocoa application programming interface and UIKit. Our experienced app developers created this guide to help you get started in app development and better understand the Apple environment.
Frameworks are probably the most crucial instruments that allow you to build and manage iOS apps. WIthout frameworks, it would probably take years for the developers to design simple programs that run on Apple devices. Apple offers dozens of ready solutions that allow developers to easily solve such time-consuming tasks as code user interfaces, encrypt confidential data, write networking code, incorporate media players, draw graphical elements, take pics, view websites, save passwords and other information and so on.
Apple frameworks are a large collection of tools and commands that lay a foundation for your future app. If there were no frameworks, developers would reinvent the wheel every time they start a new project. The Cocoa frameworks provide you with so many advantages that even when you face a very complicated problem, which you do not know how to solve, you are most likely to find the ready solution in there. For instance, if you need to automatically fetch a file by its web address, then parse it and put into a data structure that you can easily manage, Cocoa will provide you with a single line of code to perform this. Xcode, Cocoa and Interface Builder are the core set of tools for any iOS developer, but of course, there are many other efficient instruments to explore. So do not waste time - download Xcode right now and start playing around, learning the basics of iOS development.
When people speak of iOS and OS X development, they often refer to it using such terms as Cocoa development or Objective-C programming, and everyone that has any experience in programing perfectly understands that they talk about creating iOS apps.
The Cocoa frameworks are comprised of AppKit (application Kit) and Foundation when you build apps for OS X, and UIKit and Foundation in the case of iOS app development. The Foundation framework consists of several groups of basic classes for data storages, test and strings, dates and times, sortings and filters, application coordination and timing, and more. The objects in the frameworks include NSArray, NSData, NSString, NSMutableString, NSDictionary and more. AppKit consists of more than 125 classes that are used to create interfaces for Mac software with elements like buttons, windows, menus, etc. The object in AppKit includes NSApplication, NSWindows, NSCIImageRep, NSView, NSCollectionViewLayoutAttributes and others.
Creating applications for the iOS mobile operating system, developers use the same classes as for Mac OS X development available in Foundation, but when designing interfaces, they turn to UIKit instead of AppKit. The UIKit objects that you are going to use most often include UIWindow, UIActivityViewController, UIView, UIBarItem, UIButton, UICollectionViewFlowLayout, UIViewController and UIColor. Yes, you are absolutely right - many objects of the UIKit has the same names as the AppKit’s ones but with another prefix instead of NS. You can find the full list of classes and objects of the UIKit at the Apple Developer official website.
To say the truth, there are also objects that you may never use, for example, Airplane or Car - they might be helpful only if you design an app for the Logistics and Transportation industry or an airline. However, you should master the objects that Apple offers as a part of its framework and that you will use very often: NSArray to manage ordered collections of objects; UITableViewCell to define the attributes and behavior of the cells you create; UIViewController to manage the views of your app; UILabel to display the lines of text or describe the purpose of various controls; UIImageView to display images and many more.
Moreover, Apple offers many useful and exciting classes that you can take advantage of when building apps for iOS and OS X - they mostly descend from other classes, adding more features and functionality with every new link in the chain of inheritance. Just look at the UIButton class inheritance to see what we mean:
NSObject >> UIResponder >> UIView >> UIControl >> UIButton
Their root class in NSObject, and each following object inherits from the preceding one.
If you are not experienced in Apple app development, let us explain to you what the NS prefix means. It derives from the object-oriented, multitasking operating system developed by NeXT Computer, which was bought by Apple in 1997 and laid the foundation for the Mac OS X system. Keep in mind that the NS prefix does not always indicate objects, for instance, NSRectMake() is a function that is used to return an NSRect struct, while NSInteger is a primitive data type. NS is not the only prefix used in frameworks, for example, different frameworks may contain functions and object starting with a CF prefix (Core Foundation), UI prefix (User Interface used in the Apple’s UIKit), CG prefix (Core Graphics), MK prefix (MapKit - the iOS mapping framework) and much more.
If all the elaborate web development terminology is too much for you, Magora app developers are ready to help - we speak plain English and have a broad expertise in guiding businesses towards digital success. Contact us for a free IT consulting, project cost estimation or audit of your existing software solutions.