Subscribe to Apple Developer Program

The first step you will have to take is to register an Apple Developer account, go to Mac App Store, download the latest version of the Xcode and install it on your Mac computer. The Apple Developer membership gives you access to many official tools, services and resources for iOS development, enables you to test your programs on your personal Apple devices and provides you with an opportunity to publish your apps to the App Store. The membership costs $99 per year, but you can wait until you have enough programming skills to register the account. Now, let’s talk about the tools Apple offers to iOS developers.
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XCODE
Xcode is an integrated development environment (IDE) that contains development tools to create apps for OS X and iOS. It is not a simple code editor - it is packed with a great amount of advanced tools such as autocomplete, static analysis that automatically finds bugs and memory issues in your program before you compile the code, bug fixing and performance enhancement. Xcode substitutes a whole bunch of app development tools for iOS: you do not need to use code editors to write code and then switch to command line instruments to compile it. Xcode is a universal tool for app development that incorporates all important functionality.
2
Interface Builder
To create well balanced interface design is a complicated task, which require a professional knowledge and good visualization skills. Interface Builder is an app that enables you to create create interfaces visually. All necessary design elements are ready for use - buttons, navigation bars, sliders, icons, etc. - all you have to do is drag them onto your project and the customise its size, colour and style. Moreover, Interface Builder can be used to manage interactions within elements, in other words, you can use it to set an action that happens when a user interact with a certain object, and also define object bindings and configure controllers.
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Why You Need To Learn The UIKit Code
Despite a rich functionality of Interface Builder, developers who work on bespoke interface elements prefer to use other programs because building custom objects in iNterface Builder requires a lot of coding. That is why our iOS experts advise you to learn how to use Interface Builder, but at the same time get familiar with the UIKit code that is generated by it. Why learn how to code interfaces from scratch if you have such an advances app that will do everything for you? You need to fully understand all the processes behind the elements and their interaction to be able to create outstanding digital products.

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Frameworks for iOS App Development

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.

The Advantages Of Cocoa

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.

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Getting Started With Cocoa

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.

Cocoa is a UI framework for building software for such devices as iPhone, iPad, Mac and others. The frameworks are primarily written in Objective-C, and this programming language is mostly used by programmers to work with the Cocoa when building apps for iOS and Macs. Some time ago Cocoa frameworks also supported Java, but now it is not used any longer to access the frameworks. Of course, there are many different ways to access the APIs: through bindings for Perl, C#, Python, Ruby, but they are not officially supported by Apple.

AppKit Classes And Objects

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.

What Does The NS Prefix Mean?

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.

Get in Touch and Let Professionals Do the Job

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.

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