Getting started with iOS development: thoughts and links

So, you’re ready to become the next overnight iOS success.  You’ve quit your day job, set up your office in the guest bedroom and are the proud owner of each iOS device produced since the iPhone 1.0. (or something like that).  You have a macintosh- the latest and most powerful of course, and you already have clients banging at the front door of your house/corporate HQ.  You’re all set with one minor exception- you’ve never made, nor have any clue how to make an iOS app.

So, there was that intro to HTML class that you took, back when Napster was king and social networking still involved physical movement.  You were the proud creator of the splashiest “e-bling” that roughly 6 billion animated gifs could produce.  And you haven’t given a second thought to programming since then…

Well, you’re in luck!  This is the first stop on your path to programming success.  Follow my simple steps, send me heaps of cash, and I’ll personally guarantee that you are the next iOS rockstar!  (sort of)

But really, what does it take to make those “simple” one-touch apps and compelling games?  What do I need to know and how hard will it be?  And perhaps most important of all: WHERE DO I START!?!

Well hold on there, pilgrim, let’s lick* these bandits one at a time.  *(lick in the most manly fighting sense of the word…) We’ll start of with the first question and soon, you’ll be ready to lick the iOS bandits blindfolded in a snowstorm. (it helps if the bandits are the ones blindfolded, but I’ll take what I can get…)

What you need:

Mark Hammonds has taken the time to write up a great intro to iOS development over at mobiletuts.  I’ve summarized (copied) his list of requirements for you here, and I highly recommend taking the time to read the full article.

  • An Intel-based Mac running Mac OS X Snow Leopard version 10.6.2 or later.

    This is the latest requirement for iPhone SDK 3.2 development. Older versions of the SDK were compatible with OS X, 10.5, but these are no longer accessible on the Apple web site.

  • An Apple Developer account.

    This is required to download the iPhone SDK 3.2, the Xcode IDE, and the iPhone Simulator. You will need to register for an Apple Developer account here. Registration is free and will allow you to run applications in the iPhone simulator. A free account is all that is needed for this tutorial, but to actually run your apps on a device or publish through the iTunes App Store you will need to pay to enroll in the iPhone Developer Program.

  • Xcode and the iPhone SDK 3.2.

After logging into your developer account, download and install Xcode 3.2.2 and iPhone SDK 3.2 (or the latest available versions).

Keep in mind that your path to iOS enlightenment will be littered with bad advice, crummy resources and poor examples.  For that reason, it’s smart to keep GOOD resources like mobiletuts in your development bookmarks folder.  “What development bookmarks folder?” you ask.  Well, you had better make that your next list of needs.

  • Make a folder for bookmarking iOS development resources and links as you come across them

And while you’re in organizing mode, it might not be a bad idea to set up an iOS directory to keep your projects, sample code, graphics and resources, etc..

  • Set up a directory on your harddrive to keep your iOS projects, sample code, resources, etc…

And finally, get connected.  the world is full of people ready to offer help and advice and they all seem to be connected to the Internet.  My suggestion: set up a list in Twitter (Twitter account needed) with other iOS developers.  I spend a good amount of time glancing at what other iOS developers are saying, a practice which keeps me up-to-date and in touch.  People share problems, solutions, ideas, thoughts, events and more through the Twitter stream, so what are you waiting for?  And by the way, you can find me on Twitter @beninati.  And since I’m just that kind of guy, you can use my “iphone-dev” list to get started finding other good devs out there.

That’s all for now, but I’ll be back with some more links, tips, ramblings, etc…

If you liked what you saw here, don’t forget to tell others, leave a comment, or lick some iOS bandits!

If you have any questions, feel free to leave a comment, hit me up on Twitter or send an email to

One Response to Getting started with iOS development: thoughts and links

Leave a Response