My first iPhone app
One of the great things about being a programmer is that you can pick up skills in a variety of technologies. Starting off with ColdFusion I learnt many things about web development and that it is much more easier than application development. Then moving into PHP I start to find even more challenges in the web development path. Of course I prefer web development over application development as I was never any good at it in the first place, as proven in back in the days of uni.
However before the Christmas and New Year holidays, which I of course never had any time off, my bosses decided to throw a bit of a challenge to me. And that challenge was to develop an iPhone application. At first I was quite stumped by the proposal but given the popularity of iPhone applications and the proposed idea behind the app I decided to give the challenge a go.
Just a bit of quick description on what I actually do: I work for a company that provides online event management solutions for events around Australia, Asia, and the Middle East. My role is to maintain and develop one of the existing online application solutions that was built in PHP. The iPhone app that I will be developing over the coming months will be hooking into the PHP web application that I currently look after as well as be a stand alone application. So with the scope laid out I started off learning about iPhone application development.
The days coming up to Christmas last year the office is practically closed until the New Year. However I decided not to take any leave and thus had to be in the office. This gave me the grand opportunity to start learning and I started by signing up for an free developer account on the Apple website. Downloaded the SDK and installed it on my Macbook, then started reading through the online documentation. But with pages upon pages I was getting overwhelmed. So instead I watched Standford University’s iPhone Application Development lectures that are available from iTunes. At that point it was getting much easier to understand about developing for the iPhone. Hungry for more I even decided to purchase a book to help me:
iPhone SDK Application Development: Building Applications for the AppStore is a book I recommend to get if you want to start learning to develop for the iPhone. Along with the lecture videos I managed to pick up the basics in a matter of days. This book also contained some useful examples especially when building lots of parts programatically. Of course Google searching for examples and various forums helped as well as the things I was trying many others have already documented.
So over the next 6 weeks I basically delved into the process of creating my first iPhone app, whilst juggling between PHP work in the office and ColdFusion work that is still a part of the contract work I signed on for. So for those wondering why I haven’t posted anything, this is the reason. Doing so much work related things in my free time that I’ve had nearly no free time at all. But once the end of January arrived, the bosses wanted something available for an event: AIME (Asia-Pacific Incentives & Meetings Expo) 2010. They wanted to showcase this app and the pressure was really on as I now given a tight deadline.
So with many sleepless nights I finally managed to produce something that I am quite proud of: the AIME2010 app.
It is a tab bar based application that has information about AIME; such as an exhibitor list, seminar details and a floorplan. it also contained promo information about my company and our other product solutions. A lot of the ideas I got came from another app that is similar, but has a lot more advanced features. I hope to be able to have my app at that kind of level one day.
I have learned a lot from building this application that I did learn back in uni, but could never understand the concept at the code level. Such things as object oriented programming and MVC (model view controller), but I now have learnt a new programming language: Objective-C. I am actually surprised myself that I managed to produce something like this in a matter of 6 weeks and working straight from scratch and this is only just the beginning. Hopefully in the near future I can start developing apps for the AppStore and for me to make some extra money. One of the things I may look at making is an app that links with MyAnimeList. How many of you would be interested in such a thing?
If you wish to have a look at the app I wrote, it is currently available on the AppStore:
- Web Link: http://itunes.apple.com/au/app/aime-2010/id355782703?mt=8
- iTunes Link: itms://itunes.apple.com/au/app/aime-2010/id355782703?mt=8
At the time of posting this, it’s currently on version 1.0 and there’s a few things I still want to implement which will hopefully come in version 1.1. So download the app if you have an iPhone or iPod Touch as it’s free. Let me know what you think.