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Article Written By:
Johann Dowa

Answers For Aspiring iPhone Developers On Twitter


As some of you probably know I have a twitter account where I generally twitter about iPhone Development stuff.  I’ve also thrown out answers to aspiring iPhone asking questions about iPhone development, and I’ve been asked some myself.  Many of the same questions come up repeatedly, and some can’t really be answerd in 140 chars.  so I’ve decided to create this page. 

Just off the top of the head I’ve listed 10 questions along with my answers.  If there’s a question you feel should be on here, or you think something could be answered better feel free to comment about it or tweet me about it. 

Mini-FAQ for Aspiring iPhone Developers on Twitter

1. How much does it cost to be an iPhone developer?

Absolutely nothing, just go here, register an Apple ID if you don’t have one, sign in and click where it says to download the iPhone SDK.  You will have to pay at least $99 to put the app you create onto an iPhone/iPod  Touch.

2. Can I use the iPhone SDK/Develop in windows?

Simply answer no.  Long answer: There may be ways to develop on a jailbroken iPhone using a Windows PC, but you will need to have a computer running Mac OS X at some point.  Legally that will require a Mac.

3. Why doesn’t Apple let you use Windows to develop for the iPhone, wouldn’t that get them more apps?

Apple seems to be having even more App submissions than they can handle, and since the iPhone was released Mac OS X usage has more than tripled.  I doubt they’re even thinking about it at all.

4. Can I develop for the iPhone in a virtual machine?

Apparently it goes against the OS X Eula to run OS X in a Virtual Machine.  I’ve seen it tried, and honestly it ran like crap. 

5. Can I run my apps on a jailbroken iPhone without paying the $99?

I have really no idea.  How serious could you be about app development if you don’t want to pay the $99.

6. I really can’t pay the $99 or I don’t have an iPhone… how can I still develop?

The iPhone SDK comes with a simulator that you can (theoretically) use to test apps.  Be aware this is not exactly like running an app on the iPhone, and many features can not be tested.  You certainly would want to test an app on an actual iPhone before trying to distribute it anywhere.

7. What language do you need to use for iPhone programming?

Many components will require you to use the Obj-C messaging syntax.  You can use C, C++, and Objective-C with the SDK without having to use anything outside of what Apple provides, and there are commercial and free  products out there allowing you to use Ruby, C#, Lua, Javascript, and probably a dozen other languages.  For games (which is what most people are really asking about) you can design nearly the entire game in C/C++ using virtually no Objective-C at all.

8. What books should I read?

Check out this post here. If you’re an absolute newbie to Mac/iPhone programming C is the place to start, and Programming in Objective-C 2.0 seems to be the consensus choice for absolute newbies.  Beginning iPhone Development is the consensus "best book" at the present time for iPhone development.

9. How long will it take to learn iPhone development?

That’s a bad question, and honestly if you’re asking that question as a newbie iPhone development might not be your thing.  Coming from Windows/Non-Objective-C programming might take a week or two for the basics.   No one can really say how long it will take.

10. I have a great app idea, anyone want to develop it for me?

Sure, if you’re willing to pay or maybe if you’re an internet celebrity like iJustine or Chris Pirillo and will let me plaster my name all over the app.

That’s it, feel free to tweet this page if a buddy starts asking about iPhone development.


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