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Familiarizing Yourself With Xcode

This post is a quick rundown of the Key Elements of Xcode and a quick start guide to a Hello World App. I won’t get into all of the nitty gritty details of what Xcode can do, but I will provide some information on the most useful bits of Xcode.

Assumptions

  • You Have Already Installed Xcode 4.5 . If not Please do so.

Creating A Project

After opening Xcode and creating a new project you will be presented with a number of template options for the new iOS project. As a beginner, the Single View Application will be most useful to you. As a Starting point, a lot of Developers tend to use A single View Controller or a Empty Application instead of the other options.

Select Single View Application and press Next.

The next Screen will be for Project Options. The Product Name is the most important Field here as it will be the project name. Fill in the Organization and Company Identifier. These fields are arbitrary while learning but Xcode still requires them. Make sure the “Use Storyboards” and “Use Automatic Reference Counting” check boxes are checked. Since we’re doing an iPhone App choose iPhone from the devices drop down.

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5 Steps To Beginning App Development

Assumptions:

  1. You’re already familiar with Mac OS X and or iOS, if not I suggest following step 1 below and then familiarizing yourself with the Mac for a bit before continuing on to step 2.
  2. You are familiar with the concept of software and writing code, but haven’t necessarily written any before. If not check out Wikipedia for a quick crash course. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Software & http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/C_(programming_language) should do the trick!

Step 1: Buy a Mac & maybe an iOS device

If you want to develop apps for iOS (iPhone, iPad, etc.) or OS X (Mac) the first thing you will need is a Mac. While it is possible to develop apps for these platforms without a true Mac, I do not recommend going down this route, especially when just getting started.

I recommend getting a used MacBook Pro 2010 or newer off Craigslist or Ebay if you can’t muster up the cash for a new system! I started with a 21.5in iMac personally, but the portability of the laptop allows you to work away from the house and the coffee shop can be your best friend when writing software.

You will need to install the latest version of OS X (currently Mountain Lion) on the system, and I recommend ensuring it has a minimum of 4gb ram installed.

Step 2: Register for the Apple Developer Program

Registering for an Apple developer account is essential to beginning app development for iOS or OS X. It is very simple, just visit https://developer.apple.com and choose either iOS dev center or Mac Dev Center, then click register.

If you already have an iTunes account (Apple ID), you can link your developer account to that and avoid creating and remembering yet another password. There are a few different types of developer accounts and I won’t go into the details of each one, but you basically have two choices here:

  1. Free program – which allows you access to minimal resources and you can only run your apps on a device simulator
  2. Paid program – $100 per year which gives you access to an abundance of resources and the ability to install your apps on device

If you’re really serious about being an App Developer, I recommend biting the bullet and going for the paid program. In my opinion, not being able to see your creation running directly on your iPhone or iPad is a major disadvantage for a number of reasons. First of all, device testing is essential to developing an app that both looks great and performs well. Secondly, seeing an app that you developed running directly on your device is an awesome experience and one that can be the difference between giving up and carrying on (I would not let yourself pass on that experience if your serious about building apps). However, if you really can’t afford the $100 after throwing down some dough for that new Mac you purchased in step 1, then the free program will get you though the beginner process for awhile, but I would still recommend upgrading as soon as you can.

Another important feature of the paid program is the ability to download/view WWDC videos and sample code (World Wide Developer Conference). These are videos created by Apple engineers detailing the tools and APIs (Application Programming Interface) available from Apple. Many of these videos are of a “how to” format and are essential to developing great apps!

Once you have signed up for your developer account you can find the WWDC videos .and other resources here https://developer.apple.com/wwdc/

Step 3: Install Xcode

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