So you’re at a hackathon and just came up with an idea for an awesome mobile app. You want to start, but you are not quite sure where to begin. Your options are to use a tool like PhoneGap, or create a native application. This is definitely a personal choice, but I am a proponent for native over hybrid (PhoneGap, Titanium, etc). You will always have access to the underlying mobile platform and can create the best user experience without any lag. I personally feel that’s worth it.
But you don’t know Objective-C. Not a problem! This guide will quickly walk you through making your first iPhone app and point you to awesome resources to help you on your hacking journey in less than an hour.
Get Tools (35 mins)
Let’s begin with what you need.
- A Mac. This can be any Mac (as long as it can run OS X 10.7 and up). I know you must be thinking that Macs are expensive and you are right, but you don’t need a fancy laptop. You can also look into purchasing the more affordable Mac Minis and connecting it with any monitor you might have lying around your home.
- Apple Developer Account. Getting an account is absolutely free and will give you the ability to learn and write apps for the iPhone simulator. You will also get the ability to download Xcode (we will cover what this is later) and get access to documentation and developer videos.To put your apps on your phone you will have to enroll in the iOS developer program which costs $99/yr. You might prefer to get something running in an emulator first and then register later.
- Download/install Xcode. To start transforming your awesome ideas into great iPhone apps, you will need Xcode. This is Apple’s IDE or integrated development environment. All the app building happens in this program. Xcode contains:
- GUI Editor – Create the visual appearance of your app
- Source Code Editor – This is where all the magic happens
- Apple’s LLVM Compiler – This turns that raw code into a runnable app
- iPhone/iPad similar to test your code without the actual device
Setting Up and Creating Your First App (5 Min)
I created a quick screencast to show the initial setup of an app.
Making an App with the SendGrid SDK (15 Min)
Now here’s another screencast where I show how to include the SendGrid iOS SDK in your application.
Additional Resources and Tools
Okay, so now you have your basic app running and connected to the SendGrid SDK. It’s time to take the leap and explore more:
- Great screencasts walking you through quick IOS Development
- UI Components (opensource and commercial) for iOS
- Great Objective-C Blog
- Abundance of tutorials
You’re only one hour into this hackathon. You have the rest of the time to perfect your app.