iOS app development is niche that a lot of app developers find attractive. This is because of the features, flexibility, functionalities and opportunities on the platform. The good news is that you don’t need to be a guru to develop on the iOS platform. You only need to have a basic knowledge of coding to get started. You will also need to master how to use Apple’s Software Development Kits to make iOS apps.
This article will talk about how to develop functional iOS apps. It will also teach you the various Software Development Kits that are available. It will even review how you can use these kits to develop a winning app.
What Is Application Development?
Application development is a process where developers design, build, and implement software applications. How do you develop a software application? You will need to follow the standard app development procedure or methodology. The scope of the app you intend to develop will determine the methodology that you will adopt.
What Are iOS Apps?
iOS apps are software programs developed to run on the Apple operating system. The Apple operating system, known as iOS, is exclusive to Apple products. This includes the iPad, iPhone, Mac, Apple Watch, Apple TV, and iPod.
As an app developer, you should consider developing applications for the iOS platform. This is because a vast number of people make use of one Apple device or the other. A report by Statista shows that over 101.9 million people have an iPhone in the U.S alone. This number does not include the number of people that use other Apple devices.
This stat shows that the iOS app development market is a lucrative and profitable one to venture into. Before you can develop an iOS app, you will need to master how to use iOS Software Development Kits.
What Are iOS Software Development Kits (iOS SDK)?
iOS Software Development Kits are collections of tools. These are created for the sole aim of developing iOS based applications. iOS SDK was released by Apple in 2008. Shortly after, it allowed app developers to build third-party applications on the operating system. Before then, developers were restricted by Apple to build web applications.
Since the launch of iOS SDK, the kits had gained acceptance from a lot of app developers. When iOS SDK was first released, it only allowed developers to build applications for the iPhone. Today, the iOS SDK can be used to build apps for any Apple device, be it Apple Watch, Mac, or Apple TV.
Top 8 iOS Software Development Kits Apps
There is a handful of iOS SDK you can use to develop iOS apps. This section will talk about 8 of the best and widely used iOS SDK.
Xcode is Apple’s official Software Development Kit. With Xcode, you can develop applications for iPhone, iPad, iPod, Apple TV, and Apple Watch. Xcode has a drag and drop feature that simplifies app development in a way that a novice can understand. It also has both Apple LLVM and LLDB debugger. These two features will analyze and save every code that you frequently use. Apple LLVM and LLDB debugger will correct any errors that slipped into your codes. It will also suggest a suitable replacement for it.
Xcode also has an assistant that will display files and codes that it thinks are useful to you. These appear at the side of its primary editor. This will allow you to develop applications faster without having to look for a file.
The development kit is free to download and use. You will need to subscribe for an iOS developer membership before you can submit your developed app to the App Store.
Swift is a simple and easy to read iOS development kit. With Swift, you can code iOS applications for any iOS device, be it Mac, Apple TV or Apple Watch.
Swift is packed with ready-to-use features. These will allow you to add animations to your iOS apps with ease. It also has different features that will aid the development of a smooth and stable iOS app. Like Xcode, Swift has a drag and drop feature that simplifies the development of iOS apps. It also has ready-to-use templates that you can model.
3. App Code
App Code is developed by JetBrains.
4. Code Runner
Code Runner is one of the most used development kits by app developers to develop iOS applications. It supports up to 23 programming languages, some of which are Swift and Objective–C ++. With Code Runner, you can debug your code with ease. It is also simple and easy to use.
With Fabric, you and your team of app developers can collaborate and develop applications together. This development kit also allows you to integrate different services into your iOS app.
Fabric has a fast crash-reporting tool. It can also automate the distribution and deployment of your app to the App Store.
Mockingbird is used at the early stages of app development. The kit allows you to develop a visual and clickable wireframe for your iOS application. It also allows you to create and link several stand-alone pages on your app together.
Mockingbird also allows you to share the wireframe of your app with other application developers.
7. Stack Overflow
Stack Overflow is one of the most active and trusted communities for application developers. The community is filled with a lot of developers. They are ready to provide solutions to software related problems you may encounter. Although Stack Overflow is not a developmental kit, it plays a huge role in the development of iOS apps. This is because it houses a lot of resources that will help you to develop applications.
Applyzer is a free kit that allows you to check the rating of your application on the iTunes store. With Applyzer, you can also check the daily results of an app’s keyword on iTunes.
What Are The Major Challenges Most iOS App Developers Face?
Many developers, especially new ones, find it difficult to devote time to develop and finish an app from scratch. They lose the momentum that drives them to persist with time. New developers are known to hardly commit to developing an app that is not commissioned by a brand or organization.
A lot of new developers do not practice app developing consistently. This gives them a shallow knowledge of how to build applications for iOS. With a shallow knowledge, there are limitations to the type of app they can build.
Before a developer can develop iOS apps, they must have an insight into how to write codes. A developer with basic knowledge on how to write code will be limited in the type of apps they can develop. But, an expert developer who knows how to write code will be able to develop advanced applications.
Having Grand Expectations
A new developer should not have grand expectations when they are working on their first iOS app. This is because their knowledge of coding is limited. When a new developer has grand hopes about their first project, they may end up disappointed and frustrated.
As a new developer, you should start with building a simple a simple iOS app. Don’t be scared of failure. You can learn from your mistakes and failures, pick yourself up and go on to become a pro at iOS app development.
Developing Valuable App
Applications are only relevant to users if they add value. If an app does not add value for its users, they won’t bother installing or keeping it on their devices. Creating value for users is central to app development. A lot of app developers miss this, there is no real or tangible value behind their projects. They are only building apps for the sake of building, this is one of the reasons why a lot of apps fail.
Before a developer builds an iOS app, they must ask and answer this crucial question: “what problem am I trying to solve?” if you cannot point to any, scrap the idea.
Top Resources For iOS App Development
This guide was developed by Apple. It will teach you everything you need to know about how to use Xcode to develop an iOS app. The guide will give you insight on the best way to submit your app to the App Store for review and consideration.
“Start Developing iOS Apps Today” is divided into small chunks. This makes it easy to comprehend, even for a beginner. This guide will equip you with the knowledge you need to build your first iOS app without supervision. It will also give you a better insight into different vital elements required to develop an iOS app. Some of these vital elements are Apple’s Integrated Development Environment (IDE) and the Swift programming language.
To get the best out of this guide, you should be familiar with the Swift programming language. This is because the guide will assume you have a basic knowledge of Swift.
Introducing Swift will teach you about the Swift programming language. Swift is a new programming language used to develop Apple apps. It is simple and easy to understand. It is a like Objective–C, another programming language.
Introducing Swift will teach you how to master Swift and use it to build any iOS app of your choice. It will also help your apps to be faster and more efficient.
This resource is packed with visual teachings from Apple’s WorldWide Developers Conference (WWDC). Apple’s Development Videos include videos that will teach you vital things. This includes how to brand and market your app and how to respond to reviewers’ comments on your app.
It also includes various clips on how to use Apple’s Software development kits. It even includes how to use it to build apps for various Apple devices.
Ray Wenderlich’s Tutorials will give you a better insight on how to develop iOS apps. The tutorial has over 3000 tutorials on app development. When you have subscribed for the course, you will be provided with a tool that you can use to track your progress.
The tutorials are geared towards how to develop games. But, it will also teach you everything you need to develop an iOS app, irrespective of the niche.
Ray Wenderlich’s Tutorials will give you insight into the major programming languages. This includes Swift and Objective–C. You will also have access to an active forum. You can discuss with other app developers in this forum.
This class will teach you how to use Swift and Xcode to build a decent iOS app. It will also teach you how to create an adaptive User Interface (UI) that can work on any iOS devices. But, before you buy the class, you can opt-in for its 10-day trial package.
Stanford offers one of the most resourceful free classes on iOS development. These classes will teach you basic things about app development. This includes how to add adaptive UI and animations to your iOS app.
The classes are only available for iOS 7. But, most of the things you will learn can be applied to other new iOS versions.
Factors To Consider Before Developing An iOS App
Here are some factors you should consider to have a smooth and effective iOS app development.
As an app developer, ideas will come to you. Before you proceed with this idea, you will need to test if it is viable or not. To do so, you have to be familiar with iOS market trends and demands. You also need to research competitors in your niche. When you are researching, your aim is not to make a clone of their apps. Instead, your goal should be to make a better app than your competitors’. This implies that you should pay attention to the weakness of your competitors.
One way to ensure that you know your competitor’s weakness is reading their customer reviews. Look at both negative and positive reviews. The primary goal of conducting market research is to back your idea up with a strong market analysis. This should prove that your idea is viable and worth pursuing.
Your Target Audience
After you have done solid market research, the next step is to identify your target audience. Your app should focus on solving the problems of a specific audience.
After you’ve identified your target audience, you will need to do extensive research on them. You should know who they are, their interests, and how you can help them with your app.
How well you can connect with and serve your target audience will determine how successful your app will be.
The next factor to consider is the development methodologies you will adopt to build your app. Is it a WaterFall method, Agile, or Rapid Application Development (RAD)?
It is advisable to choose the development methodology that will best suit the app you want to develop.
Before you start building an app, you should consider your budget. You should also have an estimate of how much it will cost you to develop your app from scratch.
You will need to allocate your budget to each stage of the app development. Your budget will be determined based on your niche and the functionality of your app.
Your app should be built in a way that will be easy to use. It should also be efficient and load very fast. If your app takes a long time to load and crashes from time to time, chances are your users will uninstall your app and leave negative reviews.
Before you launch your app, you should test it properly and get an expert review on it. One way to ensure your app is properly tested is by having some beta readers test it. You can get beta testers by asking on app developers forums.
Testing your app before launching it will allow you to fix bugs. It will also allow you to optimize it for a better User Experience.
A great app is nothing if it is not used by people and well marketed. So in the course of developing an app, you should have a solid marketing strategy mapped out. This will allow you to reach your potential users.
Before you can map out a solid marketing strategy, you should be familiar with trends and behaviors in your niche. If you are not vast in marketing, do not hesitate to outsource it to an individual or agency. They will do a professional job and deliver outstanding results.