The third and final installment in this series takes our App to market, err, the App Store.
In the first part of this series, we covered the "nuts and bolts" for assembling a workable iPhone app development platform. Now that our desktop is cluttered with a mess of cables, it's time to roll up our sleeves and start cobbling some code together.
First things first, however. There are two things you must accomplish before you can start developing that next great American App. One is free, but for the other one you're going to have to pony up some cash.
1. Become a Registered iPhone Developer. This one's free. Yup, go do it now; then you'll be able to download the free iPhone SDK (software development kit; at this time the latest version is 2.2.1). Please note, as mentioned in the first part of this series, you must also have an Intel-based Mac and Mac OS X 10.5.5 for using this iPhone SDK. Furthermore, you will have to make a choice between being either a single-entity developer (e.g., Dave Prochnow) or a corporate developer (e.g., Microsoft Corporation). If you elect to pursue the corporate route, you will be asked to furnish documentation of incorporation (e.g., a Federal TIN, partnership, LLC, or S corporation documentation).
2. Subscribe to the iPhone Developer Program. This subscription will cost you either $99 (plus sales tax!) for the Standard Program, or $299 for the Enterprise Program. Most folks will easily fit into the Standard Program $99 subscription. After you've made your choice, you'll be whisked to the Apple Store, where a credit card transaction will have you quickly subscribed to the iPhone Developer Program for one year.
Once you have your registration and your subscription, log into the iPhone Dev Center and begin downloading everything in sight: SDK, videos, sample apps, and documentation. Sure, you might already know some of this stuff, but the more knowledgeable you are about the iPhone, the easier it should be to develop your app.
Notice that I said it "should be" easier. That's because, if you lack a solid footing in the Objective-C programming language and Apple's Cocoa development environment, you could experience a very painful learning curve.
Luckily, there are a couple of tricks and tips that can help minimize this learning curve:
1. Don't reinvent the wheel. Find an Apple sample app that closely mimics your app -- either in appearance or function. Then strip out the Apple stuff and integrate your own code into this working sample shell.
2. Learn from others' mistakes. Go grab a couple of apps from the iTunes App Store that are representative of your competition. Use what they did right, and seriously avoid what they did wrong.
3. Mine the superhighway for clever programming tricks. When you're stumped (and you will be... several times or more!), search the Web for a code snippet or fragment that deftly handles a problem similar to yours.
4. Innovation is the mother of all apps. Don't follow the masses (how many crude bodily-function-oriented apps does the market need?) -- rather, start a new trend.single page
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