More and more businesses are creating mobile apps to attract and retain customers. While the idea of making an iPhone app may seem daunting, it doesn’t have to stop you in your tracks. Sure, it’s challenging to develop an app for your business, but it may be easier than you expect.
Getting Started: The Apple Developer Center
While there are a few options available to you when making an iPhone app, you might want to consider trying the Apple Developer Center first. It offers most of what you need to develop your business’s app for free. You can download the iPhone app development environment, called Xcode, for free from the Apple Developer Center. Xcode is where you actually write the lines of code for the app, test the functionality of the app, and debug any problems that arise. It’s an all-in-one tool. Besides the actual software, the Developer Center has a large quantity of text resources that you can use to learn all about the computer programming language used in iPhone development, Swift. Plus there are many articles on the site about the iOS platform and its capabilities.
The iOS Development Program
While the tools to develop an iPhone app and learn the language they are written in are free, you’ll have to pay money at some point if you wish to distribute your app. Even if you plan to offer your app for free, the privilege of listing it on Apple’s App Store costs each developer $99 per year. This is a small price to pay when you consider the instant access you gain to such a huge marketplace. Keep in mind that when you complete this step of the process, you’ll need to provide a credit card to make recurring payments and a bank account to receive any payments from Apple.
Consulting with Freelance Developers
If your budget allows, it might be wise to keep a freelance iPhone developer on retainer as you’re building your app. This can be money well spent, as the person can answer questions and lead you in the right direction. Freelance developers are usually quite experienced and can brainstorm ideas that you wouldn’t have thought of as a beginner. If you encounter any major problems along the way with your code, the freelancer can step in and make the necessary fixes.
Using App Creation Tools
There are many “drag and drop” type of app creation tools on the market. Companies such as AppMakr, BiznessApps, and SwebApps help make the app creation process more streamlined. Small fees are usually involved, but you can have an app made quickly. Keep in mind that these types of tools aren’t capable of producing extremely complicated apps. Doing so requires the nitty-gritty work of creating code. You’ll also need to create graphics and sounds for your app. It is best practice not to use any downloadable images or sounds since they may infringe of intellectual property rights. There are tools to make and edit audio available for free online or with your computer (GarageBand for Mac, or Audacity online). You can purchase image editing and creation software, such as Adobe Photoshop, for an inexpensive monthly fee. Making your own app inexpensively is possible, and lots of businesspeople are doing it. The learning curve is different for everyone, but expect it to take at least a few months if not more. Remember that once you make the decision to create your own app, you become a computer programmer, designer, graphics editor, and audio editor all at once.