So you want to develop for iOS? Figuring out where to start and how to get started in iOS development can be daunting. If you’ve been thinking of becoming an iOS developer but are unsure where to start, or simply looking for tips to help your learning go smoother, look no further.
Get Integrated with Xcode and Mac Products
Xcode is Apple’s IDE (Integrated Development Environment) and is used to write apps for Mac and iOS devices. Xcode is free of charge with the only requirements that you use a Mac as development hardware and that you hold a valid Apple ID. Your Apple ID gives you access to iOS SDK documentation, technical resources and allows you to deploy your app on an iPhone or iPad for testing. You can use the iOS simulator when developing your product, but owning a device will help you understand the platform with its benefits and faults.
Fundamentals of Code
To be able to write good code and build stable applications, it’s imperative to understand what the code does. Decide which programming language you would like to be an expert in and start getting to know the language thoroughly. iOS development uses two languages, Swift and Objective-C. Objective-C was the main language up to a few years ago and a lot of apps code bases are written in Objective-C. Swift is the new standard language for iOS so I would recommend you focus on learning Swift to the fullest, but make sure you have a basic understanding in Objective-C as well to be able to understand older code bases. Subsequently, get familiar with the basic design patterns used in iOS development, and discover the simple solution to solve problems for commonly occurring design problems.
Get to Know iOS
If you want to do professional iOS development, you need to know iOS, and you need to know it as it was the back of your hand. You need to have deep knowledge about the Foundation Framework which provides you with a base layer of functionality for apps and frameworks. Get familiar with the Human Interface Guidelines to understand what makes a good UI. Use other Apps to recognize what works and what doesn’t. Make sure you know your application’s lifecycle, know what it means to be suspended, running in the background and all other elements of your app.
Practice Makes Almost Perfect
Practice, and practice some more. Start to build an app, then build another one. Improve the first one and repeat the process over and over again. The only way to learn and be really good at building stable and good apps is to practice. Practice is also the best way to familiarize yourself with the iOS development environment and will teach you about app design and maintenance. Be patient, you will make mistakes, but see the mistakes as learnings. It takes time to master programming and years to become a great developer.
Use Proven Tools
There are a ton of frameworks, tools, and helpers available to support you in your iOS development, and new ones are launched daily. However, as a beginner, it’s recommended that you use proven technologies to acquire a deeper understanding of software development. Using proven technologies, such as Xcode, helps you build the solid knowledge base you need to succeed with any new tools and frameworks launched.
“Software development is not easy, and you will be frustrated at times. But it is worth it.”
Read other People’s Code
To become a great iOS developer, you must understand not just your own but other people’s code as well. To understand code, you need to learn how to read code. Browsing GitHub repositories and looking through documentation are success factors for gaining knowledge and understand the code. Have in mind that documentation can sometimes be wrong, but the source code is always right. By learning to read code, you’ll be able to understand what the codes does and how the frameworks operate. You will learn a lot from code written by experienced developers so don’t just skim the code. Dive in deep, learn the ins and outs, and recreate it in your own way.
Join a Community
Finding a community to learn with, and from, is a key to success as an iOS developer, especially when you’re just starting out. You can participate in local iOS meet-ups if you want to meet other developers face to face. The most common way to interact is by joining an online community. Being part of a community means having a support system around you, a group of individuals you can rely on will help you when you’re stuck or when you lose motivation.
It will demand a lot of work to become a great iOS developer. It is not easy, and you will be frustrated at times. But it is worth it. Do not give up and be brave. Here follow three phases you will go through during your learning cycle. First comes the excitement phase, your motivation is on top and all you want is to learn new things and everything is fun. Thereafter the struggling phase happens where your excitement and motivation will drop, you will feel everything is too complicated, and the frustration will be all over. Endure the phase, because nothing worthwhile comes easy and without a struggle. When you overcome the obstacles, you will enter the reward phase. You will start to see the outcome of your efforts, and you will see that it has been worth it, you might even feel like anything is possible. You will have even more motivation then you did when entered the learning cycle. The cycle will reiterate, and you will become a faster and better developer in every iteration.
My best book tips for learning iOS development
The Swift Programming Language
Swift Programming: The Big Nerd Ranch Guide
The Object-Oriented Thought Process
Design Patterns: Elements of Reusable Object-Oriented Software https://www.bookdepository.com/Design-Patterns-Erich-Gamma/9780201633610
iOS Programming: The Big Nerd Ranch Guide