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A New Platform… 18 April 2009

Posted by Oliver Mason in Apple, iphone, programming.


After playing with my latest gadget (an iPhone) and looking at what’s on offer at the App store I was beginning to wonder whether I could start a side-line as an iPhone-developer myself. There are some things I’d like to do with it for which there don’t seem to be apps readily available, and I also have some ideas for useful tools which other people might even be prepared to shell out a few pennies for. Not that I think they’ll be bestsellers, but with large numbers of people looking at low-cost software there must be some chance for a few sales world-wide.

So off starts The iPhone Project. Having read some people’s stories about developing software on it, it doesn’t seem to bad. And, I don’t have to sell lots of stuff as I don’t depend on the income. Some smallish contribution to the cost of the monthly contract would be useful…

However, you need to invest first: the iPhone SDK only runs on Leopard, while I’m still on Tiger. And then there’s $99 per annum to pay to Apple. But I think I’ll pass on any reference books, as there seems to be quite a lot of on-line material available. And Objective-C doesn’t look too scary either.

First step: ordering the OS upgrade.

I spent the best part of a day trying to make a full backup image of my drive in case something goes wrong–external USB drives are solo slow if you’re shifting dozens of gigabytes around. The ordered Leopard DVD arrives at 15:30, but I still need until about 23:00 before my computer is ready.

If all goes well, the upgrade will have finished just before I actually fall asleep, so getting my iPhone to say “hello world” has to wait for another day.

It did, though it took until 1:00 in the morning. And the next day is spent playing with the iPhone SDK. I do get the obligatory Hello World running, but my attempt at app #1’s interface fails miserably. I can’t tell the UISearchBar not to capitalise and auto-correct the input, and the output (richly formatted text) was meant to be displayed by a UIWebView which remains conspicuously blank.

More frustration, as I cannot for some reason subscribe to the iPhone Developer Programme. The Website does seem to have some problems with my FF browser, and Safari no longer works due to the upgrade to Leopard. I try to download Safari from the Apple Website, but that doesn’t work either. Finally I use my iPhone(!) to enroll, for a cost of about £60 p/a. That should be the main investment sorted, apart from my time.

However, I do begin to wonder whether a textbook on iPhone development would not be a good idea after all… And, just after having written the previous sentence I decide that £20 for a book with consistent 5-star-reviews would probably worth the time I save by tracking down all the info on the web. Amazon, here I come!

So, after three days there is a certain amount of frustration, but also some optimism. And I keep getting more ideas about what kind of apps I might want to write!

Current balance: -£139.40

to be continued…



1. A New Platform… | StereoPropaganda - 18 April 2009

[…] Excerpt from: A New Platform… […]

2. A New Platform… - 19 April 2009

[…] Original post by ojmason […]

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