iPhone Developer Tools: A List Every Dev Should Know

by Moms With Apps on July 8, 2012

Jeoud’s recent post on “iPhone Developer Tools: A List Every Dev Should Know” is a resourceful read for anyone jumping into the app business. His synopsis covers financing options, developer communities, technical help, beta testing, keywords, landing pages, video trailers, PR, sales ranking, analytics (OK, you get the idea – it’s covers a broad spectrum of app dev topics!). 

But I guess the best part is his candid and casual writing style. You almost feel like you’re sitting across from him in a French bistro, soaking up the noonday sun with coffee and a bit of lively conversation. I’ll include select portions of the post here, but for a full version of the post, please visit Jeoud’s blog. 

With all the tutorials about iPhone/iPad app creation existing on the web, it seems anyone who’s ready to learn about programming now has the possibility to create an app for iPhone or iPad. With this new business created for Mr Anybody by Apple many iPhone developer tools and side services also appeared, some of which are absolutely awesome, in particular for indie developers.For the most “indie” ones, it’s very hard to keep track of all existing tools because they don’t have friends or colleagues to talk to about this.

My target in this post is to list all the iPad and iPhone developer tools and third party services I use or that I’ve heard about positively.

I have a wonderful idea to create an app but I need to get a few thousand $ to start…. !

Many iPhone developer tools are free… but it doesn’t mean you don’t need a minimum to start in good conditions!

If you really need a few thousand dollars, you should use AppBackr. The idea is simple: you present your project to the AppBackr community and tell them you need for instance $5000. Then people will give you money. In exchange for the risk they take, they’ll be reimbursed out of the revenues of your app with a margin, once your app is released.

I’d like to find a friendly community of developers to talk about my developer issues

If you live in the US, you’ll find many Meetup opportunities. If you’re too lazy to meet people physically, or too far away (which is my case since I’m French and currently live in expatriation in Turkey), then there are several places you can try.

Since I develop family friendly apps, I got the great opportunity to meet Lorraine Akemann’s fantastic community called MomsWithApps. There’s also a forum called ParentsWithApps in which people are absolutely awesome. Topics tackled are : Reviewers, Marketing strategies, app development etc.

I also found a facebook group called iOS Developers: not so much traffic there but some nice guys ready to help you out or interact if needed.

I’d be happy to update this with any other ideas !

I’m blocked during coding by a #&@! error message: where can I find help?

Your first tool, of course is Google ! It’ll generally redirect you to the same places among which:

  • Stackoverflow: I think in my case I must find 80% of my answers there. It’s really a question/answer platform, not the right place to find friends or test your sense of humor.
  • iPhoneDevSDK: a very nice forum, it’s worth registering I think.

How to beta test my app (=get feedback before my app is released)?

  1. Case 1: you already know who will be your beta testers. Then Testflight is a no-brainer for you. This service makes it possible for your testers to install the app “over the air” (which means that they just have to click on a button on their iDevice to install the app, without connecting to any computer), and to follow-up error codes, waypoints and usage. There’s also a place to manage the feedback of the users and interact with them. Good news is that it’s still totally free at the moment.
  2. Case 2: you don’t know where to find beta testers and need them in your exact target audience: In this case ReviewForDev is the service to use (discloser: our service !). It’s a paid service because the beta testers are paid for their feedback. These testers are handpicked among all our reviewers because they are the most reliable. From each of them you’ll receive 3 sections: 1) I like 2) Suggestions/improvements [1200 characters minimum] 3) Conclusion.
    Each and everyreview is validated by ReviewForDev‘s team in order to be sure they comply with the review guidelines and will bring 100% satisfaction to the developer. We recommend using this service for a pre-release version, not for early stage debugging. The related feedback is private, that’s why you won’t see examples publicly. However we can show you examples if you contact us.
  3. Case 3: you don’t know where to find beta testers, but their profiles don’t really matter : in this case you can try thebetafamily. It’s a free service with a nice interface so it’s worth trying. They are partly competitors of ReviewForDev so I won’t comment too much :-) . I think the quality of the feedback is really inconsistent among the reviewers, but it’s pretty normal since there’s no manual validation in their process.

How to choose clever keywords for my app?

Giving visibility to your app via the keywords you’ll choose is essential. Apple updated their ranking algorithm in regards to keywords a few weeks ago, supposedly in relation with their acquisition of Chomp a few months earlier. So you have to learn regularly about the latest changes in order to adapt.

You can also use some tools specifically designed for App Store SEO, such as Appcod.es. However I think this service is very expensive ($15/month). Another solution is to usegoogle adwords (and it’s free): you’ll then be able to find new keyword ideas and check if they are popular/competitive, making the assumption that the analytics will be similar on the App Store and on the internet.

Is there a tool to quickly render all the sizs necessary for the icon of my app?

Yes there is ! You need to have a copy of Photoshop, then use App icon template.

How can I design a cheap landing page for my app ?

You can use App.net. For 1 app, it’s free and it’s also very easy/quick to use. Here’s anexample for my app Tapikeo HD

How can I make a video trailer to present my app?

The best tool I know and systematically use is screenflow: you’ll be able to prepare beautiful screencast (using the iPhone/iPad simulator).. During the film you can record your voice commenting the video, and show user interactions (tap, movements across the screen).

How to send a press release about my iOS App?

Here also there’s an immediate answer: use PRMac : it’s cheap (only $20) they have a massive diffusion and they’ll send your Press Release (PR) to the right people in the app industry (it’s a must, but don’t expect any major impact on your sales :( )

If you want an idea to write yours, here’s a press Release for my first app iVocAudio

You can also try PrWeb : their diffusion list is bigger but it’s way more expensive ($159 for their standard plan).

How to follow-up my sales and rankings day after day?

  • The basic immediate solution is to go to iTunes connect with your Apple Developer Ids but I think most devs will agree that the interface is not looking good and the level of detail is not very interesting. Apple also updated their iTunes connect mobile App but I think it’s not very handy for a day by day approach.
  • The service I use is Appfigures. It’s a paid, reliable service that makes it possible to follow-up on all of your sales. You also receive a daily report with your top five country downloads for each of your apps and related rankings. You can also track/anticipate your monthly payments with a conversion in any currency (for instance I use euros). Note that you’ll have to give your iTunes connect ids, but there’s no risk. In my case, since I have several apps I pay around $6 per month.
    Some other developer colleagues use App Annie which also has a good reputation you can compare both services.

As a side comment: Among these iPhone Developer tools, some services are free others are paid. In any case, I think you should test them at least once to make your own opinion.

How to know if my promo codes have been redeemed ?

So you’ve just sent 50 promo codes by e-mail but you are pretty sure some of the addressees won’t use them. Bad news is that you are most certainly right. Good news is that there’s a wonderful free service from our friend Daniel called Redeem-now. You enter your promo codes with a small description, and if your codes are not used, you’ll receive an e-mail alert to warn you. Of course you can also check the status of each of them individually.

There is more! Here is a link to the full version of this post on Jeoud’s blog.

{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

Rod Liberal July 9, 2012 at 3:46 pm

I think the link to Test Flight should be https://testflightapp.com/
Thanks for the great post.

Moms With Apps July 9, 2012 at 8:31 pm

Thanks Rod, made the change.

Jeoud July 10, 2012 at 4:00 am

Thanks Rod for this comment (and Lorraine for correcting in this post). I’ve also just updated the link in my blog post.

Nahele August 11, 2012 at 1:15 am

Hi, I have been reading your articles on how to develop and market apps for a while now, and I just wanted to thank you for all the great tips! My first app is currently in development, and I’m sure that everything that I have read here will be invaluable to me.

Lee December 9, 2012 at 4:27 pm

Moms With Apps, Excellent article, covers all the most important questions most of us have when thinking about creating a new app. Thanks for the information.

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