My “do it yourself” app development efforts have been slow but sure. After trying some of Kevin McNeish’s tutorials, I waited for his iBooks about learning iOS programming to go live on the iBookstore. His first three titles are now available, so I bought the first one and dove in.
What I learned is that Xcode has an entire library of visual building blocks within the “storyboard”. While following Kevin’s tutorials, it reminded me a little of my old PowerPoint days back in Corporate America. Click and drag. Select the details. Connect the dots.
I did not expect that Xcode, Apple’s development tool for building apps, would have a visual component. I expected it to be lethal (from a non-programmer’s point of view). But here is the result of some hashing around between the book’s prototype and my own iterations. You will notice an index on the left, a visual workspace in the middle, and specific attribute settings on the right. The yellow buttons on the bottom left are objects that you can drag into the workspace (like tables, buttons, and map views) to plan your app.
What Kevin’s first book accomplished is confidence to continue moving forward. If you can get to a point where you can successfully map out the workflow of your app, and see the simulator run, then maybe creating an app from scratch isn’t such an impossibility.
Here is a photograph of my home office, where it’s all going down. I’m finding it difficult to count on my cat for support. She tends to be snoozing most of the time. But I can count on Kevin. After finishing Book 1, I was curious enough about Objective C to take the next step. I want to understand how much of this can be done with the storyboard, versus tweaks in the code. Will I mess up the code? Will there be bugs I cannot troubleshoot?
So I purchased the second book to find out. I’ll keep you posted.