Friday, July 31, 2015

The Magicians Who Code Apps

"Innovation distinguishes between a leader and a follower"

-Steve Jobs

Welcome to The Golden Sense! Technology, iPhones, and apps have been the hot topic for many years now. Almost every industry has been trying desperately to keep current with today's ever changing technology. Due to this need to be user friendly and "cool", businesses are paying hefty prices to get their own iPhone apps developed. In addition, companies are willing to pay huge salaries to anyone who has a basic understanding of how these things work.

As the comedian Amy Schumer puts it, "companies have a boner for any millennial who knows how to use a computer."

There are some horror stories about companies spending hundreds of thousands of dollars or even millions on developing iPhone applications. Apparently, some ignorant business owners and companies are getting taken to the cleaners by blindly outsourcing app development and not managing the process correctly. These things happen to people who lack the understanding of how this technology works.

Learning the basics of coding and app development can go a long way in saving your business money. If you are not a business owner, just having this knowledge can increase your personal skill set and potentially increase your salary substantially. Fortunately, learning the basics of coding and app development isn't as intimidating or hard as you may think. There are three easy "do it yourself steps" you can follow to help teach yourself the mysteries of app development.

First you need a Mac Book computer (sorry PC only users). Go to the Apple Store and search for Xcode. The most recent version as of 2015 is Xcode 7. You can download this program for free and you don't even need a developer account! Yes, the program is actually free. Xcode 7 includes everything you need to create amazing apps for iPhone, iPad, Mac, and Apple Watch. The Swift programming language has been updated and is now faster than ever, with great features that make your code even easier to read and write. Xcode’s user interface testing feature can even record your app in action and generate tests for you. Keep in mind the download may take a while because it's approximately one gigabyte in size.

Once you have Xcode downloaded, just open up the program and start clicking around to get used to the functionality and controls. Go to the internet to read a few basic articles about Xcode. Don't spend too much time trying to learn the complexities. To start a project you need to go to "file" and "start project". Give it a name and go through all the necessary prompts.  The great thing about Xcode is there are templates you can use to design apps. It's kind of like Microsoft excel. As you know, Microsoft provides templates for spreadsheets, income statement, etc. Xcode provides similar templates for getting started with app development.

An important takeaway in regards to coding and development is to learn about building "classes" and instructing "classes" to communicate with one another. A class describes the behavior and properties common to any particular type of object. An app is built as a large ecosystem of interconnected objects that communicate with each other to solve specific problems. It's like building an individual piece of a puzzle and instructing it to communicate with other pieces of a puzzle to create the big picture.

The third thing is you need to is go on YouTube. Everything is on YouTube! Search for Xcode app development videos. Work alongside the video and slowly build a basic app. These videos are instructional and equivalent to hand holding. They will help you to learn the basics of coding and development. After you've completed your first app you will feel really good about yourself. Remember, repetition is important! The more you do it the better you will get. If you are comfortable enough to start creating things on your own, make sure you write a storyboard for every app you plan to develop. This will help you stay on track during the development phase.

Of course, you won’t be an expert just because you watched some videos and clicked around. However, you will be knowledgeable on the subject. Building apps and coding are not done by magicians; it is done by normal human beings. There is no need to be intimidated or spend outrageous amounts of money to develop an app. You can build the basics and get your project off and running by yourself. Entrepreneurship is about's not just about finding investors to pay for everything you need.

This whole process isn't as scary as you think. You just need to get started!


Over and Out,


T. Norman