Noob hoping for a little guidance

Discussion in 'iOS Programming' started by Michael CM1, Apr 1, 2009.

  1. macrumors 603

    Feb 4, 2008
    I'll start off by saying that I'm not a programmer, although I took a few C classes in college and know some basic HTML code.

    I'd like to make an attempt at learning how to make an iPhone app. From what I can tell, it looks simpler than developing anything usable for a computer (I had never heard of an SDK before) and could be something useful to learn. Basically, is there a book on a certain programming language that I could pick up and maybe learn how to do something extravagant like one of those flashlight apps? The first app I made in C was basically one that added and subtracted. We're talking DELUXE apps here.

    I think I downloaded the 2.0 SDK about a year ago, so I have it somewhere. I also think I deleted it as my 120GB HDD filled up. I'm now at 320GB, so maybe I could do something. I don't expect to make any money off of this, at least not for MANY months if I tried hard, but it seems like something useful for the future.

    Any help would be much appreciated.
  2. macrumors member


    Mar 26, 2009
    I would say, refresh your memory on C then start getting on some objective c books. I prefer to have the physical book over the e-book as better reference but you can save money just going online for e-books and downloading them as PDF's.
  3. macrumors 6502a

    Oct 29, 2006
    A few classes in C is actually more than a lot of developers I've met. Having the background will really help.

    Ooh, I'm not sure I'd make that assumption. I think writing a useful app on the iPhone is on par with making a useful application on the Mac.

    Lots of good info on this subject can be found by searching this forum and looking at stickies.
  4. thread starter macrumors 603

    Feb 4, 2008
    First of all, I said I TOOK a C class. Some say I nailed it with a grade of C, but I think that usually means "eh, average." It was a long time ago and I kinda sucked at it because they didn't do the teaching part well.

    However, when I took a Visual Basic class later (after programming logic) at another school, I aced it. We're talking advanced stuff like a box with a button, but it did more than most of the C stuff I did.

    As far as making "useful" apps, I meant what is useful on an iPhone is a lot less involved than a useful app on a Mac. Honestly, those flashlight apps do serve a small purpose. It's lame to charge for them, but if I could make one of those, I would consider it a success. I wouldn't throw it on the app store, but it would be a step.
  5. macrumors 6502a

    Oct 29, 2006
    Sorry, I thought you said a "few" C classes. Which would imply some serious background in the subject. One class is a little different story. :)

    Yeah, making a flashlight app would not be hard at all.
  6. Moderator


    Staff Member

    Sep 2, 2004
    The Centennial State
    As someone who has admitted they are very new to all this, that's a bold statement to make. Making a flashlight app for the Mac is not anymore involved. In fact, it's easier since you don't have to worry about provisioning profiles, development certificates, etc.
  7. macrumors 68010

    Aug 23, 2008
    You know, they said if you struggle to get an A in intro to CS classes, you don't belong in CS.

    C grade in a CS intro class is pretty much like a F.

    So consider yourself a complete newb and do what a newb suppose to do, pick up an entry level programming book in...ANY of the popular languages, java, C++, C#, C and etc...
  8. thread starter macrumors 603

    Feb 4, 2008
    That was the only semester I was a computer engineering major. It was my first semester of college and I thought I knew what the heck it was all about. IMO, they really did a horrible job of teaching computer smart people the whole process of programming. I mean this class wasn't very intro if you ask me. When I took a programming logic and VB class at a tech school later for credits I needed, I got a B in logic and A in VB. I only got a B in logic because it took so long to get all the flow charts drawn in Word (online class) that I didn't do a few.

    I think I'll go hunt down a book on one of the C flavors unless anybody has a better idea. As I said, I have a small understanding of HTML code, so if any of them are more similar, that would be better. If someone can explain the difference between C++, C#, C and Objective C, I'd love it. Sounds like a way to sell a lot of books.

    As far as my "useful" statement, I'm just saying right now I would figure that an iPhone app would be easier. I could be figuring wrong. If I am, I've got the Leopard SDK as well.
  9. macrumors 68010

    Aug 23, 2008
    Yep, just pick up a book and read and see how it goes. Read and practice, that's the best thing you can do.
  10. macrumors 68030


    Sep 18, 2003
    London, UK
    To be honest, I had no knowledge of C or objective C when I started out in October. If you have a logical brain (which clearly it sounds like the OP does) then a bit of pottering around and working through examples is a quick way to pick it up, or at least it was for me.

    I downloaded a beta version of an iPhone development book ( that I have delved into to get a grounding but that was just to give me structure in the first few weeks. I started with a table view example and then customised it by adding view controllers etc into my own app. Now it has expanded way beyond what I read in the book and I have now found I can learn everything I need from the Apple developer reference pages and the useful PDF guides that they have produced.

    I don't think it's strictly neccessary to read loads of 200 page books on C or Objective C or Cocoa, I think the best thing to do is start copying out simple example programs and then start making them your own. I quickly found that I relied less on copying out of a book and more writing on my own.

    Forget aspirations of getting a $1 million app out in the first week. Realise it will take several months to get a grounding (as it has for me, in addition to my full time job, which is nothing to do with computer programming) but treat it as a hobby on the side. I'm now at the stage where my first app is nearly ready to submit and I feel like I could do anything.
  11. thread starter macrumors 603

    Feb 4, 2008
    As much help as everybody else was, your second paragraph kinda summed it up. I definitely do best when I start tinkering, get something to work, and then see how it worked. That's how I figured out a lot of Web site stuff. That's also why I didn't learn much in some advanced Windows 2000 Server classes I took -- we didn't have a network of computers running it.

    It's definitely going to be a side task for a little fun and knowledge. Maybe in a year or so I could make something worth 99 cents, but I'm not counting on it.

    Also, I think I have a pretty logical brain. I'm good at hooking up stereo equipment no matter how complicated it is. I also got decent at rigging simple networks, although I lost a lot of it from just not using it. I couldn't tell you the first thing about Cisco routers or their OS even though I made an A in every class about 8 years ago. Popping $180 down for an AEBS is much simpler, and I've rigged up a nice would-be media center if my MBP was hooked to a TV.

    I've got vacation coming up next week, so I think I'll see what I can get into.
  12. macrumors member

    Feb 26, 2009
    Well I have little background in C at all (programmed lego robots) and have been programming apps for about a month now. I believe I could easily make something worth 99 cents at the moment.
  13. macrumors 6502a

    Jun 5, 2007
    Wirelessly posted (Mozilla/5.0 (iPod; U; CPU iPhone OS 2_2_1 like Mac OS X; en-us) AppleWebKit/525.18.1 (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/3.1.1 Mobile/5H11 Safari/525.20)

    Check out stanfords iPhone dev videos that are coming soon on iTunes U. I have a fair amount of knowledge about objective c and I think those videos will help me a lot!
  14. thread starter macrumors 603

    Feb 4, 2008
    That's awesome. I wish I could do something freelance with my pagination (Quark Xpress) skills like programmers can do with this. Even if you could make something that nets you $10/month, it's still $10 you didn't have.

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