Advice for a beginner?

Discussion in 'iOS Programming' started by FlorenceArt, Jul 29, 2012.

  1. FlorenceArt macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jul 29, 2012
    Location:
    Montreuil, near Paris, France
    #1
    Hello All,

    I would like to make an iPad app to promote my visual art works and sell some of them. I am not a developer, I only know some HTML and CSS. My website uses PHP but I didn't do the coding, it's managed by a CMS called SPIP.

    After looking at a few forums and tutorials, it's obvious that this project will take several months, since I need to learn practically everything. I'm willing to invest the time, but first I would like to outline my project to you and get some feedback on how complex the coding part might be. I don't want to find out after reading a pile of books and tearing off my hair for months, that this is just too much for me after all. I don't think that what I want to do is very complicated (but what do I know?), but on the other hand I am a perfectionist and I will want to do it right.

    The app I have in mind would have two main parts: one to present myself and my works with text, images and videos, plus a dynamic part integrating the rss feed from my site. So far, I don't think that's very complicated.

    The second part is the one I'm worried about, it's the media management part. The idea is to allow users to download media files, some for free and some through in-app purchases. The files will be videos, books (probably in PDF format) and images. The user should be able to view the files of course, but also to delete them (videos take up precious storage space), recover purchased files previously deleted, and open files in other apps, for instance a PDF book in iBooks, or copy an image to their photo album.

    So, my question is: is it realistic to hope that I can manage to develop such an app after a few weeks/months of learning? Bearing in mind that I am not a developer, and that I will be doing this in my spare time.

    Plus of course any advice on where to start learning would be welcome. :)

    Thanks!
    Florence
     
  2. Tander macrumors 6502a

    Tander

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    Oct 21, 2011
    Location:
    Johannesburg, South Africa
    #2
    My suggestion is to learn some C first - get the basics down.

    Then, move onto Sanford's online courses. This is where I am at the moment.

    Realistically, I'd be surprised if you are able to pull off the app project in 6 months. I think you're looking at closer to a year before you're done. But we all learn at different speeds, so this may be completely off.
     
  3. FlorenceArt thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Jul 29, 2012
    Location:
    Montreuil, near Paris, France
    #3
    Wow, a year? That's a lot of time to invest... I wonder if the time would be reduced if I buy a development platform such as livecode, investing money instead of time. But then I'd have to learn objective C AND their proprietary language, so I'm not sure it would really save me time.

    Thanks for your advice! I have a few books in my Amazon wish list already, I think I might start with Objective-C Programming: The Big Nerd Ranch Guide.
     
  4. Tander macrumors 6502a

    Tander

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    #4
    Excellent book. :cool:

    Look, it may be only a few months for you - like I say, we all learn at different paces.
     
  5. FlorenceArt thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Montreuil, near Paris, France
    #5
    Well, it's better not to start with unreasonable expectations anyway. But maybe I can try doing it in stages, first making a basic app that will be built like a web site, then expanding it to add more advanced functionalities. That way I might get a functioning app more quickly, which would be good for my motivation. :D

    Anyway, thanks for the encouragement!
     
  6. ArtOfWarfare macrumors 604

    ArtOfWarfare

    Joined:
    Nov 26, 2007
    #6
    Two steps:
    - Learn C. Google Learn C The Hard Way (it's a free ebook) and work your way through the first 20 exercises or so. There are many more, but they're more advanced than you need for this project.
    - Watch Stanford's free iOS development lectures. They're on iTunes U.

    The first step wont take more than 2 months. The second won't take more than 4. And your project shouldn't take more than 3.

    So I expect that in 6 months you'll know what you need to know and that in 9 you'll have your app on the store.
     
  7. FlorenceArt thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Montreuil, near Paris, France
    #7
    Thanks! So I guess at least it's doable, that's a relief. I already started reading the Big Nerd Ranch book, but I will also look at Learn C the Hard Way. I also bought an app for my iPad that can run (some) C++ code, so I can study on the train. :p
     
  8. jnoxx macrumors 65816

    jnoxx

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    Location:
    Aartselaar // Antwerp // Belgium
    #8
    Hey Florence,

    I recently launched an app with art for an artist known in Germany.
    He wanted it as minimal as possible, it all depends on the artist you are, the thing I made is veeeery minimal, so it doesn't take alot of coding, but if you want fancy transitions, very cool animations, those are the things that take time.
    For the basics, you need alot of research like mentioned above, ArtofWarface always has good advice for that. And if you're in the stage you can create the basics, then you should start looking for renewing ways to make your app (my opinion), if you have more questions, please do ask.
     
  9. FlorenceArt thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Montreuil, near Paris, France
    #9
    Hi!

    I don't want a fancy interface, I'm all for minimalism. What worries me is the media management part, I don't know how complicated it is, especially with the in-app purchase aspects.

    I'm not sure what you mean by renewing ways to make my app?
     
  10. firewood macrumors 604

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    Jul 29, 2003
    Location:
    Silicon Valley
    #10
    Turn your question around

    Consider what advice you would give a software developer who wanted to learn the visual arts skills necessary to do a project like you envision.

    Would you recommend art classes? A lot of practice time in the studio? Some tutoring and mentoring? Probably not just reading some books for a few weeks...
     
  11. ArtOfWarfare macrumors 604

    ArtOfWarfare

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    Nov 26, 2007
    #11
    I've never done this kind of thing before, but I believe the way this would work is the user would initiate the in-app purchase. Apple would authenticate the user, collect the money, and pass on 70% of the money to you. They'd also send back a "receipt" that you can check to verify that the transaction was successful. After that, you'd have to signal to your own server, which hosts the pictures, that it's time to download them.

    So you'd need more than just an iOS app. You'd also need to have a server somewhere storing the pictures and only giving them to people with valid receipts.

    I'm not quite sure how the server end of that works. Whenever I've done IAP, I've always had the content included with the original app download and just had it hidden until the user pays for it.

    Depending on how many pictures you're planning on selling, that might work out just fine.
     
  12. FlorenceArt thread starter macrumors newbie

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    #12
    Ouch. I thought (hoped) that Apple hosted the in-app purchase files. They do host the apps, right? I'm not planning on running a content server, that's way beyond my means. And the media I would be selling are videos mostly, so your solution wouldn't work for me. I guess I need to investigate this content issue more seriously, it could ruin my beautiful plan.
     
  13. ArtOfWarfare, Jul 29, 2012
    Last edited: Jul 29, 2012

    ArtOfWarfare macrumors 604

    ArtOfWarfare

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    Nov 26, 2007
    #13
    Apple hosts the apps. I do not believe they host in-app purchase files.

    Actually... Beginning with iOS 6, apple will also host IAP files. I don't think that's covered by NDA given I just found Apple's page mentioning that without logging into my account.

    Also, people tend to upgrade to new iOS versions pretty quickly, so I wouldn't worry about making your app only work with the newest iOS version. (Unlike with Android... I'm currently working at a company making an Android app... We can't decide which Android version to target... There's a lot of useful features in 3.0 (which is over a year old) but most people are still running 2.X which is over two years old.)
     
  14. jnoxx macrumors 65816

    jnoxx

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    Aartselaar // Antwerp // Belgium
    #14
    SO to start off, minimalism interfaces are very easy to make, but it depends on the things you want in your content? do you want an image slideshow like the photo's app? Do you want views to switch around or stay all in the same screen etc.

    Media management, depends what you mean, do you already have all the art ready you want in the app? or do you want to push new content when you have it ready? About the In-App purchases.. thing is, like Art explained to you decently. So.. this brings me back to my previous question, do you have the art ready? in the app I mentioned before, the content is already in the app because my client didn't want to rent a server to have the in app purchase packages to be installed for, or have the customer wait when he just purchased a package, he just wants to get right to it. So therefore, there are 2 options.
    1: Ship all the content with the app, and just let the user click it once he payed (it's a bit of a bugger at first to implement the IAP purchase system from Apple).
    2: Let the user buy it, and validate the receipt you get from Apple's server (all via API calls), and then let the user download it via a server, but since you don't want that.. that's gonna be bad.
    Allthough, and I might be lying here, I read something about Apple starting to host the In App Purchase thing in iOS6 (but seriously, I could be lying, check online stuffies).

    And to quote again: "And the media I would be selling are videos mostly, so your solution wouldn't work for me" I don't understand your statement..
    The solution is the same, once the user pays, it should be able to click the content, whether it should download from a server first or unlocks it from within the app, so, why wouldn't it work for you?

    Back to my own quote of how to renew your interface.
    Apps mostly are, some buttons, press it, use the standard navigation animation to go to the next view, but some artists want everything bouncing, jumping around, folding, page animations, do you understand what i'm saying? Nothing standard, no standard buttons etc.
    I can go on and on, but you don't have a clue yet REALLY of what you want, so more specific questions would be cool :)
     
  15. FlorenceArt thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Montreuil, near Paris, France
    #15
    Thanks! I just found a document on the Apple site about in app purchases, and it confirmed what you said at first, that the files have to be hosted and delivered by me, but if that's going to change it would be a great help for me. Maybe there is still hope, who knows? I will try to find the page you mentioned and wait for more info from Apple.

    ----------

    I couldn't put all the videos in the app because videos are big files, the app would take a very long time to load and take up a lot of storage space for nothing.

    I know what I want and I explained it in my first post. Of course I don't have all the details worked out, but I'm not worried about the interface part at this stage, I'm pretty confident I can manage that given enough time. What I need to know is whether or not I can deliver the content the way I want to. For now it seems I can't, but maybe later if apple starts hosting in app purchases. Right now I can't think of another way to do what I want to do.
     
  16. ArtOfWarfare macrumors 604

    ArtOfWarfare

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    Nov 26, 2007
    #16
    Here's the page:
    https://developer.apple.com/appstore/in-app-purchase/index.html

    Right under the stack of quarters icon, in the box labeled "NEW", it says Apple will start hosting the media.
     
  17. FlorenceArt thread starter macrumors newbie

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    #17
    Thank you! I followed the link in the box that says "learn more", but it leads to the documentation for in app purchases and I don't think it's been updated yet, there is no mention of hosting the files on Apple's servers yet.

    But looking at this documentation, I'm wondering if this whole project is maybe too much for a non professional like me to handle. A simple app with a portfolio and some static content I could probably make in a few months, but adding in app purchases may be just too much...
     
  18. larswik macrumors 68000

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    Sep 8, 2006
    #18
    I would just ask your self this question, "Do you want to make an app, or do you want to be a programmer." If your goal is just this app then find someone to help you with it or pay someone to make it for you.

    It's a long journey to become a good program and you never learn everything since it is always changing. I've been at it for 2 years now from starting at nothing to now having an app in the app store. But I am still learning and asking dumb questions here all the time figuring things out.

    So, do you want an app, or do you want to dedicate your time to being a programmer..... You need to decided?
     
  19. 1458279 Suspended

    1458279

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    May 1, 2010
    Location:
    California
    #19
    Have you considered not building an app and building a web site instead? They don't cost much to host and many of them have very flexible storage, so you can add more power/storage on an 'as needed' basis.

    Keep in mind that Apple can reject any app they want. They have a guideline concerning 'apps' that are just interfaces to what could be a 'web site'.

    In other words, why do you need an app? It sounds like you can do all of this with a web site.

    From what I've read, you want to display and sell items (pics/vids) Not only can this be done with a site alone, but you'd bypass the Apple 30% fee :D ... and that alone might be enough to support the hosting of a good site.

    Larswik makes an excellent point about wanting to be an app developer, it's not so easy and if you don't keep up on it (latest iOS/API) it will show in the quality of your app.

    Not to mention that the appstore is flooded with apps, it's hard to be seen in a flood of nearly 700,000 apps... Add that in with Apple's 30%, the cost/time of developing an app. The chance that Apple will say "this app could/should be a web site, you're rejected" ... and from what I hear, you could make a site to do all of this.

    You might look into one of those 'bid on this development' sites, where you post the specs for something and developers bid on doing the work and submit layout plans for you. You then pick one and go from there. Displaying and buying stuff on the web is old-news, shouldn't be a challenge for a web site developer. You might be surprised how cheap it can be.
     
  20. FlorenceArt thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Montreuil, near Paris, France
    #20
    Thank you Lars and KarlJay. You both made good points. In fact, I hadn't realized how stupid it is to try doing something with an app that I never managed to do with a website. :eek:

    I guess you must see dozens of clueless people like me on this forum, so thank you for your patience and understanding, and for giving me good advice. I will rethink the web-site angle and try to find something. Maybe it is time I used the services of a professional, so far I have always done everything myself but maybe in this case I need to change.
     
  21. jnoxx macrumors 65816

    jnoxx

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    Aartselaar // Antwerp // Belgium
    #21
    Mais Oui, Bien sûr! :)
    If you have more questions, don't hesitate to ask. And you can still be involved in the entire project, but step off the coding a bit :)

    Greets, Noxx.
     

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