Application to make iPhone apps?

Discussion in 'iOS Programming' started by DavieBoy, Jul 2, 2009.

  1. DavieBoy macrumors 6502

    DavieBoy

    Joined:
    Jan 8, 2009
    Location:
    New Jersey
    #1
    I am looking for feedback on a concept.

    I guess what I would like to know is if apple would allow it and would you as a developer like it.

    What I would like to have is a iWeb type program for creating iPhone Apps.

    I realize that to a developer the iPhone SDK is supposed to be as easy as it can get but to the average Joe it is still unusable. I would like a drag and drop application that allowed me to make simple iPhone apps to share with my friends. I understand that without knowledge of coding it is impossible to do anything with graphics but I should be able to pick a background color and put buttons that lead to things like pictures or sounds.

    So. As a developer would you welcome this tool or be mad that people would be able to use it rather than paying you to create their simple app?

    Would apple allow this type of program to exist or does it go against there policies?

    Do you think it would flood the already overflowing app store considering anyone with a few hours and a hundred dollars could upload apps?

    Thanks for your responses.
     
  2. dejo Moderator

    dejo

    Staff Member

    Joined:
    Sep 2, 2004
    Location:
    The Centennial State
    #2
    Will this app just create iPhone apps or will it aid in distributing to the App Store as well? Because the whole iPhone Developer Program Portal (with its teams, certificates, devices, provisioning profiles, etc.) is a whole 'nother "bag of hurt". And then there's iTunes Connect...
     
  3. isharan macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jun 3, 2009
    #3
    1. It would be hard to make
    2. It would be incredibly complex if you want it easy (i.e. drag and drop)
    3. Getting your app on the app store without touching XCode is impossible
    4. It would be hard to make :cool:
     
  4. sergio27 macrumors member

    Joined:
    Nov 2, 2008
    #4
    Having stated that it is between hard to make to impossible, I think an alternate option would be to create apps not for the App Store, but apps that run inside an app.
     
  5. Kingbombs macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jun 24, 2009
    #5
    You cant do that, the app will get rejected if you try running an app inside an app
     
  6. jpyc7 macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Mar 8, 2009
    Location:
    Denver, CO
    #6
    I'm too lazy to search right now, but someone posted here before about an app that would be available to comic artists. Basically, it would allow an artist to simply display his/her panel-based art. The app would have navigation buttons and maybe a few other things (like a link for a website) that would be useful for artist promotion.

    Something fairly basic like that seems possible. One can argue whether it is really any better than an image gallery app.

    Anyway, it is really hard to make a graphical app for writing another app. If you think about it, you want a graphical representation of a programming language. So you want to declare a variable. Okay, it gets an icon and the icon can look different depending on its basic type (int, char, array, etc). You've still got to label it and give it a name.

    Now, you want to assign a value to it. Hmm, need a pop-up window to input some text. Anyway, you get the idea that you will need some textual input in addition to the graphical interface and that it is easier/shorter to specify some ideas in writing instead of graphically.

    I've used a few tools that had graphical interfaces, but also supported/required writing actual code to get anything non-trivial done.
    One is Opnet (for simulation) and another is from Telelogic (IBM) which supported UML. Both cost thousands of dollars per license seat and allow one to add code in C/C++. There was another simulation tool that used Smalltalk, but I can't remember its name. Basically, as already stated, this is not trivial to do.
     
  7. DavieBoy thread starter macrumors 6502

    DavieBoy

    Joined:
    Jan 8, 2009
    Location:
    New Jersey
    #7
    It makes me sad that you guys think it is next to impossible.

    Would be great if it was a one stop application that handled everything including the transfer to apple.

    I would actually be okay with a iphone theme for iWeb. That was sized right and allowed you to set the home screen icon. There is another web page making app like iweb that has a iphone theme but I tried to use it and had no luck. I have made some nice things with iWeb though.

    I still think that the application would be great for so many people.
     
  8. robbieduncan Moderator emeritus

    robbieduncan

    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2002
    Location:
    London
    #8
    How much would you pay for such an application? $1000? More? Given the limited market and exceptional complexity I'd say it'd have to be at least that much for the developer to make a decent return. And even then the output would be limited: it would not let you make a new Peggle!
     
  9. firewood macrumors 604

    Joined:
    Jul 29, 2003
    Location:
    Silicon Valley
    #9
    It's not impossible, nor even difficult. However it would require a lot of man months to create even a simple tool of this kind (probably on the order of many 10's to 100's of thousands of dollars in consultant fees for its development). And it would only be able to create apps that follow a certain very limited set of templates.

    You might start by creating some sort of push button Obj-C source code generator, pasting together snippets of source code from a library and connecting them to IBActions. The work would be similar to creating a toy compiler, but the output would be Obj-C instead of machine code. You would also need to create a tool that could generate several custom AppleScripts to configure and run Xcode on these generated Obj-C source files to build the iPhone apps.

    Since the intermediate form would be all Obj-C without any external libraries (they could all be included as source), and the final result would be built with Xcode, it would most likely comply with all the SDK rules for app development.

    The front end could be anything, a Cocoa app, a web app, or some sort of .net app inside a VMWare PC. It would just need to create some sort of meta data (XML?) from the drag-and-drop input to feed the Obj-C and Applescript source code generators.

    Most real developers would prefer to use IB and Xcode directly, and write their own Obj-C. Far far less limiting.
     
  10. Saladinos macrumors 68000

    Saladinos

    Joined:
    Feb 26, 2008
    #10
    The problem is that to make this possible, you'll have to make ridiculously simple apps that are just useless. For example, I could write an app that let people share interface layouts and some basic behaviour in XML files shared via the internet, but the problem is that the behaviour would be too basic to be of any use to anybody.
     
  11. admanimal macrumors 68040

    Joined:
    Apr 22, 2005
    #11
    As others have mentioned, it is just not possible to use only drag-and-drop to create anything but trivial apps, without creating some monster that is more complicated to use than it is to learn to program the normal way.

    As for a tool to create iPhone-friendly web sites/apps...doesn't Dashcode already do that to some extent?
     
  12. firewood macrumors 604

    Joined:
    Jul 29, 2003
    Location:
    Silicon Valley
    #12
    What Apple is missing is a push-button Dashcode-to-Xcode interface tool, that could wrap an entire Dashcode created web app into a turn-key UIWebView object, so you could just drop that object into an Xcode native iPhone app template, and build a regular native offline-capable App store app, using only Dashcode for everything except the final build.

    That kind of tool would also knock a lot of competitive uniqueness out of the Palm Pre WebOS dev tools.
     
  13. Saladinos macrumors 68000

    Saladinos

    Joined:
    Feb 26, 2008
    #13
    You could create an offline-capable web page. Google has (Gmail).
     
  14. firewood macrumors 604

    Joined:
    Jul 29, 2003
    Location:
    Silicon Valley
    #14
    You could. But there's no push-button tool to create the iPhone Obj-C wrapper for the offline-capable web app, and then build that app in Xcode, for someone who only knows Dashcode. That's what's missing.

    Otherwise, how do you get the web app on the phone?
     
  15. robbieduncan Moderator emeritus

    robbieduncan

    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2002
    Location:
    London
    #15
    You can easily do it without an Obj-C wrapper. You create, as mentioned above, an offline web app. You can see a simple example of this here (visit it on your iPhone)...
     
  16. firewood macrumors 604

    Joined:
    Jul 29, 2003
    Location:
    Silicon Valley
    #16
    Which only works if you have an internet connection when you first need the app.

    App store apps will load on a device with zero wireless network connectivity. Plus, more importantly, Apple will collect the fee for you if it's a paid app.

    y
     
  17. robbieduncan Moderator emeritus

    robbieduncan

    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2002
    Location:
    London
    #17
    Why don't you actually do some research instead of spouting absolute rubbish. Glyphboard for example works perfectly without any connection: it's saved to the phone (without any Objective-C) and runs on it's own, offline.
     
  18. spin-docta macrumors newbie

    spin-docta

    Joined:
    Feb 2, 2009
    Location:
    NY
    #18
    It would probably be better just to publicize sample code, and tell people how to change it to do what they want. Something like this: http://devinsheaven.com/irpi/
     
  19. iSee macrumors 68040

    iSee

    Joined:
    Oct 25, 2004
    #19
    The tricky part is to design a system that is both easy to use and expressive enough to produce a range of apps. Generally, I think you want to provide simple building blocks that can be combined in arbitrary ways, along with a bunch of templates & examples to get people started.

    Hypercard-type systems are probably a good example of a system like this. Not to mention HTML/Javascript (an avenue already open to iPhone developers).

    To answer some of your questions: I think most developers would welcome any tool that would help them develop their apps efficiently. Apple has nothing against an app development toolkit in general, though there are certain things they would not allow that you might stumble over if you aren't careful. Regarding flooding the app store, I guess I'm skeptical that your proposed app development system would really be so much easier that it would allow a significant number of additional developers to release apps than already do. Let's say it does let people throw together something in a few hours and publish it as an app. Some people will find it fun to do this, but these apps are going to be very shallow in terms of content or utility. I'd guess authors would realize this and be hesitant to spend even $100 on what they would realize is purely a vanity publication with no real possibility of any kind of success (no matter how you measure it).

    Anyway, I don't mean to discourage you. If you can find a way to let a lot more authors develop and publish their app ideas then I, for one, look forward to it. Maybe there are a class of apps that really can be developed in a matter of hours -- that the potential authors of do not currently have a way to develop... Hm. Maybe educational apps, like flash card apps, or lessons on particular points of particular subjects?

    ---

    I don't understand what the "absolute rubbish" is in the post you are referring to. Can you explain?
     
  20. admanimal macrumors 68040

    Joined:
    Apr 22, 2005
    #20
    You would hope they would realize this, but a browse around the App Store suggests otherwise...
     
  21. firewood macrumors 604

    Joined:
    Jul 29, 2003
    Location:
    Silicon Valley
    #21
    Really? I have an iPod Touch with broken wifi. How can I get this app on it?

    I've sync'd lot of other apps to it.
     

Share This Page