You don’t have to be an Apple fanboy or fangirl to give Apple Inc. credit for redefining
Mobile gadgetry and its surrounding industries. First the company used the iPod to
Reshape the music industry and strongly influence how we acquire and consume tunes.
Just count the number of people wearing iPod-connected earbuds in a subway car.
Then the iPhone rewrote the cellular telephone industry manual, while opening the
World’s eyes to the potential of being connected to the Internet nearly everywhere, all
The time. It’s happening again with the iPad, where electronic publishing is evolving
Right before our eyes.
Although the iPhone was an early success with just the workable but limited set of
Apple-supplied applications that came with the phone, programmers couldn’t wait to
Get their hands on the platform. The first word that Apple let drop about third-party
Developers, however, landed with a bit of a thud: they were graciously allowed to create
Web apps. Sure, the iPhone’s WebKit-based browser let creative HTML, CSS, and
Frustrating limits compared to Apple’s native apps.
It took some additional months, but Apple eventually released a genuine software
Development kit (SDK) to allow third-party programmers to create native applications
For what was then called the iPhone OS. Part of Apple’s task was also creating the App
Store to distribute apps – yet another industry-transforming effort. Many existing Mac
OS X developers rejoiced because the iPhone OS was derived from Mac OS X. The
IPhone SDK was based on the same Xcode tools that Mac developers had been using
For some time. The language of choice was Objective-C.
As a happy iPhone early adopter, I eagerly awaited the iPhone SDK. Unfortunately,
Despite my years of being a dedicated Mac user since 1984 and a scripter since 1987
And the HyperCard days, I had never done any Mac OS X programming. I didn’t know
Much about C and next to nothing about Objective-C. Still, I thought perhaps my years
Web page can communicate with the applet. At least I knew what a compiler did.
When the iPhone SDK landed on my Mac, I was simply overwhelmed. The old metaphor
Of trying to sip from a firehose definitely applied. The more I read Apple’s early
Developer documentation, the more I felt as though I had to know a lot more than I
Most recent language acquisition for me (albeit back in late 1995), I looked for anything
I could borrow from that experience to apply to iPhone app development. I’d see
Occasional glimmers, but I was basically flying blind, not knowing what I had to discard
And what I could keep.
The SDK was evolving during that time as well. I’d read a tutorial here and there, but
I wasn’t making much headway at first. Some tools, especially Interface Builder, felt
Incomplete to me. Frankly, I had a couple of false starts where I walked away until a
Future SDK version appeared. Finally, I reached a point that was “put up or shut up.”
After sticking with it and reading many of the documents many times, I was, indeed,
Getting tastes from the firehose. Working on iPhone development as a part-time effort
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