With the invention of the smartphone and the explosion of smartphone users in the past few years, creating applications for these phones (apps) has become a booming industry. Many people make a living off of building apps for smartphones, and there have been quite a few notable occurrences of millionaires springing up from the industry as well. The app industry is exciting, it’s new, and it has very low entry barrier compared to many other, more traditional industries. In fact, many first-time app developers are first time developers of any kind. Anybody can learn to make an app! The question is where to start.
First, you should recognize that although the entry-barrier to app development is low, you still need to be prepared to learn. While having previous code experience would definitely help, having no experience means it will just take you a little longer to get the basics down.
Second, you need to decide what platform you want to develop on. The three biggest platforms are Android, iOS, and Windows, in that order. While Android might have the largest market share of devices (right now), iOS and Apps for the iPad and the iPhone have the “oomph” factor of Apple, and Windows phones and tablets are becoming more and more prevalent, making the platform a promising development platform.
Developing for iOS
To develop apps for the iPad or the iPhone, you will need to learn Objective-C and the Cocoa Touch framework. iOS development is also exclusive to the Xcode IDE (Integrated Development Environment) which only runs on Mac, meaning you can only develop for iOS on an Apple computer.
Developing in iOS requires a Mac with Mountain Lion (OS X 10.8 or later), the Xcode IDE, and the iOS SDK. You can download Xcode for free from the App Store on your Mac, which includes the iOS SDK. Once you’ve got that set up, the iOS Dev Center has plenty of great information to get you started on your app development.
Developing for Android
Android App development is very similar to Java development, but with specialized APIs and frameworks for Android. In order to develop for Android, you will need the Android SDK (available for Mac, PC, and Linux) and an IDE. For many developers, Eclipse is their IDE of choice.
The Andriod Developer’s Portal is your one-stop shop for all things Android, including the SDK, emulators, and other app development tools – all offered for free.
Developing for Windows
The Windows Dev Center has everything you need to get started developing for the Windows App Store.
The smartphone industry has exploded, and the App Development industry with it. All things considered, the App Development industry is one of the most accessible industries in the world – all it requires is a computer and the internet. It’s time to get developing!