Chapter 1. Getting Started

In this chapter, you will lay out your path to success, learn the basics of the App Store, and get your Mac set up for iOS development.

Your Path to Success

Take a moment to plan your journey before you leave the port. Be sure to pack the following items:

Study the App Store
As you learn how to develop apps, be sure to take the time to study another asset you have at your finger tips: the App Store. It’s important to look for trends and popular features on the Top Charts. Read the app reviews on the Top Charts each day and download new apps to see what the market likes and dislikes. This knowledge will give you an advantage over the competition.
Solve your own problems
Many great entrepreneurs got started building products that solved a personal problem. To start generating ideas for apps, consider building something you wish existed and go from there. The passion and consideration that you can draw from a personal issue will shine through in an app that solves that problem.
Watch people’s habits
Next time you are on the bus or at a coffee shop, take a look at what apps people are using. This is a great way to determine the basis for a trend or new feature.
Practice makes perfect
Your first app won’t be your best. Don’t be intimidated by this fact or by other apps. Facebook has a large poster in their office that reads “Move Fast and Break Things.” Take this to heart: this poster encourages the employees not to be scared of failure. The best part about software is you can always send an update.
Ship early, ship often
“Ship early, ship often” is a developer’s mantra. This phrase encourages developers to get something meaningful on the App Store and add to it after that. Decide what is at the core of your app. Ask yourself, “What value does this app provide? Does this feature help provide value? Do we have to have this?” These questions will help to sort out priorities such as feature inclusion in a first or later version of the app.
Positive attitude
Learning to develop can be tough, but incredibly rewarding. When you create something people love or add value to someone’s life, you can see that reward. Times will get tough; remember that you can do it, and nothing is impossible. Stick with it.

The App Store

iOS, Apple’s mobile device operating system, powers iPhones, iPads, and iPod Touches. The iOS App Store opened in 2008 with just 500 apps. Over the last six years, the App Store has grown to over 1,200,000 apps. These apps have been downloaded over 75 billion times to date. The App Store can be accessed via the App Store app on every iOS device, or via iTunes on a Mac.

The Featured section of the App Store in Figure 1-1 contains hand-picked apps by Apple. These apps are showcased for a variety of reasons, including great design, new ideas, utilizing a new device technology, and more. The Featured section shows an overall list of featured apps by default. However, you can see featured apps for each category by tapping Categories in the upper left.

App Store Featured
Figure 1-1. App Store Featured

The Top Charts tab in Figure 1-2 shows the most popular apps on the App Store. The Top Charts lists the top 150 apps in Free, Paid, and Top Grossing. Top Grossing apps are the apps that generate the most revenue. Most apps in the Top Grossing list are free and generate revenue through In-App Purchases. In-App Purchases are virtual goods that users can buy inside your app.

App Store Top Charts
Figure 1-2. App Store Top Charts

The Explore tab in Figure 1-3 offers a different way to browse the App Store. The Explore tab allows you to browse deeper into a specific category and find related apps. For example, in the Explore tab, the Finance category has many subcategories like Featured Finance, Money Management, and Banking. The Explore tab will also recommend apps based on your location. This could be an app for the subway in New York City or an app for the Muni in San Francisco.

App Store Explore
Figure 1-3. App Store Explore

The Search tab in Figure 1-4 on the App Store is where most users go to find their apps. When the Search tab is first opened, a list of trending searches is shown. This list contains popular searches by other App Store users. The search box at the top works like a typical search box. However, related searches or terms will be shown just under the search box as you type. Once your search is complete, a vertical list of apps will be shown. As of iOS 8, two screenshots will be shown for each app.

App Store Search
Figure 1-4. App Store Search

The Updates tab in Figure 1-5 will list all your apps that have recently been updated. As of iOS 8, the App Store will update your apps automatically. The top of this list also has a link to your previously purchased apps. Tap the Purchased button at the top of the list to redownload apps you have on another device or have deleted.

App Store Updates
Figure 1-5. App Store Updates

How to Install Xcode 6

In order to develop apps for iOS, you must install Xcode. Xcode is Apple’s development software created specifically for building apps on iOS and OSX. Xcode is completely free to download and install, and it only runs on a Mac. You will not be able to develop apps using a PC, Linux, or iPad. Xcode is like Microsoft Word, except it is designed for programming instead of writing. It provides many helpful features to ensure your code is working properly. Make sure you have the following items before you get started.

What You Will Need

A Mac running OS X Mavericks (10.9) or higher
You must have a Mac running OSX Mavericks (10.9) or newer. OSX Mavericks (10.9) is a free upgrade and runs on most Macs. You can update your Mac and read more at
An App Store account
You must have an App Store account. This is also referred to as an Apple ID. Your Apple ID is the email and password used to purchase apps on the App Store, buy songs on iTunes, or sign into iCloud. You can sign up for a free Apple ID at
Administrative password for your Mac
Finally, in order to install and set up Xcode, you will need the administrator password for your Mac. This is a separate account from your Apple ID. This is the account used to log in to your Mac. If you don’t have to sign in to your Mac, you’re likely already the administrator. If the Mac is provided by your job or work, you may need additional privileges added to your account.


You can check if your account is also the administrator account by clicking the small apple in the upper-left corner of your screen. Click System Preferences→Users & Groups. The window will show the current user logged into the Mac and will say Admin just below the current user’s name if it is the administrator.

Xcode is available on the Mac App Store and is a rather large download (over 4 GB). Make sure your computer has at least 5 GB of space free before you download Xcode. This process will likely take about an hour from the time you click download until Xcode is up and running.

If you haven’t already started the download, click this link to the Xcode website or type the following into Safari:

The Mac App Store should open up automatically. If yours doesn’t, just click the blue button that says “View in Mac App Store.” You will be redirected to the Mac App Store (Figure 1-6).

Xcode 6 in the Mac App Store
Figure 1-6. Xcode 6 in the Mac App Store

Click the silver button that says Free and then click the green Install App button. Then you will be prompted to sign in to your App Store account.

Your download will now start. Click the Purchases tab to track the progress of your download.

When you see Open next to the Xcode in the Purchases tab, the download is complete. Next, click Open, and Xcode will launch.

You may see a warning about opening a new program. Xcode will present the Xcode License Agreement. Read through this agreement and make your decision.

Next, you will be prompted to Install System Components; click Install.

You will then be prompted to enter your login and password. This is the password used to sign in to your computer, not the account used to sign in to the App Store.

The installation process will then begin. Once the bar is full, you are ready to launch Xcode.

Don’t worry if Xcode did not install as expected. The best way to learn is to make mistakes. Practice makes perfect.

Get Introducing iOS 8 now with the O’Reilly learning platform.

O’Reilly members experience live online training, plus books, videos, and digital content from nearly 200 publishers.