“There’s an app for that,” a phrase which started off as a joke has turned into a reality. With relatively lower barriers of entry and growing systems being put in place, mobile app development is becoming a large part of our society as a whole. Each app that is made tries to serve a unique function or provide a solution to an unsolved problem. As more and more people and companies have access to Android and iPhone app development, this trend is only going to continue.

While we have already explored the differences in developing with Android vs. iOS, in this article we are going to focus on iPhone app development. However, we are not going to be walking you through how to build your app. Instead, we will be providing you with the best practices and tools you need to build an app that works well and is viable in an ever-changing marketplace.

Whether or not you have ever built an app yourself or with another company is irrelevant. By following this simple guide, you will have a better understand of the iPhone app development process. From there, it’s up to you to find a problem to solve and create your own future. We are simply here to lend a hand. Let’s get started.

iPhone app development

The case for development

The first step in iPhone app development is making a case for your app. Simply put: what does your app do, who does it serve, and what problem does it solve or at least make easier? You need to ask yourself these questions before ever putting fingers to a keyboard.

Thankfully, we have put together a few areas that you can look at before you get started to make sure you are ready.

Identify your target market

Before you begin developing your app, you need to understand who it is for and who will be using it. By either using surveys or analyzing the existing user base, you can figure out where potential markets are you might not have thought of otherwise. Once you have selected the target market you want to operate in, the next step is to do some research.

Research your user profile

Once you identify the target market, you now need to get to know them. Understanding our target market and the user profiles of people who will be using your app is important for designers to understand as they build out the app. Parameters like geography and demographic information can tell you a story you might not have otherwise found. Still, it’s something too many developers don’t think they need to do. Do the research, you’ll thank us later.

Decide on a course of action

Now that you have done research on your potential users, a few decisions will need to be made before you can continue. One such decision is weighing the costs and benefits of your app. App development, especially iPhone app development, can be a costly enterprise. Make sure that your app will have the legs to make a return. If you decide that it doesn’t, abandon ship. There is no use continuing down a road that’s closed.

Next, you will need to choose an engineering team. Depending on what you plan to do with your app will affect the type of engineering team you choose, but choosing to outsource app development is often seen as the most cost-effective solution. Do some research on different types of development teams and choose the one that’s right for you.

development team working on an app

Set-up and fundamentals

After you have found your target market, made the case for your app, and picked an engineering team, the time has come to look at the tech fundamentals of your app and get everything set up for success.

Such things as UI and UX need to be talked about now before you begin wire-framing to make sure they get done properly. Next are a couple of main areas you will need to focus on.

Agree on an iOS version and stick to the guidelines

Apple releases a new version of iOS and as anyone who has used their products before knows, as soon as a new version is out, the old versions quickly become obsolete. An important part of iPhone app development is understanding which version you are going to be working with and what requirements/guidelines come with it.

For example, iOS has a list of guidelines for human interface design. Take a look at these guidelines before you start building to make sure you are doing things correctly. Also, if it has been awhile working within iOS you might need to brush up on Xcode. Xcode is the IDE that Apple provides for developers to work within to create their app. It has slight variations to other IDEs so make sure you know the differences.

Establish a coding style with optimal architecture design

Whether or not you work with a large development team, having a consistent coding style throughout the process is critical to avoiding mistakes. Not only that, but by using the same language and style allows for programmers to switch in and out as needed. Even a newcomer can pick up where someone else left off if the process is consistent across the board.

The next thing on your list should be finding the proper architectural design for your app. This is important in iPhone app development as building an extendable and well-structured app will do wonders in the long run. Most engineers recommend the MVC (Model-View-Controller) pattern for iOS development. However, others will tell you there is no silver bullet and use a combination of MVC and MVVM (Model-View-View Model). Whatever you choose, make sure it has all of the capabilities you need!

woman designing app

Engineering process and tools

As we get into this final stage of the iPhone development process (at least for now, stay tuned for more), it’s time to take a look at the software. Not just the software, but the engineering process and tools at your disposal that will make your app as good as it can possibly be.

Your own engineers may have their own processes already in place, and that is fine. However, the processes we are about to go over do work well if you need an alternative solution.

Apply the best possible naming and project structure

Something that is important in day-to-day life, but even more important in iPhone app development, is organization. When giving names to things such as classes, methods, functions, constants, and code elements, one should refer to Apple’s guidelines again.

By having the name principles constant across the entire project, not only will it be better organized, but everyone will be on the same page. Start this early so that you won’t have to spend time catching up later.

Make use of open source tooling and frameworks

One of the benefits of iPhone app development and working with iOS is how popular it is. Since most programmers have at least a basic understanding of how to build an iOS app, there are plenty of options to choose from online when it comes to different libraries and frameworks. These tools can significant reduce the cost of building a similar feature on your own, so they are worth exploring.

Now while Android is often praised for being completely open source, Apple still has open source projects and tools you can take advantage of. Why reinvent the wheel when these tools at your disposal and actually often encouraged? See what Apple has available first before wasting time on a tool that might already exist.

As you begin to work on developing your iPhone app, be sure to keep these ideas in mind. Also, stick around for more of these tips and tricks soon to come on our blog so that you can build the best app possible. Happy programming!