All You Need To Know To Get Started With Mobile App Development
The average mobile user now spends 9% more time using mobile apps than the desktop version of the internet. That’s 81 minutes per day for mobile apps versus 74 minutes per day spent surfing the Web (both desktop and mobile).
The mobile app market is growing rapidly and every popular online service you can think of is geared towards mobility, functionality and app development. With more business and software developers moving to the cloud and making their products available as Saas (Software as a service), business persons are able to increase productivity by completing their work on-the-go, wherever they are, because of the convenience of mobile apps.
Mobile app store sales are expected to hit US $14 Billion in 2012 and US $40 Billion by 2015, a huge market potential for any serious developer. The market is ripe and now is the time to get a foot in app development and begin building a career / business.
But how do you get started with mobile application development? What are the skills required and how do you get your work on the market? We’ll show you how:
Most Profitable Platforms
In deciding which platforms to develop for you need to take a look at market trends, forecasts, your skill set and the tools available to you. The 3 main platforms I would recommend developing for are Android, Blackberry OS and iPhone (iOS). Android so far has aggressively gaining a strong presence and is the dominant mobile app platform in terms of number of users.
Apple’s iOS – Developing for Apple
The first place you should go to get started with developing with Apple’s iOS is http://developer.apple.com/programs/ios/. Here you can enroll in the iOS Developer Program, which will cost US $99 and you will need to have an Intel-based Mac running Mac OS X Snow Leopard to develop iOS apps. It is mandatory that you have these since their SDK (Software Development Kit) only works on Macs.
You are able to set any price above a set minimum for your applications to be distributed through the App Store, of which you will receive a 70% share. Alternately, you may opt to release the application for free and you would not be required to pay any costs to release or distribute the application except for the membership fee.
Skill set required for iOS development
You need to be very comfortable with basic coding and development methodologies as iOS apps are developed with Objective-C in the Cocoa environment. The Cocoa programming environment automates many aspects of an application to comply with Apple’s human interface guidelines.
Resources & Learning Material
- iOS Dev Center – Here you will find FAQ’s, guides, reference and code samples to get started.
- Lynda.com Tutorials – This website has a plethora of tutorials that will help you get the right practice and skills to master app development.
Blackberry OS Development
The process of developing for Blackberry smartphones is less difficult than iOS. The main benefit is that BB OS has been around for quite some time and it has a fair community of master developers who have created and continue to contribute to the guidance of upcoming newbies, mostly through their support forums. There are tons of tutorials around the web to help you overcome most programming challenges.
Blackberry provides a decent level of support to new developers. Of the development platforms mentioned, Blackberry is the only provider who focuses on developing the Latin American markets with a concentration of dedicated staff locally lending their support and guiding development.
How to sign-up?
Sign up in the Blackberry Developer Zone to gain access to their SDK, guides, plugins and other tools while taking advantage of a very active forum of developers who are usually willing to help. It is now free to register and submit apps and upgrades to the vendor portal. Approval of submitted apps can take a couple of weeks for approval.
Skill set required for Blackberry development
Resources & Learning Material
- Brush up on your Java skills with this ebook:
- Blackberry App World & Commercialization Services – This PDF offers lots of great info on changes in their App World, Deployment, Payments and Social integration.
- Browse the Stack Overflow website – Here you will find lots of questions and answers to common difficulties
Google’s Android is currently by far the fastest growing mobile development platform with over 300,000 apps in their marketplace. Like Blackberry OS, Android relies on the Java programming language run on a lightweight, open development environment built on an open-source Linux kernel.
The neat thing about Android phones is that they are completely open and all software can be customized and changed completely without the proprietary obstacles that have hindered mobile innovation. Android thrives on the principle that all applications are created equal which gives you the opportunity to create applications that are as much a part of the phone as anything provided out of the box.
How to get started?
It is completely free to develop for Android and utilize the marketplace and there is no approval process to get your apps in the market. To get started with code sample, references, videos, guides and download the complete SDK, go to developer.android.com/
Skill set required for Android Development
If you’re already familiar with the Java programming language then you are good to go. Google provides various API’s and libraries that contain all the components required to build functional apps.
Resources & Learning Material
One of the greatest tools ever built for familiarizing yourself with mobile app development is Google’s App Inventor; this online tool allows the average person to build apps using visual components. The application is aimed towards people who are not familiar with computer programming, such as elementary school students. The apps created with this tool cannot be submitted to the Android marketplace just yet but your completed application can be distributed via the native .APK Android application file. All newbies should give this a try.
Google App Inventor Intro Video:
Check out this website for cool tutorials - http://www.vogella.de/articles/Android/article.html
Also, here’s a decent ebook to get started with developing – Professional Android 2 Application Development
For Java Development, I recommend – Java for Programmers (2nd Edition – Deitel)
Where do you go from here?
Take a good look at your skills to determine your strengths and use them to fill needs in the current marketplace. The internet has a lot of resources for becoming a professional developer, it simply requires time, an innovative mind and a passion for programming.
There are very few mobile developers in Jamaica and the wider Caribbean, this is an excellent opportunity to take an early advantage and begin providing solutions for local business and brands; especially blackberry, since it is currently the most popular handset. However, remember that its a global marketplace and focus on developing solutions that anyone worldwide would find useful.