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3 posts

Wannabe Geek


#57070 2-Feb-2010 14:45
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Hi there,

I'm a complete programming novice (some PL SQL and JavaScript a few years ago) and wanted to get some advice on developing apps for Android and iPhone. I realise of course that there are two paths to take, Andriod or iPhone, but I wanted to some advice on where to start with either and what everyone thinks is the best OS to develop on. I'm not looking to create the best biggest app, just get enough knowledge to ticker around and develop some basics.

What programming knowledge do I need as a start point?
What should I know before picking up one of the SDKs?

Any help you can give would be great.

Many thanks in advance

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  #295433 2-Feb-2010 16:09
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For either of them you;ll probably need to know a bit of C/C++ 




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  #295451 2-Feb-2010 16:39
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First: You can't sell your app through the Android market at this point, but there is nothing to stop you selling it through any of the alternate markets or through your own web site - and people pay via PayPal. With Android, you aren't limited to the Android market for selling your app. You can put a free, limited version on the Android Market and tell people who want to buy the full version to go to a point on the Net of your choosing where you will sell it to them. This is how TetherWifi (I've bought it) and "Wifi Tether for Root Users" are distributed.

That said.....

I've got the Android SDK installed on my Ubuntu Linux 9.10 system. They provide you with a lot of sample code and functional examples to learn from. 

You really need to know Java and XML for a start...and I'm getting my head around those. The apps are programmed in Java and the screen content isdefined in XML. They give you an exmaple of why you want to do this with the very first program you write. 

Programmatical screen content drawing is slow and bad....XML is fast and good. :-)  

The Eclipse dev environment they recommend is also a very rich and powerful environment...and requires a fair bit of learning all by itself, independent of any actual programming. Like anything.....it isn't just what you do, it's also very much about the tools you use to do it. 

The best instructions I've found anywhere for setting up the Android dev environment are here. I have some additions and clarifications of my own here in an article about hacking your HTC Magic phone that includes a section on setting up the Android SDK.  

I've been using linux mainly because I can get the USB drivers to work easily with the phone. I've tried it on Windows Vista and no matter what I do, ddms and adb can't see the phone. I'm not alone. There are many others out there in the same position. It seems to come down to your hardware.....and some PCs can do it with Vista...and some just won't....but they all work fine with Linux. 

Once inside Eclipse, the OS outside is irrelevant....and I find Linux consistent with Android...which is also linux.  

I can't comment on iPhone. I've heard people say good things about the development tools and bad things about the lengthy approval process (if approved at all) for any app. Beyond that...no comment. 


 







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  #295454 2-Feb-2010 16:46
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The iPhone uses Objective-C (similar to the OS X version but lacking garbage collection, although that probably won't mean much to you now. Objective-C is a separate and difference (in some ways, weird)language from C, although it's said to be a full superset of ANSI C and you can embed C code in Objective-C programs)
Android development normally uses a dialect of Java + Eclipse (and relevant plug-ins).

As a C# developer I find Android easier because of the similarity of Java and C#, but for now I wouldn't recommend any New Zealand developer bothering with Android - developers from NZ can't submit paid apps to the Android Marketplace, whereas overseas developers can sell their apps to NZ customers. So not only do we lose out on an opportunity, but Google is helpfully handing the first-to-market advantage in our own market to others.
So for that reason, if you're a New Zealander steer clear of Android unless and until Google allows NZ developers to sell their apps on the Marketplace...otherwise we just reward crappy and incompetent behaviour.
I'll probably be writing a blog post whining about this in more detail shortly :-)
It's a shame because it's a nice SDK, although in learning it once you get beyond the introductory stuff the documentation tends to be written for people who don't need to read the documentation.

If you want to do iPhone development you'll need a Mac to do development on, after which the SDK is a free download (a couple of Gig worth as I recall). I just picked up the cheapest Macbook available (which by then was the only non-Pro Macbook available) and it works fine for me.



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Wannabe Geek


  #295647 3-Feb-2010 10:41
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Thanks guys,

 

Think I might get some C++ basics under my belt and then give Objective-C a go and have a play with Apple apps.

 

Thanks again!

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  #296868 7-Feb-2010 19:26
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KevDaly:

As a C# developer I find Android easier because of the similarity of Java and C#, but for now I wouldn't recommend any New Zealand developer bothering with Android - developers from NZ can't submit paid apps to the Android Marketplace, whereas overseas developers can sell their apps to NZ customers. So not only do we lose out on an opportunity, but Google is helpfully handing the first-to-market advantage in our own market to others. ..


Interesting. I didn't know that. Not that I plan to do Android development (my programming days are in the distant past) but if I wanted to for fun, I guess I could ask a US friend to submit the app to the marketplace?




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  #297093 8-Feb-2010 16:16
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lchiu: Or tweet about it and add it to the SlideMe market and whatever others are around.....and / or sell it direct via a blog page with a link to PayPal.

It's definitely do-able....and not hard. Being invisible in a 25,000-app Android Market might be as a big a challenge. :-)

If people like it, word of mouth will do the work for you.




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  #303421 1-Mar-2010 18:50
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I myself am looking at developing (or at least playing with) the iPhone SDK.

Im just not sure if I should jump right into that, or learn something else first..

I have done a bit of PHP/HTML and a TINY bit of ASP.. oh and i've done a little MySQL.

Any pointers?





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