When the first iPhone hit the stores, the OS that drove the device wasn’t a strong competitor on the smartphone market. A year later Apple released an official SDK to the public and revolutionized the mobile software industry.
Since then, iOS got a lot of improvements and great features. One of the latest and most important upgrades comes with the release of iOS 7. Developing modern apps for this mobile platform requires knowing what the OS is capable of.
Currently, there are more than 1 million apps and games in the App Store and as more businesses are adapting to this technological advancement and taking the help of experts like Vecro Tech - mobile app developers from Edinburgh, the number of applications on the store is only going to increase. Enormous number of available apps forces the new ones to pay more attention to polishing and detail.
Apple provides many tools that make the whole mobile app development and deployment process easy to use. Having a good idea is more than a half of the success when it comes to monetizing your mobile application.
Apps that sell best limit to one major feature which makes them simple and intuitive to use. That one feature should be the most important part of your application that you will advertise. Everything else is an add-on. You should focus on one feature when creating your idea.
It’s always good to do a quick research on applications that look like yours. If you find apps that give the user the same functionality you provide, better rethink your concept.
Remember that your competitors already have the products that users are familiar with. It’s easier for them to push improvements than for you to release a brand new product. If you are confident in your idea, you should make it better from the beginning. Take advantage of new technologies and improvements that come with iOS 7.
As mentioned earlier, you should focus on one major feature of your product. This feature should be easy to use and presented to the user in a clear, obvious way. Avoid making complicated or customized user interfaces. Take advantage of the new UIKit available in iOS 7 that will give you the ability to produce clean looking apps with minimal effort.
Remember that users are familiar with iOS 7. They know how it looks and behaves in various situations. They want apps they use to act the same way. That’s why you should avoid using custom UI components whenever possible.
If you haven’t seen Apple’s Designing Great Apps yet, you should check out the articles and videos. And these materials are not targeted to designers and programmers only. Anyone who wants to get involved in making iOS apps should be familiar with this content.
But that doesn’t mean that in the iOS 7 era all applications should look the same. Thanks to the UIKit you can do a lot of customizations. If you are serious about your product, you will still need a designer that will make it unique. It's important to make sure that the design complies with Apple’s Human Interface Guidelines.
Having a good idea and well prepared design is not everything. There is nothing worse than losing users because of bugs that make your app unusable. You should prepare for problems before they appear. There is a plethora of tools that every iOS developer should be familiar with. Thanks to the new Xcode 5 released along with iOS 7, it’s now easier to debug and profile your application. You can make sure it won’t crash, and it will run fast and responsive.
Yet, there are situations and issues you can't avoid. You should prepared for those as well. There are number of services that reports invalid application behavior even after the release. One of them is Crashlytics. It’s new on the market, but even so it stands out with polished user interface and great functionality. If all you need is to track your app's performance - it’s free.
As soon as your app crashes, you will get an email with detailed information. Now it's up to you to prepare a fix as soon as possible, before the bug becomes irritating for other users. This is just one of the practices we use in mobile app development at EL Passion.
Having a bug-free application is as priority, but there are a lot of iOS 7 features that could make you app more usable.
If your app needs to present internet data, you can avoid the situations when the user is waiting for content to appear on the screen. Thanks to new multitasking features in iOS 7, you can fetch all required data from the internet even when the app is not used. The most important thing about this feature is that it doesn’t have a huge impact on battery consumption. The more your users use the app, the more things are going on in the background to save the user's time.
Another precious feature that comes with iOS 7 is a great text rendering framework called TextKit. No matter what kind of app you're developing, you will still need to display some text on the screen. iOS 7 text labels take significant part of the user interface. TextKit allows you to make all texts within your app consistent. Also, you can make your app more accessible for users with disabilities. In iOS 7 user can set preferable font size and your app can respect this setting.
The most popular category in the App Store is the Games category. If you are familiar with developing apps, you can start developing games with the new Sprite Kit framework. Maintained by Apple, it has the same high quality documentation and familiar code architecture. Creating games for iPhones and iPads has never been easier.
You may be thinking that developing modern apps for iOS 7 is all about taking advantage and relying on what Apple gives us. Well, it’s not. A huge community of developers is creating amazing open source software. There is no reason why you should stick with what's included in the mobile operating system.
Every iOS programmer should be familiar with the Cocoapods dependency manager. It allows you to maintain custom components required by your project. The number of available components is enormous. You can find great networking libraries that can help when developing an app that communicates with the world. Often, using open source components accelerates the development process and limits possible issues. You will be able to use libraries improved by hundreds of developers.
When your app is ready for deployment, you will be happy to see how many improvements and helper tools come with iOS 7.
The most interesting feature is the Continuous Integration. It allows you to setup a server on a OS X desktop, that takes care about many tasks like preparing builds and running unit tests. Setting certificates and provisioning profiles required to run an app on a device can be time consuming.
The new Xcode 5 solves that issue with automatic configuration tools. In most cases it will do everything for you with a single click of the mouse.
You can now focus on more important things, integrating new iOS 7 features or further improvements.
The post originally appeared on EL Passion's blog:
Developing modern apps for iOS 7