Build your own app

I asked our SHV Media Director and life-of-the-party Chandos, to be our guest blogger and do something intensely practical that could save people hundreds of dollars.  So here you go!

BTW, before working at SHV Chandos used to wear a shirt with something like this on it.  And he is humble and unpretentious, and is mostly kind to people who use PC’s.

Blog: Entry One.

Challenge 1: Build an app for iPhones.

Challenge 2: Blog about it.

I don’t know which will be tougher. Building an app will be tough in that I know next to nothing about app making.  But blogging means coming up with clever internal dialog to share with others about my discoveries. Hmmmmm…..where to begin? No idea, but onward we go!

A little backstory for those that don’t know me.  I’m Chandos, the guy with the weird name.  It’s pronounced “Chan-duh-s.”

I used to work for Apple for several years, where I trained people to better use their Macs. Until God led me to Smoky Hill Vineyard.  I got hired as the Media Director last January and love it.  My degree is in video post-production, so while I’m passionate about art, design, and video, and know a ton about Macs, I don’t know much of anything about programming.

If you’re like me, you have a smartphone, you use it regularly, you sorta kinda understand why it does what it does, but you don’t really have a clue of how.  You know everyone else is getting an app, so if you’re gonna fit in, you better get one too.  Ok…what else?

Maybe I could pay someone to do it!?

Whoa! Google has a ton of results! Oh look, they all have web-based interfaces to make the app. This will be easy! Oh…..wait….$50 a month? $400 setup fees? I think I’ll just make my own.

It can’t be that hard to make an app, right? Right?!

Wrong. It’s really hard.

That’s where we start.  If you’re looking at building an app, there’s a ton of weight on your shoulders! You want your app to look nice, appealing, and unique. You also want your app to do something, otherwise, you wouldn’t make an app. And most of all, you want it to work! So how do we bridge that gap of figuring out what we want and the finished product?

With a little technique I call “Scavengoogle.”  Not really…I totally just made that up. I don’t really call it that, but the idea is in there somewhere. Google is our best friend.  We’re going to scavenge all of the info we can about apps, but also, only what we need. I really, really, really don’t want to learn coding. Writing in English is hard enough, let alone some computer language that makes no sense.  But, if I can find someone who knows it, and will tell me what to put, and where to put it, I’m all about it!

Shall we begin?

Good. Here we go.

Step 1: Have a Mac. If you don’t have a Mac, you’d better get one. iPhone/iPod/iPad (from here on out referred to as iOS) app development requires it.  So, if you don’t have access to a Mac and still really want to make iOS apps, buy a Mac.

Step 2: Download the latest version of Xcode. Xcode is Apple’s software specifically designed for app making.  If you have your Mac, and you’re running 10.7, a.k.a. Lion, go to the Mac App Store and download Xcode for free.  If you have 10.6.8+, I believe it’s $4.99 or so.  Waaaaay cheaper than a $400 setup fee, right?!

Step 3: Plan your app.  For the app I’m working on, I got some of the giant pads of paper that hang on an easel to draw out every part of what I want the app to do.

Step 4: Design your app. This is probably the most important step.  More important than making it.  This is key because if your app doesn’t look good, who’s going to buy it?

Next time, I’ll blog about interface ideas, app design, and figuring out how to storyboard your app. For some homework, see if you can’t get through the first three steps listed above.  If you’d like to go even further, check out this guy’s video series on YouTube:

I have watched several of this guy’s tutorials and gleaned some important info out of it.  He’s also kind enough to usually provide the code to copy and paste into Xcode.

A little disclaimer: I haven’t watched every video on YouTube ever. And YouTube has no real content control.  So if you see something inappropriate or distasteful, know that it was not my intention and completely out of my control. 

Hopefully you’re as excited as I am. I love creating things, even if the first few don’t turn out so good.  Usually, there’s a few gems to be found, lurking in the shadows of this big ol’ noggin.  ‘Till next time.


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