So you want to build an app

July 8, 2014
Dan Katcher

AppPostItsI get asked pretty often what’s the best place to start for someone who wants to learn how to develop mobile apps. My answer is always that there are two places to go if you want to learn.
The first place I send aspiring developers is Ray Wenderlich’s tutorial site. This site is, in a word, awesome. It has almost 500 tutorials, and each one is clearly written with plenty of screen shots and the accompanying code. Most of the tutorials are for iOS, but there are Android topics as well. Attached to each tutorial is a fully functioning project so you can instantly run the code and see it in action.
If you’ve never programmed before and terms like “Objective-C,” “strings,” and “arrays” mean nothing to you, you can start with the most basic instructions and work your way up. Already know the basics? Hone your skills with more advanced tutorials on adding animation, data storage, and many approaches to game development. There’s really no better way to learn than by reading a tutorial called “How To Make A Game Like Cut The Rope” (especially if, like me, you’ve spent far too many hours playing that very game).
The site is super-proactive about staying on top of the latest technologies, such as Apple’s new Swift language, which came out last month at WWDC. There are already eight tutorials on Swift, including an article that highlights the language from an Objective-C developer’s perspective.
Once you’ve got a few skills, you will find the site absolutely indispensable. Users with questions post their coding conundrums; users with answers post their solutions and vote for the answers they think are the most helpful. If you have a thorny technical issue you can’t solve, Stack Overflow is the place to go – invariably, someone else has had the same problem and it’s already been talked through and resolved.
Seasoned coders: What would you add to the list? Everyone else: What are you waiting for?

So, if you don’t know where to get started with a blueprint for your app, Rocket Farm Studios can take the pressure off.