Back in Feb 2013, I started my journey of exploring and learning iOS development. It was very interesting experience for me. I love and do programming since I was 12 years old. It was a great way to enjoy my spare time in something useful. Back to that time, I used to play games and use some educational programs on my MSX computer. It had only 64 KB RAM, and we used to load programs either by the cassette tape player, or the expensive cartridge (it was simply a programmed ROM module). It was fascinating experience for me when I started learning MSX BASIC language and started to write very simple programs. 20 years later, I felt the same fascinating experience when I wrote very simple programs for my iPhone and had it running on my device!
That’s why I kept looking for ways to test my simple programs on my iPhone without subscribing to the official iOS developer program. And I wrote this post about this exact topic. I had no plans at that time to release Apps to the store. So it was just enough for me to play with my simple Apps on my iPhone during the learning journey.
I have to say that one of the reasons for enjoying such learning experience was the book I chose to learn from. After reading reviews about several books, I settled on “iOS Programming: The Big Nerd Ranch Guide (3rd Edition)“. It covered iOS 5 which was still valid early 2013 when iOS 6 was still very new. By the way there is a newer 4th edition of this same book that covers iOS 7. I’ve also read that edition and enjoyed it very much.
It took me about 2 months to go through the book and do the exercises. I was reading the kindle version of the book on my Macbook and doing the practice after each chapter. After completing the book, I said to myself why not go ahead and make something useful and release it to the App Store. And why not trying to make some money from my Apps At that point I realised that I need to learn more about the business aspects of iOS development. I come across the book of Chad Mureta “App Empire: Make Money, Have a Life, and Let Technology Work for You“. It has given me a lot of insights about entering the App Business. I may not agree with everything in the book, but I have to say that it has a lot of important techniques and hints that really helped me.
In June 2013, I felt I had learned a lot to start putting it into action! I took the decision to purchase the iOS Developer Program membership to make myself committed to release something to the App Store.
At that time, I had many big ideas for sophisticated Apps. But I said to myself that I have to be realistic and start with something simple to try the process end-to-end, specially that I can do programming only during evenings and weekends. So I started to work on my first project to make a simple Unit Converter. But there are already so many unit converters in the App store! So what will be the value of my App? I noticed that most of the Apps focus on the beautiful user interface more than on the usability. So I thought that making very usable, intuitive and an accurate unit converter will be something to make me motivated along the way.
Two month later, my first App hit the store! and it was fascinating experience by itself. I have to say that I didn’t know much about the strategies and tactics of a successful App launch (I will try to write something about that experience later on). I’ve kept enhancing and releasing updates to my first App to put more knowledge into action, and to learn more along the way.
Few months later, I realised that many of my App users use mainly the currency conversion feature of the App. So I said to myself why not make a seperate Currency Converter App with much more features, and also focus on intuition, usability, and simplicity. And indeed released my Currency Converter App back in July 2014. And again that allowed me to learn more along the way. Specially that having more than one App can open the door for cross-promotion techniques.
Writing code for iOS is really enjoying and fulfilling for any developer. But coding knowledge is not enough to make successful Apps and make some money from it. To make money from Apps means that you need to think like a business person. I will try to write more about this topic later on. But for now, I want to make it clear that making good money from Apps is indeed an entrepreneur journey with all the meaning of this word.
Finally, thank you for reading about my experience from learning iOS development to releasing Apps. Let me know if you are through the same experience, and if I can help along the way. Also your opinion is very important to me if you had a chance to try out any of my Free Apps (Unit Converter & Currency Converter).