Developing an iPhone Application From Scratch

iPhone SDKOk, so I’ve been inspired by recent news articles of people writing iPhone apps and retiring at the age of 25. I figured I might as well try it out. First I’ll give you some background on what I already know, which isn’t a ton. I started programming basic when I was between 5 and 10. Can’t remember exactly but I remember writing my little programs and saving them to a 5.25 inch floppy disk. As things moved on I went through all the versions of Windows but never really wrote anything since Basic until the internet came a long and then started doing html. I did a lot of the basic stuff, a lot of it I still use today and some I probably shouldn’t :) Recently I’ve learned some php and css thanks to WordPress. I’ve always worked with PCs until the iPhone but working with jailbreaking and some of the hacking, I’ve learned the file structure of OS X.

I was always against most programming because I hate math. I still don’t really know how much I’m going to need but either way I’m going to give programming iPhone apps a shot. I started looking through Apple’s Developer site to see what I needed to know and kept reading I would need to learn C programming. I also recently heard about a class that Stanford University is publishing online for free about iPhone application development. While reading their syllabus I read again I would need to know how to program in C. I was getting discouraged but though I’d check it out.

I quickly noticed the structure of C is a lot like php. Of course that’s because php is written in C. That made me feel better! I’m really in the very beginning stages and I’m doing this all on my own. I’m not sure how far I’ll make it but there’s only one way to find out.

I’m sure there are a lot of you out there that are in the same boat as me. Maybe you’re a little farther ahead or are thinking about getting started so I thought I’d share some of the resources I’ve found and keep you posted on my progress. Here is a list of stuff I’ve found. If you have something better, please post it in the comments.

iPhone 2.2.1 Dev Kit from Apple (you have to sign in to get the download link) (3.0 is $99)
Online class from Stanford University called iPhone Application Development
Online Tutorial of C programming
My Delicious tag “iphonedev” where I will share these and more links in the future

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  1. Adam Reineke says

    Well Doug, I’ll start developing again in a month once school gets out.

  2. I’m pretty much in the same boat as you. I bought a few books and have started reading them, but I have to know C, which I know nothing about. Heck, I know NO programming of any kind. BUT, I’m still in the process of reading the iPhone Dev book that I bought. Some parts had me type some lines of code into Xcode, but I was clueless as to what it meant.

    Thanks for “Online Tutorial of C Programming” link. I need that one :).

  3. Hey Doug,

    As an iPhone Developer all I can say is stick with it. At one point everything will just click and you’ll start to understand stuff. But, even as things make sense, there will always be more to learn. If you need any help feel free to contact me, I’d be glad to help out.

    • Zachery Burley says


      I read your post and decided to ask you if you know about any courses that I could take?

      Is there anything I can do to speed up the process from beginners level?

      Any info would be great!


  4. Hey Doug,

    Here’s a great collection of links to get you started.

    Also, you will want to be looking at learning Objective-C, not C.

  5. Ye i bought the iphone Dev book and am finding it very good,simple to follow and you will get to develope simple apps but its what i needed cause i had no experience of c.

  6. “I quickly noticed the structure of C is a lot like php. Of course that’s because php is written in C.”

    Bless. :)

    You should find C easier in some respects compared to PHP, the latter really is a god awful language, which borrows syntax and ideas from so many other places. Sometimes I find it so bad, I wonder if somehow Microsoft where involved in writing it.

  7. Dustin James says

    Beginning iPhone Development Exploring The iPhone SDK is a great book.

  8. For those app developers that don’t know Objective-C and Cocoa Touch and don’t want to outsource development, check out localbeacon at Great for those who want to build just one app or developers interested in white label.

  9. Wow! Your story is very similar to my own. I am looking to learn how to create iPhone/iPod/iPad apps as well. Have you heard of and if so, what is your opinion about their classes vs. Stanford’s courses?

  10. Well i think you may be a bit further ahead of myself with the epxerience it sounds like you’ve had, but i am just finishing my CompTIA+ degree at college which involves coding and other things and im really interested in the idea of creating my own programs. Especially ones to sell ! I have made myself an application on the blackberry which allows me to lock certain apps on there, rather than locking the whole phone which it only allows. I havent got an iphone myself to experiment on but if i get my hands on one it may be quite similar as a blackberry..

  11. harinadh says

    Hai sir i have one question that is what knowledge we require to develop an iphone application

  12. I need where I can start from to start writing Apple Apps, but I really don’t know what to start from. I really want to get started. I am coming from a python background, and I really don’t know what to start from. I am about leaping into php prgramming so that I can be familiar with the web programming and make something good out of it. Please i need help from one of you guys. Thanks and goodbye.


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