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HeadFirst iPhone Development: Chapter 1

Chapter One was 35 pages long, but it took a lot longer to get through than we had anticipated. It wasn’t because the material was difficult. It was because “reading about something” and “doing it” are two very different things 🙂

The first chapter was about getting the iPhone SDK environment set up on the Mac, building a very simple app, and getting it to run on the iPhone simulator. Along the way, we learned some of the requirements about programming for the mobile platform (memory, screen, etc…), the SDK (IDE, xCode, etc..), and the iPhone (simulation limitations, UI, etc…).

Getting the iPhone SDK loaded and the xCode programming environment up and running was not a problem. The one requirement was that the iPhone SDK will ONLY work on an Intel-based Mac. We have managed to get it to run on a PowerPC-based machine in the past, but keeping it running every time there is an update to the SDK was not really worth the effort. For those really interested in building iPhone apps, spend the $500 and get a Mac mini or a used Intel-based MacBook Pro. It will save you a lot of hassles. For those for whom this expenditure would be a deal-breaker, perhaps you should consider programmng for the Android platform of the new Google phone.

Chapter One took us by the hand and walked us through all of the steps needed to build our first iPhone app. It explained what was happening each step of the way in a clear and conversational fashion. We felt we had personal tutor with us the entire time! We found it especially helpful to have some of the more novel concepts (ie: IBAction vs IBOutlet) explained in a few different ways.

Even with all the great explanations, we did get stuck in trying to “hook up” one of the interface controls via Interface Builder (IB). It took us a while to figure out that just bringing up the the item on the menu list, but NOT clicking on it, was insufficient to tell IB to select that item. Once we got past that problem (30 minutes later) we sailed through the rest of the chapter without any snags.

It was quite an education to have actually gotten a iPhone app to work rather than just reading about building it. We will allocate more time for the remaining chapters from here on out.

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