How is Apple Mobile Programming Different From Other Mobile Programming?

Apple mobile programmingWhen deciding on a mobile platform to start writing apps for, you’ll want to know how Apple mobile programming is different from other mobile programming. Your two main choices are Apple iOS and Google Android, but there are also some niche platforms like Windows Phone, Blackberry and Raspberry Pi.

The Similarities Between Mobile Platforms

All mobile development frameworks are similar, because they all use high-level programming languages with a standard set of object-oriented software design tools. Apple iOS uses Objective C, while Android uses Java and Windows Phone uses a language called C#, which is unrelated to Objective C, according to Apple. These languages are all focused on dynamic data allocation, type checking and object introversion, in contrast to statically typed languages like C, C++ and its predecessor Smalltalk. Being able to check an object’s type as a program is running makes programming a lot easier, and dynamically allocated data is automatically managed by the runtime environment.

Other than the differences in syntax, there aren’t very many differences in the way iOS, Android and Windows apps are designed. They all use app-building frameworks that take care of setting up a new project and keeping assets organized in a file hierarchy, and they all have official libraries of specially designed code that’s optimized for the platform it runs on. The main way Apple mobile programming is different from other mobile programming is that Apple programmers have to join the iOS Developer program and pay a yearly $99 membership fee.

The Differences Between Android and iOS

The iOS platform is a closed system based on proprietary code, whereas Android is an open-source project that can be adapted to run on any device. Fewer people use iOS than Android, but the number of iPhone and iPad users is still very significant. In other words, if you want to make money as an app developer, you’ll be at a disadvantage without an iOS Developer membership. You can download the development software and iOS toolkit for free, but you have to join the iOS Developer program in order to test your apps and upload them to the App Store.

Of course, to install Xcode and the Cocoa Touch framework, you need a Mac computer with the latest version of OS X. In contrast, Android is compatible with any operating system, and you can build Android apps in any integrated development environment you like. The officially supported IDE is Android Studio, but until recently, it was Eclipse, which still works perfectly well. If you’re a serious programmer with a passionate opinion about the best text editor, you can build Android apps in Vim, Emacs or the editor of your choice.

To build iOS apps outside the Xcode environment requires some extremely ugly hacks, so you’ll have to get used to pointing and clicking with a mouse, as opposed to entering typed commands. Perhaps the biggest benefit of all these restrictions is that iOS apps only need to be tested on a few devices. While Android apps need to work with hundreds of devices and dozens of software versions, iOS apps just need to work with a couple of iPhone and iPad versions.

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Mobile development skills are a must in today’s software industry, and iOS is one of the most popular platforms available. While it’s easier to start writing Android apps, it’s good to know how Apple mobile programming is different than other mobile programming.