The Evolution of an iOS Developer over the Years

Despite having a lower global market share than Android, iOS is hugely popular among mobile app developers and marketers. As a number of reports have highlighted, Apple App Store has a higher number of paid mobile apps than Google Play Store. Also, a large percentage of iOS users indulge in mobile commerce transactions. That is why; many popular apps are initially designed for Apple’s mobile operating system. But iOS app become challenging as Apple frequently updates iOS to deliver richer and better user experience.

The developers have to create apps that enable users to take advantage of the new features included in the latest version of the mobile operating system. At the same time, they must explore ways to get higher returns by building a flawless app and reducing time to market. Thus, the seasoned iOS app developers have to update their skills and adopt new technologies on a regular basis. At the same time, the new programmers must understand how the seasoned iOS app developers have evolved over the years.

How iOS App Developers have been evolving over the Years?

Keeping Track of the Latest Version of iOS
Initially iOS was released by Apple in 2007 for iPhone. The mobile operating system was subsequently extended to iPod touch and iPad. Thus, each seasoned iOS developers have to keep track of the most recent version of iOS, and the types of devices it powers. Apple has been updating the mobile operating system regularly to deliver richer user experience. Likewise, it also introduced several models of iPhone and iPod within a few years. So the seasoned developers have to wait eagerly for Apple Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) each year to know the new features added to iOS, and the new devices powered by it.

Working with Xcode
In 2003, Apple released the first stable version of Xcode. As an integrated development environment (IDE), Xcode 6.4 included several tools to effectuate development of applications for iOS and OS X. However, Apple announced a completely revamped Xcode 4 in June 2010. The version 4 of Xcode included a single application that consisted of Xcode editing tools and Interface Builder. The integration resulted in a different but better work flow. Recently Apple announce version 6 of Xcode with a new programming language (Swift) and live debugging tools. So registered iOS app developers have to download the latest version of Xcode, and take advantage of its new features to deliver mobile apps.

Understanding Core Cocoa Touch Patterns
The developers are also required to use Cocoa Touch to create software programs for iPhone, iPad and iPod touch. As a user interface framework, Cocoa Touch was designed specifically and explicitly for iOS. In addition to providing an abstract layer for the mobile operating system, Cocoa Touch further supported model-view-controller (MVC) architecture. So developers over the year have to understand the key features of Cocoa Touch including multitasking, core animation, and gesture recognizers. At the same time, they also had to learn how to use the different frameworks provided by the UI framework for creating a variety of software for iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch. For instance, developers have to learn Foundation Kit Framework, GameKit Framework, UIKit Framework, iAd Framework or MapKit Framework according to the type and requirements of each iOS applications.

Writing Apps in Objective-C
After acquiring NeXT in 1996, Apple made Objective-C the primary language for writing applications for iOS devices. So iOS app developers have to learn the programming language which is considered to be a superset of, and adds object-oriented capabilities to the C programming language. Objective-C further borrowed syntax, primitive types and flow control statements from the source language. However, several changes in the syntax make programmers to declare classes and methods in a different way. The programmers familiar with C programming language easily switched to Objective-C, while others have to learn a new programming language for writing iOS apps. However, Apple announced a new programming language called Swift that would replace Objective-C.

Switching to Swift Programming Language
In 2014, Apple announced a new programming language for iOS development called Swift. Along with being a complied programming language, Swift also works with both Cocoa and Cocoa Touch frameworks. At the same time, Swift becomes more flexible by following several core concepts of Objective-C. It further helps programmers to avoid common coding mistakes made while writing iOS apps in Objective-C. The announcement made by Apple resulted in a steady decline in the popularity of Objective-C, along with a sharp increase in the popularity of Swift. Many seasoned iOS developers have already switched to the new programming language, and started writing iOS apps in Swift.

Concentrating on Different User Experience
In the initial stages, iOS developers have to create apps for iPhone and iPod touch. After Apple launched iPad in April 2010, it became essential for developers to focus on different screen sized and interaction options of these devices running on a single platform. In addition to having a larger screen than iPhone, iPad further extended and shortened user interaction. So while developing iOS apps, the programmers have to keep in mind the screen size, user interaction options, and user experience of each device. With Apple launching new versions of iPhone and iPad at regular intervals, the seasoned iOS developers have to explore ways to make their app deliver richer user experience across these devices.

Taking Advantage of iOS Development Tools
Apple provides a variety of tools that help developers to effectuate and speed up iOS app development. But developers still use a number of third-party tools and frameworks to reduce development time significantly. For instance, they can effectuate iOS screen designing using tools like pttrns, Cocoa Controls, TappGala, Dribbble and Capptivate. Likewise, they can create quick mock up of the iOS app using Briefs or Mocks, along with using a number of drawing tools like Sketch and Acorn. Also, they also have option to replace Xcode with IDEs like AppCode or Vim. They can even extend Xcode using plug-ins like xvim, OMColorSense, CocoaPods Xcode Plugin, and Code Runner. As the iOS development tools were introduced over a period of time, the developers have to choose and use the right tools available in the market.

Unlike Google, Apple allows users to switch to the latest version of iOS without changing their existing mobile devices. Also, the developers need to ensure that the app runs flawlessly on different versions of iPhone, iPad and iPod touch. Thus, it becomes easier for developers to create mobile apps by focusing on the most recent version of iOS. However, they must test the app thoroughly to ensure that it is flawless, and delivers richer user experience.

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