What hardware you need, how to install Xcode and unlock the world of Apple programming.
Let’s get the party started but first what should I wear?
The first thing you need to be aware of is that unless you have a Mac, you will not be able to continue this journey. So go buy a Mac (They can be picked up relatively cheap on eBay) Either a Mac mini, MacBook, iMac or Mac Pro all will be sufficient in getting the job done.
The minimum spec for Xcode 9 is
- 1.4 GHz of Intel-Based CPU (Mac)
- 4GB of RAM
Do bear in mind however that the more memory you have the better, Xcode really is a system resource hogger and if you can stretch that little bit more to get an SSD, then do so.
Personally, when I began my journey I started with a mac mini. It did the job, was the cheapest option and allowed me to explore this amazing world on a relatively low budget. Expect to pay around £300 on a mac mini.
Whatever you do, don’t try and install the macOS on a windows based machine. I’ve tried it and a couple of friends thinking they could succeed where I failed. Well, we all came to the same conclusion that it’s a massive fail. Xcode is clunky and you’ll give up trying to program within a week.
Xcode, it’s Apple’s application that unlocks the world of iOS programming. Its free and relatively easy to download.
So if you’ve got your mac machine primed, head over to the AppStore, or click the link below and begin downloading the Xcode IDE.
Well done for getting this far, you’ll probably notice its a relatively big download. Thus this would be a perfect opportunity to introduce you to some key basic terms.
macOS – is the desktop operating system your Mac machine is using. The current version is High Sierra and whats really cool with Apple is that they give you a FREE upgrade to the latest operating system every year.
iOS – is the name given to the operating system on both iPhone and iPad. Think windows for your desktop machine or (shudder) Android for well Android devices such as the Samsung Galaxy series.
watchOS – think iOS but in a watch. Its the name that was given to the operating system on the Apple watch series. It handles notifications and allows you to run smaller condensed native iOS apps.
Swift – This is Apple’s modern programming language. It was released back in 2014 and shook the world of apple development. If you’re coming from another language you’ll first find some of the swift ways confusing but trust me you’ll love almost every aspect this quick to learn, easy to master computer language.
Objective C – Before swift, if you wanted to program in iOS you would learn Objective-C. Much more difficult to learn in comparison to Swift. But its still used today and you’ll find lots of popular frameworks still written in this language.
Cocoa-Touch – Is the name commonly used for Apple’s collection of frameworks. These include UIKit, SceneKit, MapKit, Core Graphics, Core Data and many more frameworks we will discuss later in the blog.
iOS Simulator – is a tool that comes bundled with the Xcode application that mimics actual iOS devices. It enables you to very quickly run, test and see how your app looks on the entire iOS range.
That’s pretty much it for the core basics. If Xcode still hasn’t downloaded/installed. Go make a cup of tea, brush your teeth or simply watch the download progress in eagerness to learn. (You may still have time to do all three)
Once Xcode has successfully installed and you’ve launched it. You should be presented with the below screen
In the next article, I’m going to take you back to your school years and introduce you to the Playground.