Developing Apps for iPad: Tips and Guides

expert in app development take a look at the iPad from a business angle and share with you tips and guidelines on how to design applications for the Apple’s famous tablet.
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App Building Platforms

There are three possible ways to bring an iPad app to life:
  • To create a native application by yourself, signing up for the Apple Developer Program. The annual fee is £60, paying which you will get an access to a large amount of developer tools and beta releases of the newer versions of the iOS before the are available to public.
  • Another option is to use a platform or a constructor for building mobile applications. However, it is most likely that you will require a mac to use it, since Apple’s tools are available only for Macs (the chances that Apple releases Xcode for Windows are the same as Microsoft launching Visual Studio for Macs).
  • And to ask about iPad app development the professional team. We will explain in details all 3 solutions below.

Mac or OS X Emulators

Of course, there are ways to run OS X on non-Apple computers using emulators or virtual machines, but to do this you will violate Apple's licence conditions. If you have never had any experience working with such software, it can be really challenging. In this case, it will be much easier to buy a second-hand Mac Mini for a couple of hundred pounds, as this kind of hardware is typically enough for developing apps for iPad. Many programmers who now C++ expect Objective-C to be similar, but actually it is not.

Designing Apps for iPads in Objective-C

Moreover, there is an even bigger problem - the Objective-C programming language. Many programmers who now C++ expect Objective-C to be similar, but actually it is not. Some coders claim that it incorporate the worst bits of C and the ugliest bits of Smalltops at a time, however harsh this may sound. One can be an expert in C++, but when it comes to Apple’s frameworks, you are required to have an in-depth knowledge of Objective-C to work with the iPad’s graphical user interface and other tools.

Challenges of Objective-C

Someone who has experience programming in C++ will denote that Objective-C lacks constructors and destructors, which can pose some troubles for a first-timer, because you will have to perform many actions manually. Moreover, it has only one namespace, so it is not possible to create public and private objects. Many developers feel that it is like going back to old-school coding. Apart from learning Objective-C, the aspiring developer will need to learn Cocoa, Apple’s application programming interface laying the foundation for all iOS apps, which is fundamentally different from programming on Windows (not surprisingly, given the huge difference between iPads and tablets running on Windows in general).

Platforms for Developing Apps for iPad

If there is no plan to spend money on new devices and learn a new programming language and framework, you can take advantage of a platform for iPad app design. The leading iPad development platforms are Flash, Unity 3D and Stonetrip ShiVa3D, the latter ones being designed primarily to create games but can be used for other types of applications too. Moreover, they allow to develop apps in Windows environment and then transfer it to iPad.

The Disadvantages of Third-Party App Building Tools

App building platforms may sound cool, but you should be aware that this option is not recommendable for high-profile projects and projects with large teams or budgets because of the Apple’s strict approval process. At the beginning, Apple allowed to publish apps developed with third-party tools, but after a while they banned such apps, causing a confrontation with Adobe only to finally allow Flash and similar types of apps once again to meet the demands of EU regulators. So be careful, there are no guarantees that Apple will not ban apps developed with third-party tools again. Nothing lasts forever, and given the complexity of the iOS app development process and app approval, there is no need to invest into a Unity or Flash-based product only to finish with nothing.

Professional iPad Design Services

As you can see, developing iPad apps is a complex tasks that requires a great amount of skills and expertise, so if you do not have enough knowledge of the internet technologies, your business can rely on our team of professional iPad developers. We will provide you with valuable advice and help you build a top-notch mobile solution that will perfectly fit into your business and appeal to your customers.
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Web-based Applications
The third solutions is a bit easier, but not so obvious - develop a web-based application. The iPad has a pre-installed web browser Safari that brilliantly supports CSS and JavaScript. Needless to say, anyone will hardy build the next gaming hit like Angry Birds, but its capacity will be enough to develop an efficient business application without too much hype.Web-based apps are not necessarily run in browsers - you can launch it in fullscreen mode, so that the address bar and other attributes of the browser will not be visible, and utilise Webkit CSS to make it look and feel exactly like a native iOS app. Users can interact with the app using gestures like touch, swipe and click, as well as put its icon on their home screen. And the best part is that you can design your web-based app to work without internet connection. There are many tutorials on developing browser apps using JavaScript, so we will not go into technical details - just google it, if it seems like the best option for you.
The Specifics of Developing Apps for iPad
However, there are some specifics of web-based development for iPad that you should be aware of when programming an iPad HTML-based application or an app that you want to be accessed only by users with iPads. First of all, there is no possibility to use Fash. There is a chance that Apple and Adobe will make up, but meanwhile nothing forebodes this to happen, so Flash is not an option for iPad development.
Two-finger Scrolling
The mechanics of scrolling separate blocks and containers is another iPad trick - a standard swipe gesture launches the window.scroll() event in Safari, which makes the entire page scroll rather than just a particular piece of content. Actually, there is a special gesture unique for iPad - a two-finger scroll, which does exactly what has been described above but, as a matter of fact, few tablet users know about the feature, so we would advise to refrain from using a text block scrolling at least for important content.
Tapping vs Hovering
To add more, you should keep in mind that you cannot create a proper mouse-driven control in iOS interfaces, as well as on other touchscreen devices in general. The reasons behind this are absolutely understandable: the device knows where your finger is at the moment when a user touches the screen, which, at the same time, performs a “click”. Nevertheless, there are many hacks that can help you get around this because the Safari browser for mobile devices has an event similar to the onmouseover one. But given the fact that is not really a mouse hover and is performed with a fast tap, which can be tricky and hard to explaining, we would also recommend to avoid it. As you see, touchscreen devices are not built to work with mouse, so keep this in mind when building an interface for your iPad app. Touchscreens are all about tapping the display, not mouse hovering.
CSS Positioning
Something else to pay attention to is CSS fixed positioning - you have to specify exact viewport x,y coordinates for an object on the page instead of letting the browser do the layout. Be aware that this has nothing to do with absolute positioning, in which you need to specify the exact coordinates of a page where to place an object. As for a fixed positioning, it is used to fix an object relative to the browser window, so that the object stays in the same place when you scroll it: it is typically utilised for footers, headers, navigation, etc.
Native vs Web vs App-building Platform
We have discussed the three possibility of iPad app creation, namely a native app, a web app and an pp developed with an app building platform, but which one to choose in the end? Any professional developer will tell to go for a native app without a doubt, because while you will have to spend much more on native development, a quality application published in App Store can bring much more income than the app’s initial budget.