AU2014: Introduction to Apple’s iOS Mobile Development

Posted on December 16, 2014 by Dave Wyer, Synergis Data Management & PLM Solutions Engineer:

I have been developing software on the Windows platform for much of my professional career, but with the presence of iPhones and iPads almost everywhere coupled with Autodesk’s rapid expansion into cloud based applications, I have long known I needed to get up to speed with developing apps for these devices. This class, taught by Adam Nagy of Autodesk, was the perfect bootstrap vehicle for me. He started by explaining that pretty much any Mac PC was adequate to develop iApps on, and that Xcode (which is free) was a great development tool for doing this work. Xcode looks and works a lot like Visual Studio, so I think using it will be a relatively easy transition for me.

Adam also recommended people get an Apple Developer account in order to enable testing on a physical device.

Next he demonstrated developing the traditional “Hello World” application using the Swift language, which is very JavaScript-like. He dragged and dropped a couple controls on Xcode’s iPhone emulator, wired the controls to code blocks, and successfully tested it in the span of about 5 minutes.

Following that, he walked us through some more complex examples. In the first one, he demonstrated how to use WebGL to draw graphics on the screen (just a rectangle in this case), and then built a simple translation app that used a web service to do the heavy lifting.

The translation app was particularly interesting to me because it utilized REST and JSON functionality to communicate with the web service. These technologies are also in play with PLM 360, so I can envision developing custom iOS apps that interact with that product in the future.

Finally, Adam wrapped up the session by briefly explaining the process for deploying apps either internally or by submitting them to Apple to get them published to their App Store.

In the aftermath of this class, I went to an Apple Store near where I live and bought an inexpensive MacBook and an iPad Mini so I can get started into this new application development frontier. In a future blog, I’ll let you know how I fair!

If you want to see the resources available on Autodesk University Online, see them here.

-Dave

David Wyerdavidwyer has over 25 years of CAD experience, eight of which focused on data management and extending the functionality of Autodesk software. David is a member of the Autodesk Developers Network, joining Synergis in 2011. Prior to this, he was a data management applications engineer, responsible for data management and CAD needs analysis and implementation and support relating to these products.

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