How to Develop an App for the iPad

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You can develop an app for the iPad in two ways. If you have a background in an object-oriented programming language such as C++ or Java, you can enroll in Apple's iOS Developer Program or purchase the iOS SDK (Software Developer Kit) and begin developing an app from a Mac OS X computer. Without programming experience or access to a Mac computer, you can develop a Web app. Less functional but easier for non-programmers to develop, Web apps are HTML-based Web pages customized for Safari, the iPad's native Web browser.

Developing an iOS App

  • Read the Apple iOS Application Programming Guide to get an understanding of the iOS architecture and the basics for developing an app. This guide is helpful for developing apps for both the iPhone and iPad.

  • Review the benefits of joining the Apple iOS Developer Program. You will get access to tutorials, sample code, a free copy of the Apple iOS 4 SDK and other benefits. You will also be able to upload your app to the Apple App Store. The program cost is $99 per year as of April 2011.

  • Download the Apple iOS 4 SDK from the Apple App Store. At the time of publication, the cost is $4.99 and requires Mac OS X version 10.6.6 or later. The SDK is not available for Windows.

  • Learn iOS programming by taking a course, enrolling in a workshop or studying books. Materials on developing apps for the iPhone may also be helpful. Skills that you acquire developing apps for the iPhone will help you develop an iPad app because both devices use the same operating system and developer tools.

Developing a Web App

  • Sketch out a "To Do" list of what you want to achieve with your iPad app. Then, decide whether you can achieve these goals with a Web app.

  • Review the benefits of joining Apple's free Safari Developer Program. This will give you access to the Safari Developer Library, sample code, tutorials and other tools to help you develop Web apps for the iPad.

  • Study Apple's guidelines on preparing Web content for the iPad. This document includes detailed instructions on topics such as how to use W3C standards instead of plug-ins, how to modify CSS code (cascading style sheets) and how to prepare your Web app for the iPad touch interface.

  • Study and use online tutorials for developing Web apps written by experienced Web app developers, available from Apple and other websites.

  • Upload your finished Web app to your website and test it using an iPad.

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