New App Release: How to be a Ninja Spy for iOS

March 20, 2014 in App Development, Mobile Apps

I have been busy reskinning one of the first source codes I bought. I have found that repetition in reskinning this particular source code has helped me understand the whole reskinning process better. My latest app release on the iOS App Store is called “How to be a Ninja Spy”. It’s based on a source code sold by Austin Church called “Random Facts Generator” or sometimes known as the “Jokes Source Code”.

How to be a Ninja Spy App

I got my start in app development by reskinning this code and “How to be a Ninja Spy” is my fourth reskin using the Random Facts Generator source code. Even though this code is simple, it’s probably still going to be difficult for anyone who has not reskinned an app before. In the beginning, I was thinking “how hard could it be to reskin since the code comes with complete printed instructions”?

I have to admit that was quite lost when I first started but thanks to a video course on Udemy specifically created for this code, I was able to completely reskin this code on my own and make subsequent versions too! It helped me with all the initial set up from getting my devices and apps registered with Apple all the way to uploading and publishing the finished app. The printed instructions don’t go over all the processes on the Apple side of things so the video course was really helpful with that part. Just FYI, the video course and source code are available separately.

Here are some screenshots from my newest reskin. I don’t spend any money on graphics since I’m well versed in Photoshop. I actually enjoy creating all the graphics myself.

How to be a Ninja Spy app

Please check out “How to be a Ninja Spy” in the Apple App Store when you get a chance!

App Dev 8: My First iOS App is Live in the Apple App Store

January 6, 2014 in App Development, Mobile Apps

Fortune Cookie Reader App IconIt seems like it was ages ago when I started the process of developing an iPhone app but I can proudly say that I have accomplished it! My first iOS app has been approved and is now available on the Apple App Store. Right from the beginning, there was a major delay that took 2 months to resolve regarding the registration of my company with Apple. You can read all about my ordeal here.

But shortly after that, I started working on my app and finished it without having to hire a programmer. I was able to do this by buying and reskinning an existing source code. My app is called Fortune Cookie Reader and it’s a very simple app that generates a few lines of text in a designated area of the screen. It’s also a universal app for iPhone, iPad and Retina devices.

Fortune Cookie Reader is available free in the app store. If you get a chance, please download here on the iTunes App Store and let me know what you think! This app basically displays fortune messages like you’d find in a typical fortune cookie. I created all the graphics myself and curated all the fortune messages.

You might be asking how I’m giving this app away for free? This app is fully monetized with ad networks and several In App Purchases. This is how I plan on publishing all my apps… under the freemium pricing model. I figure I’ll get more downloads if the app is free. Then I’ll let all the internal monetization do the work. Read the rest of this entry →

App Dev 7: Reskinning My First iOS App Source Code

December 31, 2013 in App Development, Mobile Apps

iPhone-App-DevelopmentAfter a 2 month delay trying to register my company in the Apple Developer Program, my application was finally accepted! If you’re interested in the process I went through as well as all the email communications I had with Dun & Bradstreet and Apple Dev Support, click here to read my previous app development post.

This is an exciting time because I am very close to finishing my first iOS app. Earlier this year, this goal of mine seemed like it would never happen or would cost tons of money. But by going the route of reskinning apps, I only spent $99 on this project. My original budget was $500 because that’s what I thought I had to spend at a minimum!

For now, I’m moving forward and completing the reskin of my first app. I had originally bought two source codes to reskin:

Both of these codes are from Austin Church over at BrightNewt.com. I started with Best Jokes because the Viva Stampede code is still being updated to be universal (for iPhone and iPad) and compatible for iOS7. The Jokes app is a very simple one because I could use a lot of the existing graphics in it. However, I wanted my app to look completely different so I changed all the graphic files in the app.

iTunes Connect Screenshot

Complete customization of this source code was more work than I originally thought. Overall, there were more graphic files and time needed to do a complete custom look. All the buttons and backgrounds needed 2 (and sometimes 3) versions for all the different devices and resolutions. I’m proficient in Photoshop but even then, I felt like it took longer than I expected. Part of it could be that I’m just new to the whole app development thing. I’m having to figure everything out as I go along.

How I Did It Without Hiring a Programmer

I’m not a programmer and don’t know anything about Objective C. But I do know that I could not have realistically reskinned this app without the help of a video course I found on Udemy.com. Read the rest of this entry →

App Dev 5: Buying a Mac for iOS App Development

September 17, 2013 in App Development

iPhone App DevelopmentI’ve been a Windows user for over 15 years but because I’m going to start developing iOS apps, it’s time to move back to the Mac platform. In fact, it’s required to have a Mac to upload apps to the iTunes store. Plus, the required software called Xcode only runs on a Mac. I didn’t really need a new computer because my current PC laptop has been enough to run my business up until now. But if I want to complete my goal of developing an iPhone app, I had to get my own Mac.

When it came down to shopping for a Mac, I had several options. First, there was the form factor. Each form factor has it’s advantages depending on what other functions I need it to do but the two to consider are:

  • Desktop
  • Laptop

For me, the only option was a laptop because I wanted to be portable. And I decided long ago that I would never own a desktop again. Still, for a little bit, I did consider a desktop option with the Mac Mini. Macs cost more than PCs and the Mac Mini was really the most inexpensive option when it shopping for a Mac computer. At around $600, I could’ve been all set but I would’ve been tied to a stationary desk connected to AC, monitor and external keyboard. But if budget is a concern, the Mac Mini is a viable choice.

My next option was to buy used. When I was comparing MacBooks, buying used was cheaper but at times it wasn’t that much cheaper than buying new. I searched my local Craigslist page and found lots of used MacBooks for sale. But the prices weren’t as low as I thought they were going to be. Also, a lot of the MacBooks were older models and would require some upgrades before I could even install Xcode.

But I also ran into several ads that seemed kinda scammy and the thought of meeting a stranger that knows I have $600+ cash in my pocket was an unsettling thought. I know there are trustworthy people out there but I didn’t want to risk being scammed or buying computer that might break right after I take it home. Read the rest of this entry →

App Dev 4: Buying Source Code For Sale and Reskinning Apps

August 21, 2013 in App Development

iPhone App DevelopmentI think it was in the post called App Dev 2 where I laid out the guidelines I wanted to follow when planning my first app. Over the course of the year, I’ve been thinking about building my own app but it wasn’t until July that I decided to get serious about it. You see, my goal is to have my first app in the App Store by November. Now it is in the middle of August and I still haven’t made any efforts to set this goal into motion.

So what have I been doing instead of developing my app idea? I’ve been doing a lot of research. This involves reading lots of blogs and listening to podcasts. I should be a bit stressed about getting my first app built by my deadline but I’m not really too concerned about it. In fact, I’m glad it took me this long to dive into app development.  And that’s where my plans are changing ever so slightly.

This is because all my research has uncovered a way where I can essentially accomplish my app development goals in a simpler way. It’s gotten me really excited because I will be able to create multiple apps in a much shorter time frame than I orignially planned… and at a much lower cost! But to recap, here are the original guidelines I set forth earlier this year:

  • It has to be simple to execute
  • I will create the graphics
  • Outsource programming for under $500
  • The app structure/template needs to be reusable
  • Uploaded to iTunes by November 2013

When I look back at that list, little did I know how exact I was going to be able to follow my guidelines. The only modification I’m making to my list is the part about outsourcing the programming. I will not need a programmer (I think). Oh, and one more thing. I was originally going to develop utility and reference type apps but I’ve thrown that idea out the door. Instead, I’m now going to develop games which on the surface, seems much more difficult and time consuming. But I’m telling you it is not! Read on to learn more. Read the rest of this entry →

App Dev 3: 30+ Ways To Make Your Mobile App A Success

May 6, 2013 in App Development

iPhone App DevelopmentI’ve only been working on my app project for a couple of weeks now but I have been thinking about it for much longer than that! Since then, I’ve been keeping notes of things that will come in useful when I start building my app. For this post, I thought I’d share the resources I’m using or will possibly use in the future as I attempt to build a successful app development business.

Over time, I will be making updates to this list as I discover more resources that I think you’ll find helpful in your own app development journey!

Source Codes with Video Tutorials

I am following the practice of reskinning apps. It keeps costs down and I don’t have to know programming. However, there are a few technical related tasks where a little help can go a long way. The following tutorials will help you get started in app development and reskinning. The first course on the list includes a game source code along with the video tutorials that can help you get your first app into the Apple App Store. And in the world of reskinning, the price is extremely low. The Jelly Flow course below is the video instruction and source code for an app that I am personally reskinning at the moment. There are intro videos on each course below that I think you should check out.

Make Your Own iPhone Game in One Day Without Coding (includes Pinball game code)

Make & Publish Your Own iPhone Jelly Flow Game (includes Jelly Flow clone game code)

Reskin Your Own Candy Crush Game (includes Candy Crush clone game code)

Podcasts

These are the podcasts I listen to when I commute back and forth to work. I’ve learned tons of information in the many hours I’ve spent in my car. These are not the only podcasts I listen to but they are the ones that are related to my goal of building an app business. Read the rest of this entry →

App Dev 2: Finding A Killer App Idea And Defining Guidelines

May 5, 2013 in App Development

iPhone App DevelopmentNow that I’ve officially started the process of creating my first iPhone app, it’s time to start brainstorming ideas. This is one aspect of creating apps that could mean stellar sales or no sales at all.

One thing I want to say right off the top, at this time, I’m not revealing the niche or name of the app I’m going to build. This may change later but this is my first time around and I’m still pondering whether I want to reveal all that info. I apologize for that but like building niche sites, it may not be wise for me to introduce competitors for my app. Although it’s possible that when I finish my app, I will be so excited about it that I won’t be able to keep it a secret anymore!

Finding A Great App Idea

Ok, back to the topic of this post. I’ve been doing some research into different types of apps I want to build and to help you understand the process I’m going through, here’s where I’m getting my ideas from:

  • Personal interests
  • My favorite apps
  • The iTunes Store
  • Friends and acquaintances

A lot of this process is similar to the steps I take when I build niche sites… although I’m not very successful at it. But let’s look at each step a little closer. Read the rest of this entry →

App Dev 1: Mobile App Development – My Journey Starts Here

April 29, 2013 in App Development

iPhone App DevelopmentI love mobile apps! Every time I look in the app store, I’m discovering new cool apps I want to put on my phone. In fact, I’m also having to delete apps off my phone on a regular basis to accommodate the new ones I’m installing. So if I have this much fun exploring new apps, other people are too! Which is one of the reasons why I am getting into the mobile app development business. I’ve heard it a thousand times that mobile is where everything is going in the future… I truly believe that!

If you read My 2013 Goals article, you’ll see a number of things I want to accomplish… among those goals is to develop one iPhone app this year. Why an iPhone app? It’s been in the back of my mind for the last couple of years and I’m finally at the point where I’m ready to make this happen. I believe that it goes in-line with the natural progression of my goals, interests and skills. Plus it might be a good source of income in the future! There are 3 things I’ve been able to identify in myself that make me feel confident to go down this path at this time: Read the rest of this entry →