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How to Develop an iOS app for your Website

startApple is one of the most successful corporations of this century. They have been pioneers in the industry, always showing the way for the competition to follow. They have been responsible for revolutionary products like the macbook, iPhone, iPod and the iPad.

More and more consumers are now picking apple products over those of the competition. This has as much to do with superior technology as the ңoolҠfactor that has come to be associated with Apple devices over the years. The tablet market was a creation of Apple and understandably so, they hold most of the market in that segment. In 2012, 63.5% of the devices sold so far in this category were iOS devices. The real war is being fought over in the smart phone market. Even there, Apple holds 32% of the market. That's a very significant number. All in all, 47.04 million iOS devices have been sold so far in Q1, 2012.

 

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The App Industry - Some Statistics

Another market that is showing immense growth is the app market. Apps or application software are programs that are geared towards a specific purpose. It could be an airline booking app, a trading app or even a small game. With a huge number of electronic devices being sold and with the increasing desire of people to become more mobile, apps is just what the doctor ordered. Apps are easy to download and install because of their small size.

The app economy accounts for over $20 billion in annual revenues. It also helps support around 466,000 jobs in USA. These figures just go on to show that apps are in high demand, mostly because of their portability, ease of use, attractive UI design and interactive nature. Investing in producing such apps for your corporation makes good business sense. And with iOS cornering such a huge chunk of the market, it makes even more sense to prioritize making an iOS version of your app.

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Benefits of Investing in an App

As you may have understood by now, the app economy is very big and growing at a rapid pace. In digital age, the profits made by your company will depend upon how many number of people you are able to attract as traffic to your website. The more number of people visits your website, the more your sales will be. Now, consider the figures put before you in the previous section and ponder over the number of people who own a smart phone - particularly those with an iPhone or an iPad.

By making an iOS app for your website you will be making your website more accessible and more attractive to that particular segment of your consumers which is sizable by any standards. At least, a decent fraction of those people will eventually become your customers and increase your business.

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Differences between native apps and web apps

An iOS web app is basically a website that is specially optimized to work on the iPhone and iPad. The website or the app can be anything a converter, a calculator or even a scheduler. The defining characteristics of a web app are the use of web standard technologies such as HTML, CSS and JavaScript.

Unlike native apps, web apps are not downloaded and installed, nor are they available on the iTunes store. Unlike native apps they are not built using objective C.

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Web Apps for iOS

The ability of the iPhone or iPad to always stay online has made the line between native apps and web apps quite bleary. While making web apps, you will have to build your own UI and not use preexisting standard UI supplied by Apple. But on the other hand, a web app will not limit you to building on just the iOS platform.

You can use your current authoring skills and not need to learn new languages. You can also fix bugs in real time. There are also some little-known features of the iPhone, which allow you to use web apps as native apps. There are also several third party projects underway which will allow web developers to package web apps as native apps for the iPhone or iPad.

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Getting Ready

You need to understand that just making an app wonӴ cut it. You are not making an offline app but an online app which will be housed within your website. These apps will interact with your customers and will expect data. You need to make sure that you have a supporting server that the iOS device can interact with. You also need to have storage devices especially dedicated to storing all the data that the app will bring in.

In case the app requires an authentication/login, data needs to be checked from an existing database that also needs a storage device. Secondly, even before you proceed to the actual development of the app, you need to have the API ready. API stands for Application Program Interface. API can be looked upon as a set of rules and definitions that govern how the rest of the development is to be done. Through APIӳ you define your data models and business rules. You can set input parameters for your business logic and manage how data models interact with each other at the occurrence of an event. To put it bluntly, an API shows a fully functional website. It has all the functionalities that you would require in your app. But it does not have good UI capabilities yet, nor does it have a graphical view. Interface Design You need to decide if you will be using standard user interface components or whether you will be going in for customized UI components.

The architecture of the entire app will depend on how you want the interface to be and how you want the functionality of the app to be. Simple changes to the UI design will need substantial change in code and hence the interface design needs to be decided by you right from the very start. Tightly Integrated Code Websites can afford to have a multiple number of pages to display whatever information on links that need to be displayed. You can create new pages and add links to those pages on the main page. However, that is not possible in iOS apps because of the structure of the code. Everything needs to be displayed in a very coherent and integrated manner on a single page. The way that coding in iOS apps is done can be equated to how electronics engineers make breadboard circuits ֠everything is hardwired. You can make changes here and there but if these changes are executed in the wrong segment of the code, everything might stop working.

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Frameworks Over the past few years, noticing the rapid rise of the App Economy, several frameworks have been released to help iOS developers in developing web apps. Most of these frameworks have a fully developed API that you can use. Most of them are based on typical web technologies such as JavaScript and its libraries such as jQuery.

A good framework can save you plenty of time. You won't need to scratch your head every time there is an error message. You won't have to worry about user authentication or data sanitization either. The API takes care of all that. Using these frameworks, you can save considerable time and resources that would have been spent in developing your own API. On the other hand though, you may not have everything that you need in these frameworks and necessity may dictate that you work on building your own API and app. 

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