A How to Guide on Developing an iOS App on a Windows PC
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While there's no official solution for developing apps for iPhone SDK on Windows, the app development community has been continuously working on finding easy-to-implement alternatives for the same. So, if you too are an iOS app developer , have an app idea and are keen on developing an iOS app on your Windows PC, this is a post for you. In this post, I'll be offering you a handy guide on developing iOS apps on a Windows PC.
Pre-requisite for developing an iOS app on a Windows PC
Well, you just require a PC with a Dual Core Intel processor with at least 4GB of RAM for being able to create an iOS app on your personal computer. It's recommended to have a Hackintosh which would allow you to run OS X on any unsupported personal computer.
Now, let's get straightaway to the steps associated with creation of an iOS application on a PC
Step 1- Install a virtual PC application with Mac OS
As someone who's serious about iOS Application Development, you can use a suitable free, open source virtualization software like VirtualBox for simulating the installation of Mac OS X on Windows. Here, you'll also require a copy of Mac OS X which can be easily purchased from Apple Store.
Step 2- Install XCode on your OS X virtual machine or Hackintosh
Irrespective of whether you've chosen a Hackintosh or HAVE installed the Mac OS X on your Windows PC, its time to install XCode.Well, Xcode is basically an IDE(Integrated Development Environment) created by Apple, specially for iphone application development. This IDE includes everything that you need for developing an iOS application.
Step 3- Sign up for an Apple Developer account
Now that you've installed OS X and Xcode, you'll be required to signup for an Apple Developer account, followed by creation of some basic files. For creating an Apple Development account, you'll require a special certificate. Well, there are two different types of Certificates and Provisioning Profiles viz: Development- used for testing the app, and Production- used for submitting the app to the desired app store.
Now, if you already have an access to OS X, then you can easily create a Certificate Signing Request(CSR) using Keychain Access app. However, if you don't have OS X access, then you'll be required to run different commands and get an access to Apple Developer Program.
Just follow the below steps for creating a Certificate:
Step 1- Open Keychain Access and Request a Certificate
As per this step, you'll be required to create a file which will link the computer system to Xcode development and distribution. Just click on Keychain Access-> Certificate Assistant-> Request a Certificate from a Certificate Authority. The screen-shot for this is shown below:
Step 2- Enter the Certificate Information
Now, on the Certificate Information Page, you need to enter a User Email Address, a common name for your file and select the radio-button for 'Saved to disk' if you want to save the certificate request to your computer system. Finally, click on 'Continue' button to navigate to the next page. Screen-shot for this step is shown below:
Step 3- Upload the Certificate Signing Request to Apple Developer portal
After having registered on Apple Developer, you just need to click on “Certificates, Identifiers & Profiles” as shown in below screen-shot:
After this, click on Certificates as shown in below screen-shot:
Step 4- Choose a specific type of certificate
While there is a large majority of certificate styles, you need to select one Development Certificate and one Production Certificate. While the former type will be used for testing the apps, the latter one would allow you to upload your iOS app to iTunes. Have a look at below screen-shot:
In the above screen-shot, the greyed out Certificate area means that you have already created the limit. Now, you can click on Certificate type available towards the left sidebar, followed by revoking one or more certificates.
Next, you'll be required to upload Certificate Signing Request. Have a look at below screen-shot:
On the above screen, click 'Continue' for uploading the Cerificate Signing Request and further click on 'Generate' tab as shown below:
Step 5- Download and open the Certificate
Now that you've generated your certificate, it's time to download and save the same to your computer system. The screen-shot for this step is shown below:
After having saved the certificate, find it amongst the list of other certificates stored in your system and double click on it. Here is the screen-shot for the same:
Likewise, if you're interested in creating another certificate i.e. Development Certificate, then simply follow the above steps with 'Development Certificate' chosen in place of 'Distribution Certificate'.
Submitting your iOS app to the App Store
Now that you're done with creating your iOS app, it's time to submit it to the App Store. Well, if you have a Hackintosh or OS X virtual machine, then the process just takes about 2 minutes, but if you don't have any of the two, then things can get a bit complex. To upload an app from Windows PC to iTunes Connect, you can use a program called Application Uploader- available only on Macs.
Here's hoping the above guideline would definitely prove handy the next time you're about to start building applications for the iOS mobile platform.
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