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[ This question came up from a post on, and its something I hear a lot, so here is my answer : ]

I think you face the most common problem in history –
“I have an idea, how do I make it real ?”

I think iPhone developers have heard this so many times, its easy to reply abruptly “Ideas are worth nothing!”… but maybe there’s more to this.

Ideas are at the heart of science, music, art, medicine, engineering, equality, democracy, the economy – so ideas clearly aren’t worthless.

But ideas are not enough on their own – you need to dial up the intensity to the point where your willing to do whatever-it-takes to get the job done, to do the work and see it through.

Reading an old but good classic “Think and Grow Rich” it really brings this home.

Back to the iPhone… how would you make your iPhone idea real?

Any competent developer who might help you out, would have a couple of great ideas themselves that they just haven’t had time to implement because they’ve been too busy.

Some options –
– learn to program, develop it yourself
– offer some cash along with equity, in exchange for development help
– take it further in the design stage and see what happens

One thing you absolutely should do is sit down with pen and paper and make ‘mockups’ – screen designs that show a storyboard of what your app does.

What do I see when I start the app? How does the first page look, what fonts, what images, what text instructions to display, what buttons where…
Then take that and do a life-sized drawing of the screen in color in photoshop or gimp. Do that for each page, including splash screen and settings. It will be a lot of’ll learn a lot.

The first version of your paper app will be bad… rework it and make it simpler for the user. After all of this, and it could take two weeks, you’ll have something an iPhone developer can actually turn into a product, and which they can look at and give you a reasonable estimate of cost to build.

Realise that this process is what separates those who make something from those who merely wish for something without the strength of desire needed to make it real.

I do wish you all the best for your project, and we welcome you to this wonderful endeavor of creating something from nothing with your bare hands – it can be frustrating.. and is also immensely rewarding.


iphone developer

Objective-C can be quite verbose, especially when handling nested data – there is no simple associative array indexing of the kind found in PHP, Ruby etc.

ObjC : verbose : id value = [map objectForKey:@”key”];

Using atx functions : concise : id value = at(map, @”key”);

This comes in very handy for deeply nested json data trees, where you might want to index a multidimensional array or nested tree – vis :

id pop = at(at(at(stats, @”USA”), @”NewYork”), @”popn”);

Not quite as simple as pop = stats[“USA”][“NewYork”][“popn”]; but more readable than several objectForKey’s.  Note, I propagate the nulls up so if an item is not found at any level, it can be checked once at the top level without crashing the app.

The small suite of related functions can be found at google code here, under BSD licence –