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Building Photokast: Creating an iPhone App in One Month

Way, way back in the days of the dinosaurs — 1993, to be precise — I discovered a new Internet app that was making the rounds among us university geeks and geek wannabes. It was called “Mosaic,” a newfangled Web browser doo-dad, and you could only use it on Unix. A few weeks later, I discovered “Lynx,” which was much easier to use, since you could fire it up on a Unix or a VMS terminal, but it was old-school, amber-screen stuff without any graphics or formatting. A few weeks later, there appeared Mosaic for Windows (back when Windows had version numbers).

“This,” I thought, “this is the wave of the future.” And I set my work gear to warp 9 and furiously began developing online course materials, learning resources, and technologies (my site was the first site with a threaded Web discussion, for instance). Even two years later — in 1995 — most people didn’t see much of anything in this Web browsing fad among college folk. “Believe me,” I told them, as if anyone needed to be told, “everything will be Web in three or four years.” Of course, it was a hard sale for most because th Web was 90% Anna Nicole Smith and Jennifer Connelly photo sites at the time, but the winds of change were blowing.

Today, the new Web is smartphone apps. iPhone, it’s true, sucks up all the media oxygen, but the innovation and growth in smartphone apps rivals that of the Web sixteen years ago.

The first wave of smartphone apps were largely entrepreneurs in blue oceans with the early adopters — exactly like the World Wide Web back in the mid-90’s. It took years for the grown-ups to realize what they were missing by ignoring the Web; it wasn’t really until somewhere between 1996 and 1998 that established businesses began crashing the party.

In just a few months, se’re now in that second wave for smartphone apps — the basement entrepreneurs with an Internet connection and a modicum of coding ability are giving way to the big businesses, even Pizza Hut (100,000 downloads) and Chipotle, finding ways to exploit the platform.

What does the second wave mean to you? For all entrepreneurs and business owners, whether you’re just starting or you’ve been around the block a few times, it’s time to start looking into smartphone applications, just like the time came to take the Web seriously back in the late 90’s.

But where do you start? We’re pumping out a book on building a smartphone app business (or incorporating smartphone apps into your current business), so we here at Shoestring Venture have hoovered up thousands of pages of books, references, Web pages, interviews, and articles. So I”m on pretty firm ground when I say definitively that the must-read, out-of-the-blocks resource for anyone considering building an iPhone app is “Building Photokast” Creating an iPhone App in 30 Days,” by the folks over at Photokast.

Well, guess what? It’s now available for free at Scribd and, if you click the more link below, you can read the whole thing embedded in this blog!

Building PhotoKast: Creating an iPhone app in one month

Money quote:

An application is not great because developers displayed unsurpassed dedication to the principals of object oriented development. It is the design that makes it great. Coding is a commodity, creativity is a premium.

Remember that. During the 90’s, people shied away from Web sites because it involved complicated coding and programming (HTML 1 and Perl, for God’s sake!). There’s no question that developing a smartphone app will require shelling out money to a developer. But that’s nothing — the real value are the ideas you can bring to the table.

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