Have you used Powerpoint, Pages, Keynote or Word?
Each of these apps helps you create media rich content, and that’s exactly what Xcode does. It’s an Integrated Development Environment (IDE) that organizes all your code, interface files, and image resources.
Xcode is the tool that you will use to create your iPhone and iPad apps. Along with Xcode you will use the iOS Simulator to test your first iPhone app on your Mac computer.
Learning how to use Xcode is your first goal. You don’t need to know how to do everything, but you should become familiar with the interface and the common buttons and panels.
Learn how to open Xcode
After downloading Xcode following the previous Swift 1 - Download Xcode and start your first iPhone app tutorial, you are ready to open up Xcode.
Welcome to Xcode 6
You will use Xcode to organize, create, and debug your iPhone apps. It provides a staging ground for you to design and test your code and resource files.
1. Open Xcode
You can open Xcode by clicking on it in your Applications folder, or by searching with Spotlight (Command + Spacebar) in the top right corner.
2. Start a new Xcode project
You can create a new Xcode project from the Welcome to Xcode screen by clicking on the Create a new Xcode project button.
(Optional) Create a new Xcode project from the menu bar
In the menu bar click on File > New > Project…
3 Create a Single View iOS Application
The easiest place to start is with the existing project templates that Apple provides in Xcode. Your first app will be a single screen. To get started on the top left corner of the dialog select iOS > Applications > Single View Application
4. Edit your Xcode project options
When you create a new Xcode project you’ll have to pick a few settings. If this is your first iPhone app, these settings aren’t super important. You can change any of these settings later on, or on your next Xcode project.
During the learning process, you’re going to create a lot of Xcode projects. Think of each project as a separate learning experience, start a new one when ever you want to try something out.
- Product Name: The name of your app
- Organization Name: The name of your company (or just your name)
- Organization Identifier: A unique text string, you can set it to anything. Apple has recommended reverse DNS, which means website name in reverse. I use PaulSolt.com and flip it to create com.paulsolt
- Note: If your an iOS Developer, this text needs to match what you register with Apple to run the app on your iPhone.
- Bundle Identifier: A unique identifier for the app itself. This text is made from your Organizational Identifier and your Product Name. It’s a setting you can also change later.
- Language: You can make apps with Swift or Objective-C.
- Devices: Choose iPhone to start, or iPad if you want to target a bigger screen. Universal is the third option, which allows you target both iPhone and iPad devices.
- Note: With iOS 8 and Xcode 6 it will be easier to create apps for both devices without as much device specific coding.
- Core Data: Turn this option if you want to use the local database that Apple created called Core Data. For your first set of iPhone apps, I recommend you leave this option off, unless you understand how to use a database.
Note: Core Data is important if your app is going to maintain a lot of local data about users or information. However, simple calculator style apps probably won’t need it.
5. Save your Xcode project
The last step is to save your project folder on your Mac. I recommend that you create a Projects folder on your Desktop.
Navigate to your Desktop > Click New Folder > Type Projects > Create
You’ll create a lot of small Xcode project folders. Keeping them in one place will help you organize your work.
Create Git repository: If this is your first Xcode project, leave option unchecked. This option is for version control (git) and it’s used to keep different versions of your code. It’s an important part of software development. To learn more, visit GitHub.com
You can see my code on Github at http://github.com/PaulSolt
Your first Xcode project
When you first open Xcode you will see a lot of panels and the project settings in the center. The area on the left will show code, image, and user interface files.
- .swift files are your code files
- .storyboard and .xib files are your user interface files
- Images.xcassets contains images like your app icon
In the center of Xcode you’ll find the project settings. There is a button in the top left corner which shows and hides an inner panel, and there are tabs along the top.
The project settings contains information like the supported orientations (i.e. portrait or landscape or both). There are also build settings, which you can ignore for now.
The buttons on the top right corner of show and hide the various panels in Xcode. Here’s what Xcode looks like with all of the panels open.
Along the top of each panel there are additional tab bar items, which will change the contents of a panel.
You will need to hide panels on a small monitor, like on the Macbook Air. If you want to keep everything open, get an external monitor or an iMac.
I love my 27” Thunderbolt Display
- Navigator Panel: The navigator panel includes the following tabs: Project Navigator, Find Navigator (search), and Issue Navigator
- Standard Editor: This is the code text editor, which can be a single code file or multiple code and user interface files (Assistant Editor).
- Utilities Panel: Context sensitive options will appear in the Utilities Panel. If you have a code file open, you’ll see different options than a user interface file.
- Debug Panel: When you run your app with the Play button, you’ll see the bottom panel appear if there is a crash, or if your app logs any text out from a print command. There are two buttons in the bottom right corner to toggle the Variables view or the Console view.
- Toolbar: The top toolbar contains the most common used functions such as starting and stopping your app or choosing what device to run it on (iPhone 6 Plus vs iPad vs iOS Simulator). The buttons on the right side control the visible panels.
You can run your first iPhone app right out of the box. Press the play button in the top left corner of the Xcode toolbar.
When you run the app it should work and you’ll see a message in the center of Xcode. It should say Build Succeeded. If you didn’t do something correct it might say Build Failed.
Navigate Xcode Efficiently with Keyboard Shortcuts
You will become much more proficient with Xcode if you learn some of the Keyboard shortcuts. Try to incorporate one or two of the top 14 keyboard shortcuts for Xcode into your workflow.