Ok, you have an Apple or Android device and want to develop mobile/tablet apps. The first thing you will need is an Apple computer, Apple Developer Subscriptions to develop Apple apps and a Google developer subscription for Android along with some software. You can develop on Windows but it requires emulating the Mac OSX and it is not recommended. I started developing on a $699 Mac Mini computer running the Apple OSX Operating system.
This guide covers Apple app development steps now, I will be adding Android and Windows Phone building steps soon..
Before you begin I will assume..
- you have an Apple computer (running the latest system version of Apple’s operating system).
- you have a paid Apple Developer subscription ($150 AUD a year).
- you have installed XCode, Sublime Text 3 (free trial is ok) and Corona Labs SDK.
- you have installed the Corona Editor Sublime package (info).
1. Apple Developer Setup
1.01 Login to the Apple Developer Portal.
1.02 Use your paid apple developer subscription to login.
1.03 Developer Subscription Options
The Apple developer portal is quite busy at first sight.
- SDK’s will list all the downloads you have available as a developer.
- Certificates, Identifiers & Profiles is where you prepare certificates that are required to make apps.
- iTunes Connect is where you track your app sales and submit apps to the app store.
- other options hold no surprises.
1.04 Clicking the Certificates, Identifiers & Profiles above will load this screen.
1.05 App submission workflow
Apple have detailed guides on how you develop apps and submit them to the stores. If in doubt ask on the Apple developer forums.
1.06 Creating certificates for your development environment.
Apple have very robust security around apps and distribution. On Windows desktops you can make a program, upload it and have very little restrictions on putting malicious code in your app. Apple, on the other hand, do not allow you to put an app on your iPhone that you develop yourself unless you go through many hoops to first link your machine to a development account, application and development account/team. Follow the steps below to setup a brand new development machine to develop and distribute apps to a number of test devices locally.
1.07 Open XCode and go to XCode menu, Preferences and Accounts and click the + and Add Apple ID.
1.08 Sign in with your Apple developer account.
1.09 You will notice one or more Team names (depending on your account), Select the first team account in the bottom right list and click View Details.
1.10 Clicking Create on each of the Signing Identities will run a series of scripts to setup encryption keys and sync them with Apple.
1.11 Click Create next to all of the items except Developer ID Application and Developer ID Installer is what we need to make mobile and mac desktop apps. Developer ID signing identities are required for apps that are to be published outside of the Apple Desktop Gatekeeper protections.
1.12 OK, what happened above? Xcode created a bunch of certificates that are linked to your machine, apple servers and your development account. The certificates will last for 1 year only; you will need to refresh them in 11 months time. You can view these certificates by opening the Apple Keychain Access program.
Certificates found under the My Certificates group.
1.13 There are more certificates found under the Certificates group.
1.14 Although not mandatory I would highlight the new certificates and back them up. Select the certificates (shift click) and go to the Keychain Access File menu then click Export Items.
1.15 Click Save and enter a strong password (write the password down).
1.16 Also backup the newly created My Certificates too.
1.17 Now put these files somewhere safe away from your main development machine just incase you need to reactivate the certificates on a different machine
1.18 Now we can log back into https://developer.apple.com and open Certificates, Identifiers and Profiles and click on All under Certificates. You will see the certificates that XCode created for you.
1.19 But first we need to add some real test devices (iPhone’s and iPad’s) to the list of approved devices). Open the Devices area of your developer portal.
1.20 Every Apple device has a unique UDID inside it and we need to find it and add it to the list of known/approved devices we want to test apps on. We can only add 100 devices a year so don’t go nuts adding devices of mates.
http://whatsmyudid.com/ is a great site that explains how you can find the UDID using iTunes or via the web.
To add your first test device plug it into iTunes and open the devices page and mouse click on the serial number.
1.21 When you see the UDID appear press CMD+C to copy the UDID to the clipboard.
1.22 Now go back to the Apple Developer Portal, open Certificates, Identifiers and Profiles, open Devices select iPhone (or your device type) and click the + and enter your device description and UDID. Be descriptive “Simon’s iPhone 6 Plus” and not just “iPhone”.
1.23 Click Continue above then Register.
Add more test devices now (this will save regenerating certificates later).
1.24 Now we can create an Application ID. Open Identifiers then click App IDs.
1.25 Your first App certificate should be a Wildcard App certificate. A wildcard certificate allows you to build many different test apps using the one certificate (the downside is a wildcard app cannot receive push notifications and some other functions). A wildcard allows you to quickly mock up a new app and build it in seconds.
Enter “App Wildcard” in the name, select Wildcard App ID radio button, and “com.yourcompany.*” (change your company name to your company name) in the Wildcard App ID.
1.26 No need to select any of the extra options provided.
1.27 Submit the App ID.
1.28 You can read more on the extra services here and here.
1.29 Now you can create dedicated App IDs for known apps that you want to build with additional services. Choose a good name and use the “com.yourcomany.yourapp” App ID.
1.30 You can choose more app services for dedicated App IDs. Below are the ones I prefer as standard.
1.31 Confirm your App ID and submit it.
1.32 Now the final step of creating development certificates to allow us to put the apps on devices.
Open the Development node under Provisioning Profiles.
1.33 Click iOS App Development (note we are selecting development and not distribution, we will return here to create a distribution certificate when we are ready to publish to the app store)
1.34 Choose your desired App ID to build a provisioning profile for (wildcard or dedicated)
1.35 Select the Certificate (or teams) to use.
1.36 Select the devices you wish to be able to run the app.
1.37 Review and click generate.
1.38 There is no need to download these as Xcode can do this.
Create as many App IDs as you like now.
1.39 Open XCode and return the file XCode then Preferences menu then Accounts tab. Xcode should auto refresh and sync down your App IDs.
fyi: There are errors in my graphic below (all names appear the same but the list will be the same as you created them.
1.40 Now the fun part, go to http://coronalabs.com and signup and download the editor.
Corona comes with loads of demo projects and you can open a project and view it in the simulator and or build it straight away,
1.41 I opened the Button Events demo and instantly went to Corona’s File, Build then iOS menu. Select a certificate that you want to use to build the app. A device can have hundreds of apps on it that were built with the Wildcard certificate or one app per dedicated app certificate.
1.42 Corona saves an app file on the desktop (if that is where you saved to). Open Xcode and click Window then Devices menu
1.43 Plug in your device and it should appear in Xcode’s list of devices. Simply drag the app to your device to upload it to your device.
1.44 You can see the compiled app on the desktop and the uploaded app on the device.
1.55 You can see the simulated app on the desktop and the real app on the device. Congratulations.
2. Android device setup.
2.01 You will need to install the Apple Java Runtime to be able to build Android apps on Corona.
2.02 Optional: Install the Android Developer Studio ( also requires JDK7 ). The full blown Android Developer Studio allows you to run older versions of Android in simulators.
2.02.01 Open the Android Developer Studio app.
2.02.02 Click Next.
2.02.03 If you do not have JSK installed goto the next step to download it.
2.02.04 Goto Oracle and download the latest JDK7 and install it (or skip to 2.02.05)
2.02.05 If you just installed JDK click Previous then Next to detect the JDK location.
2.02.06 Select Custom and click Next
2.02.07 Choose your Theme and click Next
2.02.08 Tick the optional “Android Virtual Device – (1 GB)” and click next.
2.02.09 Select the recommended ram settings for the virtual device.
2.02.10 Wait for the components to download.
2.02.11 take note of the virtual device name and click Finish.
2.02.12 Android Studio software options.
2.02.13 I searched in the Android Developer Guides and Using the Android Emulator guide to see where the Simulator was (no luck). I had to create a blank project to see where the virtual Android simulator was installed.
2.02.14 Manually starting the Android Emulator.
- Open the Terminal
- Type “cd /Users/USERNAME/Library/Android/sdk/tools/”
- Type “./emulator -avd Nexus_5_API_23_x86 -netspeed full -netdelay none”
2.02.15 Listing Connected Development Devices.
You may have troubles actually getting files onto your Android 4.x or 5.x devices as some distributions of Android block USB mode. You may need to enable running of apps from unknown sources (Settings -> Security).
- Open the Terminal
- Type “cd /Users/USERNAME/Library/Android/sdk/platform-tools”
- Type “./adb devices”
2.02.16 How to copy new apps to the device via Command Line (if you do not want to use vendor software to transfer files)
To be continued (Android guide is under construction).
3. Windows phone setup
Guide not available yet.
4. Where to now?
Review the Corona API documentation, hang about the forums, follow Corona on social media, watch the Corona Geeks video cast..
Install the Corona Editor into the Sublime Text Editor (guide here)
Now Code 🙂
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