Developing for iOS in a Server-Centric World

Turns out, developing iOS apps is different from developing web apps. Like, hella different. For any server-side readers out there, I thought I’d hit you with a few big ones: There is no CSS. Every part of a design has to be coded in Objective-C.

  • There is no flow layout (like HTML). Everything is position: absolute;.
  • Small “cosmetic changes” can mean hours or days for developers to complete.
  • No one unit tests in Cocoa. Like, no one.</li>
  • Likewise, unit testing is a bitch.
  • No one does automated UI testing. There are some open source projects, but it’s far from the mainstream.

Truth from Mr. Furrow there. As someone who went the other way, I can absolutely say that folks using some of these new server-side frameworks have a ridiculously easy time of it.

Things are starting to change on our side, of course: starting back in the late 80’s with Interface Builder and the Application Kit, and more recently with Cocoa Autolayout. There’s still a world of difference between tweaking a CSS file to change a button’s composition and doing that in Cocoa however.

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