Saturday, April 17, 2010

Building iPhone Apps for Free (Or nearly Free)

Over the past several months, I have seen one post after another proclaiming that a particular site or app would allow you to build an iPhone App for free. What I found instead was a bunch of B.S. artists who allowed users to build the apps for free and then charged an arm and a leg or a monthly fee for the actual production and sales. Many others too more than 40 percent of the profits of the app.

I have a list here of the only Apps or frameworks that are truly free for use. While Apple charges $99.00 for the iPhone Developers license, every thing else on this list is free for use or open source.

1. iWebkit

This framework is one of the only truly iPhone compliant frameworks that allows you to build an iPhone website in minutes instead of hours. Featuring all of the snazzy menus in their sample website, the sample can be modified to produce a website that is totally specific to you with only HTML.

Our magazine which takes 3-5 days to layout was completely produced in a matter of 3 hours from start to finish. You can check it out here:

The iWebkit framework is downloadable from the iWebkit website at:

If you like their work, be sure and support their fund raising efforts by sending them a donation.

2. Phonegap

This is the framework which makes the entire App creation process a matter of building a website, copying the code into the XTools www directory of the Phonegap framework and then compiling. The resulting App works on the iPhone and is ready for sending to the Apple store. If you are seriously short of time in the development realm, we highly recommend this application framework.

The other absolutely cool part of this Framework is that iWebkit fits right into the Phonegap Framework allowing you to create a really nice looking app and get it ready for the Apple Store without killing yourself on the development portion.

Phonegap is available from the Phonegap webite at:

There are also a ton of tutorials and information for iPhone development on the Phonegap wiki as well. Also, you are not limited to just the iPhone but since we are writing about iPhone development, we chose to focus on that aspect of Phonegap.

3. iPhone RSS Reader App

At first glance, it looks like we are promoting an App here. However, this is an app with a serious twist for those wanting to create their own apps on the fly. This App comes with the full source code, making it easy for you to modify it and produce your own app.

While the iPhone RSS Reader App is a one shot pony, for those of you with your own blog or news site that you want to have an app for, using your RSS feed with this App is a breeze. Change the code and the items in the App you want to change, color scheme, etc., and then re-compile in X-Tools.

Luckily, this is the one App that is free to build. Just add your Apple Dev code to it and go!.

You can download the program and full source code at

While there are a ton of other development platforms, frameworks and examples out there, so far the only ones that we have found were worth the time and remained free are the ones we have listed. Short list but then they should be all you should need other than a good graphic designer.

No comments: