Xcode Tutorial – What Is Xcode And How To Use It

This Xcode tutorial is the complete guide to the iOS app development platform. Also includes how to use Xcode for Windows.:

Life has become very convenient these days and the credit goes to the various apps available which make it so. For almost every need, there is an App or if there isn’t, one can be created.

Won’t it be interesting to know how these Apps are created? What is the code and environment which is needed to create these Apps?

So, if you are interested to create your own application for mobiles, this article is a must-read for you. In this article, we will discuss Xcode and details about this app development environment.

Let us begin!

What Is Xcode

=>> Click here to visit official Xcode website

To explain in the simple language, Xcode is an application which developers use to create apps suitable for multiple Apple platforms like iPhone, iPad, or Apple TV and watch. It uses Swift programming to develop applications. It was first launched in 2003.

What is Xcode and how to use it for Windows

In the language of a geek, Xcode is an IDE – Integrated Development Environment. This means that it also includes many other additional tools which are required for the development of apps. It is one of the most popular tools for creating apps and is the first choice for developers for writing codes and creating apps that can be used on various devices and operating systems.

Xcode_Apple program

[image source]

Xcode is owned by Apple and therefore, it is mainly used for creating and developing apps within the Apple environment, however; it is also useful for developing codes in other languages to be used in other projects.

It is a complete package and using this, developers can perform multiple tasks ranging from designing the user interface, writing the code for applications, compile and test the code and check for any bugs on the code. It also allows the app to be submitted on app stores supported by Apple.

Developers who are registered are able to log on to the Apple developer website and preview any previous versions or releases.

Apple developer website

Pricing

All Mac OS users get to use Xcode for free but in order to distribute the apps on multiple App store platforms, an Apple Developer Program has to be subscribed for and the subscription is priced at $99 annually.

Let us understand some basic requirements to run Xcode.

Basic Requirements

Some of the minimum requirements include:

  • A Mac with macOS 11
  • Minimum requirement is 4GB RAM but recommended is over 8 GB.
  • A minimum of 8GB of free space. Xcode requires a lot of storage space.
  • A MacBook, iMac, or Mac mini (2013-2015)

It is important to remember that since Xcode can run only on macOS, users will need a Mac in order to develop the iOS app using Xcode. An exception to this iPad. Xcode does not run on iPad.

Also Read =>> iOS App Testing Tutorial

Advantages

We have enumerated the advantages of Xcode below. These include:

  • Design of the UI creator is simple and user-friendly.
  • Provides developers with an opportunity to learn profiling and heap analysis.
  • Simulator in Xcode allows easy testing of the app
  • The customer base is wide on the App store and customers are ready to pay for apps

The above advantages are explained below:

#1) It is the first choice of developers when they want to develop iOS or macOS apps. This is because it is the only supported IDE by Apple. While there are many other third-party options available and they do not even need Xcode however, it is not supported by Apple and also has frequent problems with the solutions.

#2) It also has an integrated tool for debugging and developers can use this feature to find quick solutions for problems. Some other options like project management tools are extremely helpful to manage the image assets and code files efficiently.

#3) It is very simple to use and can also be used by developers who are beginners. Its source code checker feature captures and flags errors encountered while typing codes and then suggests remedies for solving the problem.

#4) It has a repository of templates and excerpts of code which helps beginners in the process of development. Developers also have an option to save their own templates in case of repeated usage of the same code. These templates have proven to be really helpful for developers who are beginners and have limited knowledge of app development.

#5) Xcode editor allows the developers to view multiple files at one time and it saves time. Developers do not have to toggle between screens in case any changes are to be made. The feature also lets the developers use the find and replace function to make changes to any line of the code.

#6) There is no need for any additional efforts to save the code files. In Xcode, work is saved automatically.

#7) Developers also have an option to use the interface builder and design menus and windows. They also have an option to use the library available in Xcode. The list of features does not end here. Another interesting feature is an Auto layout using which, developers can create apps that adjust their size and position as per the size of the screen on which they are used.

#8) 3D elements can be added to the application with the help of the Scene kit editor. Animations can be added using the Particle Emitter feature.

Disadvantages

Xcode also has a few disadvantages. These are listed below:

  • Objective C Language is outdated for programming
  • Working on multiple Windows is difficult as there is no support for a tabbed environment.
  • The process of transferring an app to a device is not easy.
  • It is supported only on Apple OS.
  • It is time-consuming to get approval from the App store.
  • Limited information is available on the Internet for solving problems due to Apple NDA on Xcode development earlier.

Excited aren’t you? So, without any further delay, let us now see the process of writing code.

How To Use Xcode

Xcode IDE is an integral element that acts as a core for all the other components available in the Xcode package. It shows the files on which work is in progress and also the Windows for other tools.

The interface is similar to other environments where the code is typed into a file on the main window. IDE also extends support and makes sure the codes typed by users are easy to understand and errors are minimized.

Developers get suggestions regarding what they may want to enter into a location. It also highlights issues when any of the expected symbols are missing or names of functions are not entered correctly. In most cases, remedies to fix these issues are also suggested.

Developers also have an option to keep multiple tabs open and toggle between these tabs. The interface is updated as per the file being worked on. There is also a side directory view available that allows to shift from one file to another and also enlists all the files and folders in use for any particular project.

The list of benefits does not end here. During the process of development of the code, users have an option to run multiple experiments with the code. There are a few ready to use projects which is beneficial for educating users.

Developers have a plethora of options of programming languages when it comes to writing a code in Xcode. The list of programming languages supported by Xcode ranges from Swift, AppleScript, C, C++, Objective C, Python etc. Amongst all these languages, Apple strongly recommends Swift language for development of through all its platform.

It is advisable to use the latest version of Xcode. Many users faced an error while developing with their Apple id that Apple developer account could not be added and Xcode 7.3 or later version was required to continue with the Apple id.

Xcode For Windows

A very common question that crosses everyone’s mind is that can Xcode run on Windows as well?

In this section of this article, we will seek an answer to this question.

The fact is that there are a lot of third-party options available which allow users to develop iOS on Windows. These options and solutions do not use Xcode but the apps created with these options successfully run on iOS devices.

Directly downloading Xcode on Windows is likely to create a lot of problems. However, there are well-defined processes to complete the download and installation of Xcode on Windows 10, Windows 8, or Windows 7 operating systems.

It is not possible for every user to buy a new Mac and therefore the below-mentioned ways can help to use Xcode on Windows. It is important to highlight here that the experience may not be the best, but it is a good option to get started.

Methods To Run Xcode On Windows

#1) Use a Virtual Machine

=> Click here to download Virtual Box

This is one of the most popular methods. This method requires strong hardware. The computer must have a good speed to support the running of a virtual machine once MacOS has been installed. Virtual box is a strong recommendation for this method as it is available for free and is an open-source solution.

Virtual box

[image source]

Follow the steps below for using Virtual Machine:

Step 1: Install a Virtual Box on the computer.

Step 2: Purchase OS X from Apple Store.

Step 3: On the Virtual box, create a New Virtual Machine.

Step 4: Search for Xcode on the Apple store.

Step 5: Start the process of installation.

Step 6: After installation of Xcode, begin the process of iOS app development on Windows.

Note: The detailed steps for using virtualization software and downloading Xcode have been explained in the later section of this article.

#2) Hackintosh

=> Official Hackintosh website

Hackintosh is a non-Mac machine that is modified by the user to run Mac OS X. The process of using Hackintosh is in many ways similar to using virtual machines. However, the major difference lies in the fact that OS X is installed on a separate hard drive while it is installed on a virtual machine.

Hackintosh reduces the chances of performance-related issues. The only drawback of Hackintosh is the process of installation which can be confusing and bugs are frequent.

#3) MacinCloud

=> Official MacinCloud website

This is also called rent a Mac in the cloud. As the name suggests, this method involves renting a Mac which is accessible remotely. The process of developing apps can be done remotely from a phone or computer. This method primarily allows the developer to connect with an Apple OS X machine that has been rented through MacinCloud which provides greater support in the process of development of apps on Xcode.

The only drawback of this method is that in situations of poor Internet connectivity, the process of running Xcode can be disrupted.

Macincloud

Apart from the above-mentioned methods, there are a few more options available from third parties for developing apps which can run on iOS device. These options, however, do not use Xcode but are widely used as alternatives for iOS development on Windows.

These have been mentioned below:

#4) React Native: Javascript is used to create native apps for mobiles. Another name in the list is Appcelerator, which also uses Javascript for developing native mobile apps.

#5) Xamarin: Language C# is used for developing apps that can be natively installed on Android, iOS, and Windows.

#6) PhoneGap: This involves the usage of HTML, CSS, and Javascript to create apps that are hybrid and are meant for cross platforms.

There are a few basic system requirements that have to be met if Xcode has to be installed on Windows. Let us also know more about these requirements.

Requirements For Installing Xcode On Windows

The basic requirement for installing Xcode on Windows begins with a few software that must be pre-installed on the computer to ensure Xcode runs without any disruptions.

The checklist for this software is mentioned below:

  • Any one virtualization software. VMware or Virtual box. Virtual box is recommended.
  • Download one valid Licensed package of Xcode. This can be done through the Apple website.
  • Virtualization hardware must be available on the computer.
  • It is important that the computer has a dual-core Intel processor.
  • In order to download from Apple Store, a valid Apple id is also an important requirement. Developers must also have an Apple developer id if they are developing an Apple software app.
  • A minimum of 2GB RAM space is recommended.

Installing Xcode On Windows

Let’s look at the steps to be followed for installing Xcode on Windows and get started.

Step 1: Install virtualization software. One can choose between VMware or Virtual box. Here, we have assumed VMware is chosen.

Step 2: Download and install OS X Maverick ISO file.

Step 3: Oracle VM manager describes the steps to be followed for creating a new virtual manager. Follow the instructions mentioned in the Oracle VM manager.

Step 4: Personalize the new OS by adding a name. Some common suggestions for names are OSX, OS as Mac, or OS X to ensure Mac OS X is the selected version.

Step 5: Select the “Next” option.

Step 6: When a virtual machine is created, it is important to select the size of RAM. The recommended size of RAM for running the virtual machine effectively is 1 GB.

Step 7: Create a virtual hard drive file.

Step 8: Select the option that specifies the hard drive file type. The most appropriate file type is the virtual box disk image. Some of the other options are virtual machine disk, virtual hard disk, parallel hard disk, QEMU enhanced disk, etc.

Step 9: Mention the size and location of the physical drive. This is very important for the process of installation.

Step 10: Select “Next” to begin processing.

This completes the process of downloading the virtual machine.

Step 11: Load ISO file image. Click on “Settings”. Then select “Storage load ISO file. Select “OK” and then select “Start”.

Step 12: Log in to Apple Store in the virtualization software downloaded. It is recommended to use a speedy browser like Chrome or Firefox. Enter the Apple id and password to log on to Apple Store.

Step 13: The previous step allows users to sign in and explore and use the applications available in Apple Store.

Step 14: Search for Xcode. Use the “Search bar” to find “Xcode”.

Step 15: Download and install Xcode.

Step 16: As soon as the process of installation is complete, the user is required to enter the root credentials for Xcode which ensures legal access and rights for Xcode settings.

Step 17: Select “OK” after typing the login credentials for Xcode. This completes the process of installation of Xcode on Windows and now the world of application is open for exploration.

Follow these steps to ensure a smooth experience with Xcode. It is important to highlight here that these steps explain the method of installation of Xcode on computers with Windows OS.

Frequently Asked Questions

Let us also look at some FAQs.

Q #1) Is it possible to install Xcode on Windows?

Answer: It is not possible to install Xcode on Windows directly, however, Xcode can be used on Windows with a virtual machine and installing a Mac OS on it.

Q #2) Do I need Xcode on my Mac?

Answer: Xcode is just an application. Its purpose is only when the user wants to write codes for app development. Therefore, not every Mac user needs to install Xcode.

Q #3) Is it safe to delete Xcode?

Answer: Yes, it can be safely deleted only after ensuring that losing all or some of the configurations set up previously will not pose any issues.

Q #4) Is Xcode a good IDE?

Answer: It is an Apple-supported application that is used to write codes for developing iOS applications. It is user friendly and very useful tool for the development of applications. Therefore, it is a good IDE.

Suggested Reading =>> Android and iOS Mobile App Development Software

Conclusion

Developing an iOS application is about being familiar with Xcode.

This article is a must-read for people who want to develop iOS applications. Here, where we have explained what is Xcode and the process to download it. There is a detailed section explaining how to use Xcode.

Some aspiring developers of iOS applications who do not have a Mac must not miss this article. We have also talked about how it can be used on Windows computers under the heading Xcode for Windows. While some of these options may be slightly complex but these are alternatives that have been used and approved by developers across the world.

So, what is stopping you? You are now ready to dive deep into the world of Xcode for iOS application development.