April 1, 2011

Five top tools to create an iPad book app

The Monkey’s Paw iPad app development went rather smoothly and the final digital book app has turned out quite good (and polished), So we thought to share our top iPad app development tools and libraries with you:

  • Box 2D, Box2D is an open source physics engine written primarily for games. As the name suggests, Box2D is a purely 2D engine. However, Box2D has grown beyond it’s humble box simulating roots, and can now handle convex polygons. The code is rather clean and somewhat easy to use and the engine itself is very powerful. The engine started out as a physics tutorial so naturally it has good documentation.
  • Tom Brow’s Leaves, Tom Brow has written a small (yet beautiful) component for creating an iBooks-like page turning interface, his code is perfect for displaying simple pages but because our application had interactive items we had to heavily modify it. Although this component works very well, it is not written in an easily readable fashion and uses some less than desirable methods, so we don’t recommend using for anything other than simple book reading as modifying it is a hassle.
  • Gimp, Gimp is a free image manipulation software (a free alternative to Photoshop), we’ve been using Gimp for a long time now (it comes standard with Ubuntu) and we’re very happy with it, it is easily the best free image editor out there. It’s easy to use and is packed with features, even though it doesn’t have the massive feature list of Photoshop we still prefer it for it’s simplicity and open source spirit. Gimp has the ability to open many file formats, including psd (since it is a standard among artists) but it might not properly display some effects.
  • Photoshop, an industry standard among graphic designers… it’s so well known that there really is no need to talk about it.
  • Xcode, Apple’s development environment, it’s free and comes with a great suite of tools… if only they could fix those annoying auto-complete bugs (although I haven’t checked the Xcode 4 preview).

Those were the main ones, we did use things like “Property List Editor” and “Instruments” but they were just part of the Xcode and iOS SDK package.

I hope that the list proves useful to you 🙂