Codea vs Pythonista vs Swift Playgrounds for 1st Non-Game App

Hello everyone. New around here. I’ve been lurking for a few days, learning a bit of Lua, going through Codea tutorials. I’m looking to write my first app for submittal to the App Store. I’m not a gamer, nor do I think I have the desire to write a game app. I’m thinking more of a TV Guide type app for cord cutters/cord shavers, similar to others already out there but with options to add more than one provider in case you use local channels + a combination of streaming services (such as Netflix, Hulu, and all these new live tv streaming services). I’m assuming I would have to look into what api’s are available and all that good stuff, but I digress.

This is my first foray into coding. When I was younger, I did study some turbo pascal and C# (I think I’m dating myself here), but then due to life’s circumstances I decided to go into an I.T. support career rather than programming. Years later, I still have that little inkling to write my own app app. I was inspired by Apple’s “Anyone can code” campaign and posts I’ve read on Richard Morgan’s StarSceptre app (an iOS game coded entirely on an iPad)! That was it for me. I made my decision that if there are people out there submitting excellent apps to the App Store, what’s stopping me from fulfilling my dream? So this has now become a personal challenge.

I of course, looked into Codea first. I find Codea easy to use and the Lua programming language (the little bit I’ve learned so far) to be very intuitive. However, I have been doing a lot of research and have seen claims that Lua/Codea is better suited for creating gaming apps and that with Codea’s lack of a native iOS GUI, I would have to jump through some hurdles to make it happen. So, here’s the question I have…as someone that wants to create her first iOS app (not a gaming app), using her iPad (I do have a Mac, which I understand I will need in order to import my code into Xcode, but I use it more as a server than a day to day machine), would I be better off looking into other iPad IDE’s such as Pythonista or Swift Playgrounds? Each one would require me to learn a different language, so I want to try to get this right from the start and concentrate on learning the language I’m going to stick to for my first app. What do you guys think? Any advice would be appriciated.

Welcome! I’ve been playing with Codea as a hobby for a few weeks now and for messing about with games or simulations, it’s great. You’re right that for native UIKit-based iOS development it is probably not going to be the best choice.

I’m not very familiar with Pythonista yet, but I know it has much more support for typical app UI. I don’t know the process for extracting your resulting project and bundling it up for the App Store, though. I assume they have a procedure for that, but you’ll want to check into how that works.

Swift Playgrounds, at this stage, isn’t really designed for real app development, IMO. You could certainly prototype something there, but I think it’d be difficult to go all the way to a full app without transitioning everything to Xcode on a Mac.

@johalesi Welcome to the forum. Here’s part of a quote from you ’if there are people out there submitting excellent apps to the App Store, what’s stopping me’. You said you did study pascal and C#, but did you do any actual programming to become proficient at it. If you dont have a lot of experience, that would be what’s stopping you. It takes a lot of time and experience to write a program that Apple will accept for the App Store. I haven’t tried the other programming apps you mentioned, so I can’t comment on them. Codea is pretty bare bones. You have to write everything,and there aren’t many shortcuts unless you include things written by other forum members. I’m sure others will write and give you their opinions as well.

@johalesi Pythonista does have a lot of Apple UIKit support, the only problem is the actual user friendliness of the app. Codea is so simple to use, but Pythonista has a bit more complicated of an approach to creating an app. And as @BigZaphod said, SwiftPlaygrounds is more for playing around and beginners, hat just need to get a small push

Also check out Continuous, a Xamarin C# IDE. I’d say Continuous and Swift Playgrounds give you the most access to the iOS SDK. If your aim is the App Store, all of these apps at some point need you to transition the project to Xcode.