I made an iPhone App and so can you !!!


For one of my last projects with Sigi Torinus as part of my BFA degree I made an iphone App.

I was able to speed up a usually lengthy process by skipping over the coding portion of creating the app. This was made possible by using Buzztouch, a web-based content management software (CMS) out of Montery California that helps build iPhone and Android apps. Buzztouch provides tools that allow people to create mobile apps and provides a back-end database to support those apps over the long-term. They do both of these things for free, for anyone. The source-code that app owners download for each of their applications is released under an open-source license.

Buzztouch is awesome. From their website:

We encourage anyone to build an app, download the source-code, compile it using Xcode (iOS), then distribute it through the App Store. The more times this happens, the better. We hope to see hundreds of thousands (millions?) of mobile applications that are powered by buzztouch. We are well on our way.

Not knowing how to use code to personalize my app limited the properties of the app I made, but I was still able to personalize the content 100%. I couldn’t use properties such as shake, for example, but I could select a number of ways to customize my app, including the ability to add videos, pictures, PDF files, mapped locations, and URLs to it.

The app I made is called Battlemarks, and it explores narratives around injuries. Something along the lines of a Choose your Own Adventure, the main interface has lead-in phrases that are completed when the user selects one and views the content, which ranges from Youtube videos, to google image searches, to mapped locations, all with text to tie the story together.

Battlemarks users are led to question personal stories of how injuries are obtained and rationalized by examining themes of false fronts, narratives, abuse, folklore, feminism and place.

After I was done making my app on Buzztouch, I had to register as an Apple Developer. I purchased the iOS Developer Program (it’s only $100 and good for a whole year; think of all the apps you could make?!) and, using xcode (available to download for free on apple.ca once you register) and lots of how-to step by step resources on both the Buzztouch Forums and Apple’s Developer Website, complied a trial version of the app, then a version for release.

Battlemarks is currently installed on my iPhone, and I could put it on up to 99 other iPhones for testing purposes. I am now at the stage of distributing my app for free in the iTunes Store, so stay tuned for the release!!

The process of making an app for iPhone requires a lot of dedicated time and patience, but it’s totally worth it! Like the creators of buzztouch said, we need different people making different apps!

Can you think of any other themed apps that could be created? How about windsor-specific apps? Maybe one that tells you how many people will be on the next bus you take, or an app that allows you to snap photos of street art, automatically uploading it to a large mapped database available for viewing? One that will tell you how many americans are in the bar based on a audio sampling of accents?




8 Replies to “I made an iPhone App and so can you !!!”

  1. Wow! This is really interesting. Putting the ability to make apps at a non-developers level is going to open so many doors. Some good, some bad im sure. But the plus side is more variety in what we will see and more suited apps to our personal needs. I would love to download this on my Iphone (once i obtain one!) as i myself get tons of “battlescars.” Great stuff Michelle!

    1. Carley, thanks! for your imput. As non-developers start to get the resources to create, it’s important to think about how Apps don’t necessarily need to be useful or provide information, they can be works of art as well!

  2. So great to see some of your work up here Michelle, and I especially love that last screenshot, “I skated and fell.”

    Also, thanks for reminding me to get moving on finishing this project, long overdue, but very inspiring to see you get this off the ground so quickly! Is there a way to gauge how far along the iTunes process your app is?

    1. It’s not far along at this point, just needs a day or so of re-visiting.

    1. Thom, Love it. Wish they had an MFA, but super interesting to see this type of study at an undergraduate level. I can’t help but thinking that Justin would make a great addition to the faculty who teach in this area.

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