Silicon Beach: iPhone App Design for Dummies

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Well, not exactly. But California-based ANSCA stopped by this month's South Florida iPhone Meetup to introduce local geeks to Corona, an application that's in the works to help designers and artists create their own iPhone applications without wrangling Objective-C, the complex coding language used to make iPhones do all those fun and funky things.

Marine Leroux, CEO of San-Fransico-based bamboudesign, collaborated with Carlos Icaza, co-founder of ANSCA, to create the application pictured here. A designer who specializes in user experience design for the iPhone, Marine created Shaken Not Stirred as a workshop experiment.

"I've been the voice for designers," Marine explained. "We're working together so ANSCA knows what artists need and want. We'll continue to collaborate, eventually offering training in Corona."

The prototype interface for Corona will be very familiar to anyone who has ever used Photoshop. Icaza, who was wary about getting a little too geeky at the meeting, made it sound easy by showing us simple and short lines of code behind the interface. "You design it and send it to our server," Icaza said. "That's where the magic happens. We then deliver a full iPhone application that you can upload. We don't take money from Apple. What you do with them is up to you."

Corona is available for free on ANSCA, but is still in a rough early adopter release. Though Icaza couldn't say when 1.0 would be available, he did mention that there would eventually be different pricing plans, ranging from lite student to more robust studio versions.

For designers, Corona seems to be the wizard behind the curtain that makes things easier. You can't exactly be a dummy to use it -- some minimal technical know-how is required. Corona will, however, increase turnaround time for non-traditional developers. One of the first testers for Corona created a Tetris-like game called Box of Sox in a fraction of the time it would've taken him with Objective-C. "It took the designer just two weeks from conception to final product with the first round of documentation," Icaza said. "Today, it would've taken him just a few days or even less."

To download Corona, visit the ANSCA Developer Portal.

Shaken Not Stirred is not yet available, but will be soon at the App Store. Box of Sox, by reallyMedia, is ready for download. The lite version is free

South Florida iPhone Meetup Group was founded in 2008 by Ben Bloch (@benbinary) and currently managed by Davide Di Cillo (@davidedicillo). Follow the geeks at Meetup.com for future events.

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