Apple Passbook Development

I am not a developer.  I don’t know code.  I don’t know where to begin really.  But I’m pretty good at following directions and just messing around until something works.  I have been intrigued by the marketing possibilities of the much ballyhooed passbook functionality with iOS 6.  So…can someone of my limited knowledge create a pass?  You’d be surprised…


The High Country 365 Adventure Pass. Coming to an area business near you!

So…I want to create a pass for the iOS Passbook App for work.  Luckily I am already a registered Apple Developer.  That was the first step.  Then I had to do the following:

  • Download the updated version of Mac OS X so I could…
  • Download XCode 4.5
  • I then went into my developer account and the iOS provisioning portal to create a pass “certificate”.  Not really sure why, but I did it and downloaded.
  • Then I had to open that certificate in Keychain Access.  I guess now my computer knows that I am allowed to create passes
  • At this point I opened XCode 4.5 and opened the xcode project provided in the supplement materials for “Create you First Pass” guide by Apple.
  • I had to “build” the project.  This took a few tries to get right.  I kind of don’t even remember what I did, but I had to do it a few different ways.  I wasn’t sure that was a problem, because I had to try this next step numerous times first
  • Once you do that I had to find the “signpass” executable file in the finder, and drag that to my workflow folder, which was documents for this demo.
  • I had to go into the pass.json files in the companion materials and edit the passidentifier and organizational team unit with the information that I created in the provisioning portal.  Easy Enough.
  • So…now I have the following
    • Updated json file
    • signpass executable
    • certificate in keychain access
  • At this point I had to type two commands in Terminal to compress and “sign” my json file to convert it to a .pkpass file.  Here are the two commands I had to use:
    • cd ~/documents
    • ./signpass -p lollipop.pass (lollipop was the name recommended by Apple in the guide)


  • Sounds simple enough doesn’t it…except I kept receiving the strangest message…it was saying that I had some “field” that was not valid.  This is where I was stumped.  I thought that maybe I edited the json file.  But there are some handy online json validators that let me know the file was correct.
  • So…maybe my terminal commands were incorrect.  I tried them so many different times.  Same results.
  • Then I thought that perhaps my structure of the directory files was wrong…but same crap.
  • Finally…I decided it had something to do with how I was building the signpass executable in XCode.  I tried it a different way, put in the proper spot, typed the commands into Terminal and VOILA!
  • Screen Shot 2013-01-17 at 2.29.28 PM

IT WORKED!  It actually created the compressed and signed file.

I then was able to test it by just dragging the file into the iOS simulator program (included with XCode).  And the image above is what you see.

I could hardly believe that I had actually done this.  I figured I wouldn’t be able to and I would need to hire a developer.  I’m sure there will be much more to learn, but for now I know that I can create the basic design.  I am extremely excited about business and marketing opportunities.  I will be sure to keep this blog updated and let anyone know where I head with this project.



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