Tag Archives: swift

Standing on the Shoulders of Documentation

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Learning how to build a simple iOS app has not been bad. There’s a lot of learning how to find things in Xcode (protip: get a 2nd screen) and familiarizing myself with UIKit conventions. I completed the bitfountain iOS 7 course and have subscribed to more iOS newsletters than I care to admit.

At a meetup last year, I had a discussion about my choice to start with Objective-C. He asked me why I didn’t jump into Swift or use a tool like PhoneGap. Fast forward several months to today, I’m very happy I went with Objective-C. Whenever I am unsure how to do something in Objective-C, there are endless helpful blog posts and StackOverflow discussions out there. Even blog posts written before 2010 can be helpful. I am truly standing on the shoulders of all those heroic individuals who’ve tread down the path before me years ago.

With Swift, I’m sure there’s great documentation out there, but my guess is that Swift today (the beginning of 2015) cannot compete with the thoroughness of Objective-C edge cases discussed on the Internet.

Access to simple, basic questions like converting a NSUInteger to a NSNumber are essential for those just starting out. I’d like to use the example of an extremely beginner friendly resource, RailsCasts, which taught you how to use run of the mill gems, like Devise, and helped create a new generation of developers. Without a wealth of beginner accessible resources, a language or framework can’t grow or grow as fast.

iOS Programming

I’ve started learning iOS programming. Objective-C seems very low level, but it’s alright as an older object oriented language. Learning the Apple frameworks seems to the be tricky part. There’s a lot for me to learn with using Xcode (since I don’t normally use IDEs) and frameworks like Cocoa Touch.

I spoke to someone recently who suggested skipping Objective-C and going directly to Swift. Or even a tool like PhoneGap. Personally, I side with Aaron Hillegass’ take:

I have three messages for these people:

  • If you want to be an iOS developer, you will still need to know Objective-C.
  • Objective-C is easier to learn than Swift. Once you know Objective-C,
  • it will be easy to learn Swift.

To take a longer perspective on iOS, I want to build my foundation up from Objective-C to iOS. This is similar to how learning Ruby is critical for being a Rails developer.

With that said, I’m eager to get my hands dirty with iOS prototypes through different online courses.