What I Learn From My 30 Days Coding An iPhone App.

Hack

3 years ago, I talk about learning to code out an iPhone App. But the attempt fail because the learning curve was apparently quite high (when I tried learning it from the Stanford online course) and there wasn’t much  tutorials like this. Excuses aside, I was lazy it was all “NATO“.

Last year, things changed. Being in Plug-in@Blk71, I mix frequently with coders, developers, programmers or whatever you all like to call it. And events such as hackathons take place often at Plug-in and to see developers coming up with a software product or to actually build something out from idea is amazing. This is especially try when you see a 14 year old “hack and tell” his hackathon project.

So I was inspired and set on my 30 days challenge of learning iPhone programming “officially”. You can read my learning journey here. And I’m here to share my experience for my first programming project for the past 30 days

Type out the freaking code.

I started out without learning Objective C, instead I dived straight into tutorials and building my first “Hello World“. Initially, it was more of a monkey see monkey do. I followed instructions closely and make sure I’m inline with the screenshots. But something was wrong, I did not understand what was I doing. I know I’m writing some kind of logic or instructions into X-code but I have no idea what each instruction was task to perform. I moved ahead. Each time reading the tutorials carefully and making sure no typo mistakes. But as the instructions get longer, I get more confused.

Than Kong send me this link about tying out the code so that I can understand better. I restart the whole thing and indeed that each instruction appears and seems to be more meaningful. So if you are like me on a learning journey, do type out the freaking code and you will understand better. 

It’s amazing how deeply I can understand the logic and any foreign syntax when I actually have to write it out.

It’s not easy as you think

Lijiuan issued me a challenge on NYE, and that is to create an simple count-down timer app on iOS. Now this is very different from following tutorials. When you follow tutorials to do up an app, there are instructions to read, screenshots to follow. But if you looking to customize an app, that’s a different game. So I seek google to see if anyone is doing the same, I also search on stack overflow or even think of asking any iOS developer in Plug-in for help. But I put asking for help from friend as the last resort because I know they are busy plus it was NYE. So it was google and stack overflow for me, but each count down timer that people made was different. The way they use NSTimer was also different so I had to figure out what I need. The workflow is also different too. This is where the fun starts, you mix and match the code and this is also the stage the you learn most.

If you are a non-technical founder, an iOS app actually takes a lot of work (#goodread) Please spare some thoughts for your developers.

**I understand that some readers may think, hey it is just a simple count down timer. What’s the challenge? To you it’s easy, to me it’s a challenge.

There are bad times and there good times

When are the bad times? When your build shows warning and your app is not working the way you want it too. When there is an error or a warning, X code will still show but what I hate most is having a typo mistake.

This statement is suppose to be this way:

if (tableView == self.searchDisplayController.searchResultsTableView) {

[self performSegueWithIdentifier: @”showRecipeDetail” sender: self];

But I type it this way:

if (tableView == self.searchDisplayController.searchResultsTableView) {

[self performSegueWithIdentifier: @”showRecipeDetail” sender:self];

And the space difference cost me almost a full day to find. My eyes were like sticking to the screen, head banging thinking what has gone wrong. And sometimes we just have to let it go, perhaps going for a run, a walk or even to sleep and come back to fight another day. You will be much fresher. Which is I feel for the developers now, you all are amazingly patience.

Of course there are the good times, when you feel that you are god-like. When I solved find out a bug, solve a problem or catch an error, I feel good. It’s sort of like a runner’s high. Especially when I managed to get my countdown timer up and running. The kind of feeling is hard for me to put into words but it feels great.

And this is my learning. Let me know what you thinkParse is next on my list and looking forward to advance my skills.

Photo Credit: copyfighting

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