About four to five months ago, I was working in a space where the majority of work was done in web development. Specifically, I was dealing with a messaging system in Java and web system in Perl and Ruby on Rails. I had been working this space for sometime now and I felt that new challenges needed to be met with and I set my sights on the iOS space, specifically iPhone application development! After said number of months, we have updated our iPhone application and released our iPad app. I have learnt several valuable lessons during this journey that I would like to share with you guys (when I say guys, I mean the two guys who actually read this blog and the google bot).
Lesson #1: Just because you know ‘C’, does not mean you know ‘Objective-C’
They are not only different languages, they are different paradigms and require different ways of thinking. Since Objective-C is now mainly used to develop applications that people will touch and then use, you have to think more and more of interface design and user experience, as well as thinking of the underlying layer which involves C concepts like memory management and faster queues. You simply cannot be good at the latter and not be good at the former.
Lesson #2: Learn the UIView lifecycle and learn it inside out.
Understand what when things like drawRect and layoutSubviews get called. Understand what happens when you overload the two. Learn when to call setNeedsDisplay and setNeedsLayout and more importantly, learn who should be calling these!
Lesson #3: Always always have apple documentation open next to you.
The docs help a lot. Just having them open next to you is going to save you a lot of time trying to remember
the method, especially the animation ones which have long method names and multiple arguments. Not only that, most of the time (unless you are using the docs for Automation), the docs are all you need to resolve a issue.
Lesson #4: Write an app.
Whatever you learn from work or hobby or reading or podcasts or WWDC videos, put that knowledge into making your own app! That is the best way to learn. Make an app! Whatever you want, any idea will do and start putting whatever you learn into it. And start showing it to people who know more than you and ask for their feedback.
Lesson #5: Be prepared to stuff up.
If you are always scared of stuffing your work up, then you are not going to do much, or even learn much. This is not to say that you should cowboy your way through the work, but to have high expectations from yourself and to be prepared to be disappointed, but to never ever lower those expectations. There are millions of apps out there but only a few of them are watchwords. If you want yours to become one, you have to make a million mistakes before that!.
Wrote my first bit of iOS code yesterday. Was great fun. 🙂 Mostly it was adding a custom image to an app but it was fun nonetheless.
Also, I do not think I like XCode as an IDE but more on that later.