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On-line versus Paper 22 April 2009

Posted by Oliver Mason in Apple, iphone, programming, Uncategorized.
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DAY 4, and the textbook I ordered arrives from Amazon. (I’ll skip days on which I don’t do anything iPhone-dev related). The book looks good, and I now finally understand more about the connections between InterfaceBuilder and XCode. And why my attempts at displaying stuff in an UIWebView didn’t work: it’s all in the connections between interface components and variables in the code. Using graphical tools when you’re not used to them can be tricky.

This I think is the most important aspect in all this: previously my development environment (for pretty much the past 15 odd years) was vi (actually, vile) and a command-line version of either gcc or javac. I am so not used to IDEs, and all the things you won’t find in files. But I have to admit that using IB can greatly speed up the process of laying out applications.

On the telly and web I hear more stories from people making a killing with iPhone apps. Nice, though I have no illusions, as the kinds of things I’d be working on are fairly niche-type products. And I don’t even know how far I get, as I’m only doing it in my spare time. If it becomes too time-consuming I will probably not get very far.

Still, it would be nice to have a finished product in the App-store!

The book, btw, is an easy read. And apart from learning about the iPhone itself there is also a lot of getting used to the Mac style of doing things. Somehow a completely different world. And Objective-C has its own idioms. And on the iPhone there’s no garbage collection– that was always one of the biggest arguments for abandoning C++ in favour of Java, no more segmentation faults. Much fewer bugs, a whole category of them wiped out without any extra effort on my part. So back to manual transmission we go.

The main question when buying Beginning iPhone Development for me was whether it was going to be worth it. And given my lack of experience of developing for an Apple platform I’d say it is. And having it all in front of you in a book is still better than trying to find it yourself on the web, even if all the information is out there somewhere. Books are still more convenient than electronic documentation, at least for textbooks; reference material might be different.

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