Learning Swift and iOS App Development

I’ve been developing apps for the iPhone and iPad now for 5+ years. It has been an amazingly rewarding experience. However, I wouldn’t have gotten this far without the help and support of a vibrant and helpful iOS community. Most of my interactions have been on-line, but I have attended many local meetings and several conferences. In this post, I will highlight the key resources that have enabled my success.

Tutorials and Videos

As a ski instructor, we are encouraged in our training to analyze our guests learning styles and present our materials in ways that connect with a variety of learning styles. For me, I best learn about programming by going through a step by step examples. There is an abundant amount of great tutorials and instructional videos available on the web. The two sources I go to first is RayWenderlich.com this site is very active with a large selection of very high quality tutorials as well as video lessons. There are many tutorials available for free, if you like the free level I encourage you to purchase some of the more in-depth packages. The team at RayWenderlich is very active and they are usually the first to publish high quality videos of the new technology coming out of Apple, as well as lots of resources for the game programmer.

I also subscribe to a video tutorial series that has a new entry each week at NSScreenCast . Ben Scheirman at NSScreenCast provides a bite-size video each week on iOS development. These videos have touch on a full range of issues for developers including language features, great third party libraries, development tools and more. If your interested in a more academic presentation try the On-line Stanford course taught by Apple engineers and updated every semester or so at Stanford On-line. In addition to these resources I often use google to help find tutorials on a very specific issue and I’m always pleasantly surprised at the richness of what is freely available.

Getting Your Questions Answered

I would not have been successful in my venture into App Development without a place to get my specific questions answered. stackoverflow.com has been that very place. If you have not stumbled into the StackExchange universe through google take the plunge. The team there has built a platform where questions get answered and the best questions with the best answered rise to the top. To get the best results I use a specific iOS method and class name and my question in the Google search engine. Up comes several questions to choose form, as well as the best answers. You can see if the original questioner has accepted the answer as well as the other top vote-getting answered. I don’t believe a programming day goes by without me benefiting from this valuable resource. I sometimes find through google, individual blog posts related to my issue and if the StackOverflow answers aren’t sufficient I will venture there with satisfactory results.

There are now more interact question answering venues. I support the site HackHands.Com that provides an exchange where you can post questions and get live expert, on-line to work with you at $1 per minute. There are other sites coming on board offering interactive guidance, question answering, tutoring, mentoring and code pairing options. If speaking with someone more knowledgeable than, you are of interests checkout these options: www.airpair.com to connect with iOS experts on an hourly basis, thinkful.com for on-line learning with a mentor.

Meetups, Cocoaheads, Regional Conferences

There is probably a meeting of iOS developers happening this very week in a city nearby. The folks at Meetup.com have a specific site to help you find an iOS Meetup nearby ios.meetup.com. These groups usually have a monthly meeting where a speaker give a presentation with plenty of time for networking before and after. They may also have a more informal gathering where the laptops are open, and you can get and provide specific programming help. Your community may have a cocoaheads.org local group these groups may not use meetups to promote their activities so it worth searching there as well. In addition to these monthly gatherings, there are several regional conferences around the country worth visiting to get face to face contact with others working on iOS. CocoaConf offers several conferences around the country each season. In Colorado there is the free iosdevcampcolorado.com with events each year in Denver and Colorado Springs as well as the more commercial 360idev.com. As usual use the google machine to find a conference near you or at some location, you would like to visit.

Apple Training Resources

The developer.apple.com website has it own collection of amazing materials. I have placed them here near the last on the list not because they have low quality but because I generally find them pitched at a bit higher level than I usually can grasp at first blush. I find that a third-party tutorial is necessary before I jump into the Apple Documentation and sample app. But once I have the necessary prerequisites Apple offers the definitive resources. The videos from Apples WWDC conferences are excellent and are worth the effort to view. There is now an iOS app that makes these videos easy to access and view. All the WWDC conference video transcripts can be found at http://asciiwwdc.com so you can easily search for the videos of specific interests.

Books and Traditional Learning Resources

There are many excellent books available for all ranges of programming experiences and all types of iOS specific topics. I have a library full of iOS and Objective-C titles. I’m comfortable with the book format and will use books to help me get started in specific areas. However, I found that these resources have taken a back seat to the many great things I’ve used from the above. A good book successfully prioritizes our attention and curates good materials. However, I have found that the iOS world is moving too fast that it’s not really worth recommending any one of them. For example as of July 2014. All of the above listed resources have excellent content for those approaching the new Swift programming language, but no book beyond those offered by Apple have been published yet. I haven’t found a more traditional classroom course worth attending. However, there seem to be some good options for boot camps and other intensive training programs at a premium price.

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your looking to get started with programming for the iPhone and iPad there is no better time and the resources to help you succeed are legendary.

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