Covered in Code

One Guy's Journey Down the Long Road to Code

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Using Elance Made Me Want to Learn How to Develop iOS Apps Myself

Now that santadispatch is on the app store, I though fellow entrepreneurs would be interested in what it was like to have an iphone app developed through elance.

Last month, I came up with an idea for an iPhone app for the Christmas holiday season. The idea seemed simple enough: I wanted to give parents a way for their kids to send a message to Santa, and keep track of good deeds that they do. Nothing fancy. I mocked up the design in Photoshop, and posted on Reddit to find a developer. I had virtually zero budget, and since it was already late September, time was ticking. I fielded a few responses from qualified developers, but I just wasn’t going to be able to afford their services for my pet project. So, I signed up for Elance and posted the job.

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Fighting My Way Over an Inevitable Hurdle


When I decided jump head first into learning how to develop iOS applications, I knew that it wouldn’t be easy.  Programming isn’t something that comes naturally to me.  Over the past two days, as I’ve worked my way through the first several chapters of Objective-C Programming: The Big Nerd Ranch Guide, I’ve gained confidence as I’ve completed each exercise.  The challenges haven’t been any issue, either.

That confidence came to a grinding halt tonight, when I got to chapters eight and nine.  These chapters, Addresses and Pointers and Pass By Reference, confused the hell out of me.  I don’t really understand what goes on behind the scenes with computers, and it’s always something that has eluded me.  I completed the lessons in both chapters, but I finished them feeling like I have no idea what’s going.

So, tomorrow, I’m going to go through them again.  And maybe the next day, too.  I want to make sure that I’m retaining what I’m reading, and it just didn’t happen on these two chapters.  Stay tuned…


Starting My Retreat to the Big Nerd Ranch


Today was a pretty awesome day.  After my realization this morning, I started listening to the Programming Methodologies course on iTunes U throughout the day, while I went about my normal day at work.  While I’m not able to give the lessons anything close to my full attention during the day, I’m confident that I’m picking up some of the concepts.  Learning about why good programmers do what they do, think how they think, and code how they code is going to be hugely beneficial.  I’m going to continue to watch them, hopefully more attentively, this weekend. Read More


Why Does Everything in Objective-C Seem to Be Prefixed with “NS”?


I learned this today while going through Part 2 of Ray Wenderlich’s Objective-C tutorial, and thought it was interesting enough to share.  I feel like I’m working with important parts of technological history!

When Steve Jobs left Apple in the mid-1980s he started a company called NeXT. NeXT created the Objective-C language along with an operating system called NeXTSTEP.

Objects in Objective-C were prefixed with “NS” — short for NeXTSTEP. When Apple bought NeXT in 1996, they developed OSX and iOS on top of the existing NeXTSTEP frameworks — and almost 20 years later, we’re all still using class names from the NeXT era.


Avoiding Building a House of Cards: My First Realization


Last night, after jumping right into learning Objective-C using CodeSchool, I realized that I may be jumping in too quickly. I want to really learn how to develop applications. I want to understand why I’m making the decisions I’m making as I work my way through the development process. I want to build a solid foundation on which to grow. For many people reading this, it may be all about knowing enough to piece together a basic prototype of an idea. That was my original goal, but that’s quickly changing.
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