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Beginning iPhone Programming

CocoaHeads/Pittsburgh is running an experiment for 2015: Can we, as a group, work through an intro iPhone programming book?  The iPhone and iPad are fun platforms to code for, and you can do some sophisticated things with relatively few lines of code.  It's not a trivial platform to program for, though.  There's a mountain of available features.  Sometime there's gotchas that'll catch you if you're not careful.


We'll kick things off officially at the second CocoaHeads/Pittsburgh meeting in 2015, Thursday February 12, at our usual spot at the Eat-N-Park in Robinson.  We usually get there around 7 or so, get a bit to eat, and then have our presentation at 8:00. Before then, feel free to wrap your mind around Swift, the new programming language for the iPhone (and Mac, too)

The Book

We'll be using the currently-beta edition of iOS 8 SDK Development: Creating iPhone and iPad Apps with Swift by Chris Adamson and Janie Clayton. As of this writing it's in the fourth beta and the authors aren't planning on structural changes.  We'll start out with the beta PDF / epub / mobi.

If Swift is a completely new language to you, you'll probably want to browse Apple's Swift materials.  But we'll be covering Swift as we work through the book.

The Procedure

Each month, MarkD or SeanM will give an overview of what we'll be working on the next month, typically one chapter a week, as well as answering questions (or at least trying to) from the previous month's chapters.  We figure a chapter a week is a good pace, especially for those of you who have a busy life outside of iOS programming (which would be nearly all of us).

The Resources

Discussion on the CocoaHeads/Pittsburgh Google group is welcome.  Also, some local iPhone programmers offer "office hours" where you can ask questions that come up during the course of the month.  That way you're not stuck if you get an error you can't figure out or if the compiler crashes.  Let us see your code and we can probably find an interface builder problem quickly.  Similarly, if a topic just isn't making sense, sometimes a different explanation can help clear things up.

Here's the "office" crew.  
  • Mark Dalrymple (@borkware on twitter, markd@borkware.com email, borkware on iChat/AIM/Skype). If it's online, feel free to ask away.
  • Sean McCune (@mccuneware on twitter, sean.mccune@gmail.com email, pghcoder@mac.com on iChat/AIM). If the status mentions CocoaHeads office hours, feel free to ask questions.
  • Interested in joining as a local expert?  Let markd know!

The Presentations

Organizers of other CocoaHeads chapters are welcome to use the presentations that will be built for this, findable at http://borkware.com/cocoaheads/.  

The Cost

There is no cost, outside the price of the book (Chris and Janie did the really hard work of organizing and explaining all this information!).  CocoaHeads meetings are free, as are the office hours.  Of course, if you try to wrangle some free consulting that way, we might arrange to get your billing address.

The ebook is about $25, another $25 if you want it and the dead-trees edition.  If you actually want to run code on your device you'll need to pay Apple $99 for a developer's certificate.  Information can be found at Apple's iOS Dev Center.  The book uses Xcode 6, the current version of Apple's development tools, for all of its step-by-step instructions.  

Signing Up

No need to sign up - just show up at the February 12th meeting, and enjoy some geeky hang-out time.  Feel free to join the CocoaHeads Pittsburgh meetup  If you can't make the meeting, drop MarkD a line and he'll let you know what's up. 

What you Will Need

You don't need anything for the kick-off, but feel free to install the latest non-beta Xcode, which would be 6.1.  As betas become real, there will be updates to the book and we'll need to update our Xcodes.  Welcome to iOS development!

You can get Xcode from the Mac App Store, as well as from http://developer.apple.com.  You'll want to create an account there so you can get all the toys.

Month 1 Resources