Starting off with the wrong course
About a month ago, I got back pains that would not go away in just a few days, so I ended up staying at home for a prolonged time, recuperating by short walks and resting by lying on my back. The walks were entertaining enough, but lying down. It gets boring real fast. Even with Netflix and other available streaming services of today.
So, I decided to really make an effort on getting started with iOS development, now that I figured Swift and Xcode should be best buddies. Objective C is not an option for me.
However, I looked for some MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses) to follow, in order to have a schedule to stick to and to learn the iOS platform stuff in a sensible order.
I turned to Coursera, since I took a Python course there a year ago, hosted by Rice University. Remembering that course being absolutely brilliant and tons of fun.
I searched using the keyword "swift". And sure enough, I found one course: iOS App Development with Swift Specialization. It is a four-part "specialization". The first three parts were somewhat useful, but the fourth and last part, where the Capstone Project was to be implemented... a complete disaster.
Nothing was right about the last part, not the course description, nor the irrelevant project contents. The instructors of the course were blatantly silent and did not respond to any of the students questions about assignment details, how to peer review and grade peers.
The capstone project part has only 25 minutes of video content! What a complete fiasco and a huge disappointment. If you want a good kickstart in iOS development.
Don't take this course hosted by the University of Toronto:
"iOS App Development with Swift Specialization"
(Or in plain english: It's bullshit)
Anyway, I filed a complaint to Coursera about the course, but they could not help me with reimbursement, I had paid for the entire specialization at the beginning and had received the certification of the first Course already. Voiding all reimbursement. But at least they thanked me for the info. I especially hope Courser will look into the course provided by University of Toronto and realize its quality is too poor to suit any MOOC that has a rep to keep up.
So, there I was, being disappointed, let down and discouraged. How hard should it be to get started in a proper way and having fun at the same time?
Everything changed from crap to awesome with Udemy, Devslopes and the brilliant Mark Price
After a quick search, I found Udemy.com. They have this course, iOS 9 and Swift 2: From Beginner to Paid Professional, developed and hosted by Mark Price, a humorous, rock'nroll-ish don't-take-yourself-too-seriously kind of guy, who apparently has a knack for teaching. The course costs something like $35, but hey, you get over 48hrs of video content, source code pre- and post excercise completion and all the tips and tricks other courses don't provide. I could probably go on about the details of coding best practices to how to storyboard your app (in all the ways you can do it), but I won't. Believe me, this course will get you hooked, jumpstarted and smiling.
So, I'd purchased the course, followed the video tutorials, occasionally setting my own Xcode project up, mimicking what Mark was doing in a video. Just to repeat the the practical stuff in Xcode.
Eventually, I got to the lecture section about getting your app into the App Store. Once I had seen it, I really felt I had to create a simple app and get it into the app store. So I did. ZiadaTime was born!
ZiadaTime is just a simple multi-stopwatch app, where each stopwatch occupies a cell in a table. All the usual stuff of a stopwatch is implemented: stop/stop/lap/reset. Each stopwatch also got a title and you could review the lap times as a popup, if there was too many laps to show on one row in the display. You can also reorder, hide and edit the stopwatches. Why am I telling you this? Well these things cover the basics of Swift, Xcode and the iOS UIKit framework. And you don't need much to finish a small app and deploy it on App Store. Actually, I'll retract some of that, the deployment steps in iTunes Connect, setting up provisioning profiles and setting properties in the Xcode project is something you need to do many times before you remember it by heart. But, this is all covered in the course! And yes, you go back and follow the steps, video by video to get it done.
So, is iOS 9 and Swift 2: From Beginner to Paid Professional by Udemy worth paying $35?
YES, YES and HELL YES! You get lifetime access to all the videos, the course is updated with new content, follows along as Swift and the iOS platform changes. So you can always go back, look at something you rememeber being addressed, and see how it was done. I've done so many times.