Finding the right path

Earlier this year, I worked my way through Swift Playgrounds – Apple’s easy-to-use educational tool to teach you the basics of the Swift language – and to celebrate, purchased a quite adorable R2D2 that you can program with that self-same language. Unfortunately, I couldn’t quite make the leap in my head from the playgrounds I had been messing about with to the more tangible efforts with a toy, and the instructions that came with that little droid were a bit more advanced than I was.

So I’ve been pondering what the next step is and that’s when Mr C suggested having a look at the courses on Ray Wenderlich’s site. The site has an iOS learning path that starts with building an app. It throws you right in at the deep end, opening up XCode and within minutes having an app that does something, however small.

I followed that first course from start to finish, and I loved it. It’s got the right mix of introducing the basics, guiding you through the more advanced sections and glossing over what you don’t need to know yet, so that you can still get the hands on feeling of making an actual product.

Unlike the playgrounds (which I still enjoyed, don’t get me wrong), you really have a sense of working towards something which makes it that much easier to join the dots in your head and solidify the learning.

I have finished the course now and have a fully-formed app that is actually a fun game. I’m not planning to submit this to the App Store considering it’s not my invention (although a quick search of the store suggests many people have), but I am diving straight into the next course on the Ray Wenderlich path to greatness – that’s what I’m calling it anyway.

The next course is more about the Swift programming language, so back to the slightly more abstract again, but I have faith that having achieved what I have so far, learning the language this time will be more meaningful. I also know that the third course on the list gets you building another app, this time a To Do app. Goodness knows I have experience of those, so I cannot wait!