- Series: Big Nerd Ranch Guides
- Paperback: 590 pages
- Publisher: Big Nerd Ranch Guides; 3 edition (March 29, 2012)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 9780321821522
- ISBN-13: 978-0321821522
- ASIN: 0321821521
- Product Dimensions: 7.1 x 1.5 x 10 inches
- Shipping Weight: 2.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 213 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #968,196 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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iOS Programming: The Big Nerd Ranch Guide (3rd Edition) (Big Nerd Ranch Guides) 3rd Edition
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About the Author
Joe Conway is the senior iOS instructor at Big Nerd Ranch and has been consulting on the iOS platform since its creation. A graduate of the University of Wisconsin, he has been writing Objective-C and Cocoa code since the dawn of OS X. Joe wrote the materials for the exceptionally popular Big Nerd Ranch iOS Bootcamp course, on which this book is based.
Aaron Hillegass, a former employee of NeXT and Apple, has nearly two decades experience programming and teaching Objective-C, Cocoa, and more recently, iOS. In 2001, Aaron founded Big Nerd Ranch and began developing intensive courses that teach programming in a focused, distraction-free environment. Aaron is also the author of Objective-C Programming: The Big Nerd Ranch Guide and Cocoa Programming for Mac OS X.
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I tried to use several iOS educational materials all over the web - paid and free - and I struggled with them all. They either assumed too much, or were just poorly structured for actual learning. Wandering around in code does NOT make a good learning experience.
So what sets Big Nerd Ranch's book apart? The authors are trainers/teachers by trade, and it shows - the structure of this book made learning easy, enjoyable, POSSIBLE. They aren't just wading through code and expecting you to get it; they outline what they are doing, and why, then show you the syntax, then fill in the gaps, then roll over it all with a fresh coat of learning paint. And in the end it's beautiful.
The authors also set up a discussion forum for the book and its Challenges on their website, which was a very handy resource. There, you can talk with people who are reading the book at the same time you are! compare answers, etc.
To give you an idea of the scope of this book, it took me roughly 120 hours to complete (roughly 2.5 weeks working on it full time). I'm not sure if this is typical, or slow, or fast. But it's a 550-page beast. A beautiful, beautiful beast.
When I started this book I had basically 0 programming background. I knew some Ruby, and can put together a very basic website using Rails. None of that mattered, though; none of that helped me here.
But by the end of this book, I felt like a true (albeit novice) iOS Programmer. I feel that way because of two things:
(1) After reading this book, I can download almost any App from the App Store and explain how it could be built. And then build something just like it.
(2) A good friend of mine has been an iOS developer for 2 years now, and after reading this book he and I can have conversations - REAL conversations - where we trade best practices and so on. Make no mistake, for him the syntax is automatic whereas for me I still have to think about it. He's been through TONS of real App creation, whereas I'm mostly practiced in the fundamentals. But he's not bored!
Imagine having a conversation with Stephen Hawking where he doesn't find you boring. Sure, he's 100x smarter than you, but you can hang with the man! That is how I feel about other iOS developers now, and it feels GOOD.
Do all the challenges. Get lost in them and frustrated and use the forums. Get familiar with StackOverflow.com. But start by learning Objective-C and then getting this book.
Highly recommended. 5-star. If you've always wanted to bring to life the things in your head, this book might be a life changer.
It's a wonderful book, and I praise the authors, but it goes off the rails in a few important areas. First, the authors follow a JIT style of explaining iOS concepts. The abstract principles of iOS are not systematically addressed in isolation. Instead, the authors have you type in gobs of code to make apps, and as they present the code they mention key principles of iOS in passing. It's a very bottom-up, desultory style of technical explanation that I have always hated. The authors claim that students do best when they are introduced to topics as they need them, but in my humble opinion the book goes way too far in that direction, with some chapters presenting a blizzard of agglutinated concepts in machine-gun succession. Second, the authors go into unnecessary details on a lot of iOS topics, stuff that's not on the critical path to basic iOS development. Beginners want to learn the basics of iOS before studying toll-free bridging or advanced theory of singletons. Third, the book makes you do a project that builds from chapter to chapter. It's a perfectly reasonable project (and a lot better that the ludicrous apps other books make you code), but it makes it very hard to skip forward in the book if you find one section too hard or can't get your app to work. To keep my project working, I was forced to waste hours and hours of my time hunting down small errors in my code (usually because I picked the wrong thing from autocompletion) when I really wanted to leave it and move on to the next topic with a wiped slate. Fourth, a few parts of the book are already outdated (and turn off autolayout!) Fifth, the book covers a lot of ground very swiftly, and you have to put in a lot of sweat to make sure you learn the stuff as you go. I bet a lot of people get this book, copy all the code into Xcode and get the apps to run, and then close the book and couldn't rewrite any of the apps from memory.
But don't let my griping discourage you from getting this book. Having plowed through the vast wasteland of iOS books out there (and it is vast), the Big Nerd Ranch guide to iOS was the best and most successful. Just be aware that getting through it is a lot of work and is not for the easily discouraged.