Spring Break: No Wi-Fi and learning iOS development

Today and tomorrow I’m staying with family in Marina Del Rey and have no Internet connection on my laptop due to a lack of Wi-Fi (my Macbook Air doesn’t have an ethernet port). After getting over the feeling that I’ve traveled back in time to around 2003, I’ve adapted to the situation with the help of my trusty iPhone 4S and an outdated copy of "Sam’s Teach Yourself iOS 5 Application Development" that I bought early last summer but never got around to reading.

I refuse to upgrade my Verizon account to include wireless hotspot functionality for only two days of use, so the phone is being used for social media and blogging while I make my way trough the book. 3G is pretty damn slow compared to the connection I’m used to back in Berkeley, but I find solace by reminding myself that it’s better than nothing.

Going through a book on iOS 5 development with tools updated for iOS 6 has been relatively painless. I’ve noticed a few small things that make me appreciate the little improvements that Apple makes to its tools each year. For instance, the author of the book complains that editing the Status Bar settings for an app requires editing the plist file via the Info tab in Xcode 4.2. In the latest version of Xcode (4.6 as I write this post), these settings are easily accessible via drop-down menus on the Summary tab. I’m hoping the changes to Xcode between the book’s release and now are all like this one (making common things simpler rather than eliminating options entirely), but I’ve still mentally prepared myself for some major deprecation that will make a chapter of the book useless.

Also, I know I’m like 5 years late to the party with this complaint, but Objective-C is really ugly. C was the first "real" programming language I picked up after Visual Basic, but after my phase of wanting to make video games for a living I started picking up web languages, primarily PHP and Javascript. I know they each have their faults, but I know few people who would complain about Apple releasing a friendlier language that compiles down to Objective-C (as Marco Arment and John Siracusa recently discussed on an episode of Accidental Tech Podcast).

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