[NOTICE: If you are interested in attending something like this in Edinburgh – please leave a comment so we can gauge interest]
Thanks to Hermoine Way from TechFluff.tv, along with Jonathan Sarno and Alex Cone from CodeFab, I had the pleasure of getting a scholarship to the iPhone Bootcamp in London this weekend.
The iPhone Bootcamp is a well established training course over in the States, and this is their first venture across the pond. The goal is simple: to turn complete beginners to iPhone developers in 24 hours. What this really translates to is a crash course from 10-6pm everyday for 3 days. Of course, most people stay beyond 6pm …
The organizers impose a limit of 15 people taking the course. There were 9 of us taking this class. Obviously this meant that there was a lot of one-to-one tuition and plenty of time to ask questions. The tutor, Alex Cone, knows a scarily large amount about Objective C and the iPhone development process. In fact, he can even tell you where to find the Apple engineers at the WWDC happening next week.
The course covered the basics of iPhone development. Here’s a basic run down of the contents:
Day 1 – It takes you from writing the mandatory “Hello World!” application (in a rather attractive combination of blue text on yellow background)
Day 2 – Goes through the basics of building a Table View application (which is the list view you get on your iPod). First you’ll hardwire the list in the code, then you move onto loading the list from a plist (property list), then through to loading a list using SQLite.
Day 3 – The morning covers web services and basic animations at breakneck speed, before getting splitting the class into groups and getting them to build an eBook application from scratch.
Accompanying the course is a BIG stack of slides, as well as a student package which includes sample code to the exercises.
As you can imagine, it was a lot to take in. I didn’t know anything about programming in the Cocoa framework or in Objective C – but I still managed to follow most of the exercises. I’m not saying that I didn’t get lost, and I did spend quite a bit of time trying to understand what was going on at a conceptual level. But I certainly got a rough idea of things. This was helped by the fact that I had programmed in Java before, and had an understanding of Model-View-Controller structure by playing with RubyonRails. Anyone without a basic understanding of either of these will struggle.
Also, there was a mixture of novices and slightly more experienced programmers on the course; a few had developed iPhone apps before, and a few (like me) don’t even own a Mac! I think everyone found their own level – some of the more experience coders just added more things for “style points”, whilst the novices followed the instructions.
Despite being exhausted, it was well-worth it. It definitely comes highly recommended and if anyone has money for sponsorship, I’m sure Alex and Jon would like to come up to Scotland!
So a BIG THANK YOU to Hermoine, Jon and Alex for letting me attend the course and I’m off to save up to get a macbook and an iPod Touch!