Coding refreshers and getting started in iOS dev

Some links to material I’ve been using to refresh / learn some coding skills. It’s been ages since I wrote any code from scratch, so I needed something that would not be too high-level, but I also wanted it to get into practical applications really quickly.

All the material below is free, and combines video, lecture notes and templates.

Stanford courses

Excellent free access to courses from Stanford via iTunesU (for video) and course websites (for lecture notes and examples)

106A Programming methodology

From nothing to coding in Java, explaining principles of programming and logic along the way.

I’ve been using the Spring 2011 version of the handouts etc.

106B Programming Abstractions

C++ course, that assumes no prior C++ knowledge, but does assume you know a bit about programming.

Course contents for 106B


Developing Apps for iOS

Definitely assumes you know another language, but then takes you through the iOS dev environment, Interface design and MVC model. I started with this course, then moved back to the other 2 for a bit to brush up on some of the groundwork. I did manage to follow the instructions and complete the first couple of assignments before doing that, so it definitely gives enough guidance to get you started.

iTunes U

Lecture materials


For a bit of variety, I also went through this series of tutorials that walk you through your first app.

Topics are:

  • Beginning iOS Development: Setting Up The Development Environment
  • Beginning iOS Development: Building Fortune Crunch
  • Beginning iOS Development: Using Interface Builder
  • Beginning iOS Development: Xcode Fundamentals
  • Beginning iOS Development: Windows, Views, and View Controllers
  • Beginning iOS Development: Debugging Fundamentals
  • Beginning iOS Development: Data Persistence

They also have tutorials on loads of other aspects of programming and languages (I’ve been having a look at some Ruby on Rails stuff too)

If it’s specifically iOS development that you’re interested in, then you need to sign up to the iOS development programme. The Developing Apps for iOS material shows you how to do this. You don’t need to pay unless you actually want to run your app on a device. Until you get to that point, a free account will let you run an emulator that comes with the suite of iOS development tools available from the apple developer website.


Test your website content, as well as your UX.

Nobody needs to convince you that it’s important to test your website’s design and interaction with the people who will use it, right? But if that’s all you do, you’re missing out on feedback about the most important part of your site: the content.

Whether the purpose of your site is to convince people to do something, to buy something, or simply to inform, testing only whether they can find information or complete transactions is a missed opportunity: Is the content appropriate for the audience? Can they read and understand what you’ve written?

From A List Apart:Testing Content


Life inside Facebook: how head of developers organises 500 people

Ever wondered what it’s like to be an engineer inside Facebook? We got an exclusive interview with Mike Schroepfer, vice president of engineering at the company, who has previously been named one of the 50 most important people on the web, to ask him how he gets things done in an organisation that’s not only growing fast – but also setting the pace when it comes to a lot of web implementations.

Schroepfer is in charge of a team of 500-odd developers who do everything on the site

Ah, he makes it sound so simple – I’d love to know more about what infrastructure supports this development arrangement, and what their investment in automated testing has been. It’s a bit of an obsession for me at the moment.


Coming Out in the Sciences: After 50 Years in the Lab

Coming Out in the Sciences: Part I—After 50 Years in the Lab, a Reproduction Expert Leaves the Closet

Maggie Koerth-Baker at 9:00 AM Monday, Oct 11, 2010


Story and interview by Steve Silberman

Neena Schwartz is a legend in reproductive biology. A trailblazing endocrinologist, she helped map the pathways of communication between the brain and the reproductive organs, uncovering the crucial role of a hormone called inhibin in regulating ovulation. She has also been one of the most outspoken advocates for women at the lab bench, co-founding the Association of Women in Science in 1971, fighting for equality in the face of pervasive old boys’ networks, and mentoring generations of scientists at Northwestern University.

Throughout this distinguished career, however, Schwartz has borne the burden of a secret—she’s gay. […] Now retired, Schwartz explains in the book that she is coming out with the hope that her story will “provide young gay scientists or other professionals with a lesson of possibilities for success and happiness without such splits in their lives.”

An interesting story of feminism in the world of science in the 1970s.


Google users’ stories

Some of the best feedback we receive are the real-world stories of how people have used Google to make an impact in their lives or the lives of others. We’re constantly amazed at what people can do and have done with our technology—from making a life-saving diagnosis to reuniting with a long lost love.

When i talk about using storytelling as a means of knowledge transfer, people often ask for examples of where this has been used, so I was pleased to find this examples from Google.


Design with Intent toolkit – resource to encourage different perspectives on design

It’s been a long time coming, but a year after v.0.9, thenew Design with Intent toolkit, DwI v.1.0, is ready. Officially titled Design with Intent: 101 Patterns for Influencing Behaviour Through Design, it’s in the form of 101 simple cards, each illustrating a particular ‘gambit‘ for influencing people’s interactions with products, services, environments, and each other, via the design of systems. They’re loosely grouped according to eight ‘lenses‘ bringing different disciplinary perspectives on behaviour change.


This is such a brilliant set of resources to encourage a fresh look at design. It points out examples of how conscious design decisions have influenced the world around us. In the same vein as the also excellent The Psychology of Everyday Things by Donald A. Norman.


Posted via Posterous by Elaine Aitken