Staring at a blank screen with growing impatience

I’ve only been studying Objective-C seriously for three weeks now, and I’m already  frustrated. To go from being totally competent and confident in one field (ActionScript) to being confused and clumsy in a very closely related one isn’t why I decided to go down this path.

I am trying to study as thoroughly and carefully as possible – I don’t feel like it’s good enough to stumble through some sample code, twist it in to my own design and upload it to the app store. (It’s amazing how many apps I see where the only reviews are “It crashes all the time” or “Doesn’t work as advertised” – I’m determined that won’t be me). And I learn better when I work from first principles (coding my TableViewControllers from scratch, for example), and through repetition (coding in a blank document every time instead of copying and pasting from previous projects).

For me to be satisfied programming I need to know what I’m doing. (I was always amazed by how few Flash developers I met were curious about the available frameworks or who would even bother reading Adobe’s documentation). I want to be proud of what I make. So I’ve put myself in the unfortunate position where I won’t be happy until I’m at least as confident in Objective-C as I am in ActionScript.

In Outliers, Malcolm Gladwell talks about a kind of magic number – around ten thousand hours – of practice that seems to be required to really excel at a particular skill – and seven years is about how long it took me to clock up that many hours of Flash.

I actually feel like I’m progressing at a reasonable pace – I’ve already producing totally functional (if flawed) apps as learning exercises, and the way that XCode and Apple’s frameworks allow you to get up and running quickly really is a thing of beauty. If I can remember to remind myself that ActionScript and Objective-C are both classes of the same activity – “Programming”, then I don’t get so dejected about the Ten-Thousand-Hours thing. And I’m still sure that I’ve made the right decision.

I just think that maybe I fooled myself in to thinking that it wouldn’t be hard.