Why Would A Java Specialist Start Mobile Development With iOS?

There is a short answer to that question, but that would not be as much fun.

The year was 2012, and in fact it was June that year to be more specific.

I was happily architecting and developing enterprise and web applications all within the Java space, which I had been doing for longer than I should probably admit. My latest project at the time was venturing into cool newer technologies such as Scala, AngularJS, and MongoDB.

I'll admit now that at the time, I was proudly "wearing" my BlackBerry in the holster that came with it, until I left that piece on a train between London and Ipswich while meeting customers in the UK. Losing that holder was probably a good thing that happened, even if I didn't know it at the time.

In our family, we had seen BlackBerry and Samsung devices come and go, and by this time I was the lone standout in our home, after several iPhones entered the mix to replace those other devices. My wife had been the most recent convert as she sold her Samsung in favor of an iPhone 4S.

At the time I was becoming mildly curious about the iPhones when I saw what they could do that my BlackBerry could not. I had also come to a realization that as a developer, I wanted to jump in the ring and start developing mobile apps. That left me with a decision. Which platform was I going to choose, iOS or Android? I had quickly ruled out cross-platform apps in favor of native. Of course that is a hotly debated topic unto itself, but not relevant for this post.

There is typically an easy route and a seemingly harder one when you face a fork in the road. The easiest path to take was to start developing mobile apps with Android based on my Java background. In fact, I did download the Android SDK and tools, and then created the proverbial Hello World app.

Nevertheless, aside from the fact that a tidal wave of iOS devices had flowed into our home, I had seen enough of the trending platforms to know that my preference was for iOS.

I struggled with whether that should mean venturing into a new frontier of iOS, versus leveraging my years of Java experience. There was this one minor detail though. I had never placed my fingers upon a Mac computer keyboard before, so it seemed like a different world compared to what I was used to.

I spent a little more time analyzing the pros and cons, and soon had made a decision. The iPhone 5 was coming, and I wanted one. I also wanted to develop software for the platform that I myself would be using and embracing. I loved the slick, all inclusive, integrated hardware and software that was the cornerstone of iOS devices.

I'll fast forward now to the release of the late 2012 Mac Mini, which became my first Mac, with maxed out RAM and an SSD. I had already started reading about iOS development with the Big Nerd Ranch Guide iOS Development book, so was very excited to finally have the Mac Mini and iPhone 5 to begin my journey of iOS development.

Taking that path when faced with a decision was awesome, and instead of doing what was easier and basing my decision on the comfort of an environment I knew, I started something completely new and exciting. I still love Java, but I am totally happy with my decision to focus on iOS for mobile, and have no regrets.

When Swift was announced, it was one more confirmation that I had made the right choice. The fact that this occurred relatively soon after I started iOS development was exciting, unexpected, and a huge bonus. Ironically, learning Scala was more beneficial than I knew at the time, because Swift and Scala share many similarities.

Why would a Java specialist start mobile development with iOS? Because I am passionate about Apple devices, I learned a new platform and two new languages, and I truly enjoy developing apps for iOS, the platform that I use myself every day.

Although I'm having lots of fun with iPhones and iPads, soon I look forward to venturing into development for Apple Watch and Apple TV. With the recent exciting rumor that we may see an Apple Watch 2 that is up to 40% thinner unveiled at WWDC 2016, that next venture might be sooner rather than later.

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