Hacker News new | comments | show | ask | jobs | submit login
Show HN: Learn iPhone and iPad development in less than an hour (diveintoios.com)
163 points by sidwyn on Oct 15, 2011 | hide | past | web | favorite | 91 comments

Just from the first sample (http://diveintoios.com/samples), it seems a bit heavy, listing many things that aren't necessary to get started. Customers can get that detail from a reference book/website (e.g. you could supply it as a supplementary pdf).

I think for a video, people would like the experience of being guided through by someone knowledgeable. They don't want a book; and they don't want a dry lecture. They want a substitute for an expert friend at their elbow. You don't need to impress with exhaustive detail - a beginner can't absorb it anyway.

So, for example, just say "⌘B to build and run it", instead of the several commands you go through. And not list all those methods for UIViewController. Instead, start with what is a UIViewController, in terms of the user-experience. i.e. why would you want one? Then, once the listener is motivated, introduce how to use it with an example.

I'm reminded of Steve Jobs, always thinking of the user's point of view (not the complete technical details); and using huge fonts with a small amount of text on slides.

But... honestly... maybe some people want exactly what you are doing. (if your younger self would have benefited from it, that's strong evidence that someone else would too.) Including the accent, your youth, audio quality etc. For each person that X is a negative, there can be another for whom it's a positive. Target those people who value what you value. You don't need to please all the people - just really please a small number, and that's enough for a one-man venture. Once you have a foothold, you can broaden your scope.

(Of course, if you strongly agree with some of the suggestions here, then they are now your values - and you should adopt them!)

Thanks. This post is much more encouraging than others.

I guess there's too much text in some slides. But then again, the text is required to supplement the tutorials. Guess I've got to figure a way to make it less heavy.

P.S. I did start with what a UIViewController is, it's just that I cut to the part with the methods and all. My bad.

This might seem a bit rude, especially because it takes a lot of work to launch something like this, but I'll try to give really honest feedback. So please don't take this as an attack on the project, but rather an unfiltered 'brain dump':

I personally wouldn't be compelled to buy it mainly because:

- I hear a "non-native" accent. I'm not a native english speaker myself, but for some reason this makes it very hard for me to listen over a longer period of time. I have the same problem with podcasts. This might be something very particular to my tastes though.

- The trainer sounds too young. I love to have people teach me things that have "been around". Somebody that knows Smalltalk/Lisp/... might be able to explain to me WHY things are done in a certain way as opposed to HOW they are done. Looking a bit at the linkedin profile behind the site creator (http://www.linkedin.com/pub/sidwyn-koh/26/4/495), I'll have to say that it doesn't really change my impression.

- The audio quality of the samples isn't that great. It's either audio compression artefacts or a bad microphone. Especially at that price, I'd like something as basic as the audio quality to be good.

- The website logo looks like MS Paint art

Thanks for your feedback. I value these comments over those who slam the product/website without any suggestions.

1) I'm from Singapore and English is my first language. 2) Good point. 3) I've actually been experimenting with mics, but I'll definitely re-record once I find the right one. 4) I hired a designer from dribbble to help me out. MS Paint Art, seriously?

Again, thanks for your suggestions.

>I've actually been experimenting with mics, but I'll definitely re-record once I find the right one.

I once heard a very simple trick on a Mixergy interview. Record yourself under a blanket. The interviewee who was a professional audio/video consultant explained that with a simple iPhone and by being under a blanket to kill surrounding sounds you can almost get a studio quality recording.

I think the gp might mean that he doesn't care for the spray of pixels around your logo -- the stuff highlighted in the arrows in my image. To be honest, it isn't to my taste either.


As they are placed exactly where a shadow would fall I think they are deliberate. I actually really like the design of the site.

That's funny, I noticed these stray pixels too, but I assumed they were put there on purpose, to make give lettering a 'dusty' appearance.

This seems a little spendy for video tutorials (peepcode is a good benchmark). Have you considered breaking them up into smaller bits and selling the same $50 content for 5 blocks @ $10 apiece?

This would also obviate some of the risk for the buyer? I.e. if they buy the first one and hate it, they aren't out $50.

(btw, don't get me wrong- $50 is CHEAP if you guys do a good job-- I'm wearing my marketeer hat with this comment)

This was exactly the model that led me to buy the full subscription to PeepCode after the first screencast -- watched one, was very useful to me, then bought the lot.

Just checked out Peepcode after reading your comment. This is like everything I've ever been hoping for -- programmers that rock producing stuff for people who already know about programming, but maybe not that particular flavor. Someone who knows C learning Ruby will benefit from being taught by someone who knows C.

No problem. Feel free to get the Basic Package for now. Will be happy to upgrade you if you wanna buy the rest too. Remember to use the promo code 'hackernews' for a 10% discount.

But the basic package is already $50

Here's a breakdown:

Basic Package - You get the Basic Course

Premium Package - You get the Basic and Intermediate Courses

Complete Package - You get the Basic, Intermediate, Advanced Courses

If you change your mind and wanna upgrade after watching the videos, feel free to drop me an email at sidwyn AT diveintoios.com.

Again, we're working to have more customizable options for you guys.

   This response doesn't address the concern of the comment that initiated it. He was suggesting that your program which currently consists of 3 $50 chunks might be too expensive for someone to risk the purchase of the first tutorial.

   If you could divide the beginning tutorial into a few smaller lessons, it would be far easier for someone to justify giving your program a chance. While $50 isn't a huge amount of money, your competitors have given consumers the ability to sample their videos for a much lower price.

   If you can't divide the beginning tutorial, perhaps you could create another, shorter video from scratch, and market it at a cheaper price. Once you have established a reputation people may feel more comfortable buying the complete set of tutorials.

And the $50 starting price is why I'm not interested. I prefer the model of "micropayments" -- being able to purchase smaller increments for a lower cost. I need $50 too much to gamble it on a video. I can't be sure it'll be worth it.

They do have samples which might help a person decide whether the teaching style works for them.


I actually find the accent slightly difficult to follow at certain parts. Perhaps the OP should look into having a professional dub over the videos.

That's a good point you have. We initially wanted to add it but feared it might complicate the buying process. We're definitely working on this though. Thanks for the feedback.

Isn't "Dive Into" a trademark of Mark Pilgrim ? - trading off of someone-else's brand is kind of tacky.

I don't know if that's true but considering that apparently he committed info-suicide (or something like that... http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=3073798) I highly doubt he will sue anybody at this point.

It is not his Trademark but it is his trademark.

I don't think it is really an issue of it being illegal, it just gives the appearance that this person is trying to sell his wares on top of Mark's reputation.

Whether or not his websites are still online doesn't erase the built-up brand. The "Dive Into..." books are still mirrored and generally respected resources.

Given that Mark's work was always available for free... Now I respect him more.

(no offence to the author of diveintoios)

I'm not interested in iOS development, so take this with a grain of salt, but I think it should provide a brief introduction for free to allow people to evaluate it. Also, I assume it's possible to upgrade packages by paying the difference?

We're working on upgrading. If you realize you want to upgrade after watching the video, drop me a line at sidwyn @ diveintoios.com. Be happy to accede your request.

Of course, samples are available! Here they are: http://diveintoios.com/samples

Videos not loading on iPad.

Thanks for pointing this out! Gonna attempt to fix this.

In the meantime, please use the direct Vimeo links:

Basic Package: http://vimeo.com/30582950 Premium Package: http://vimeo.com/30583073 Complete Package: http://vimeo.com/30583124

Does Mark Pilgrim have any rights on "Dive into..."? For example Dive into Python, Dive into HTML5.

not to say this is the case here, but i'm always cautious with things like this where the main selling points are the credentials of the instructor (see 'about' section)...if the guy is such a badass app developer why is he trying to make money as an instructor? shouldn't he be getting rich building...well, apps?

This is a polite way of saying that "those who can't do, teach".

It also happens to be bullshit, most often repeated by people who have never actually taught.

One of the best ways to achieve mastery (particularly with technology) is to teach it. In other words, teaching engineering to others makes you a much better engineer.

Agreed, so he's using this job as a means to become a better engineer? One he's not? (Just alluding to your point, not saying he is or isn't a good engineer)

Yes, I definitely am. Teaching how to code and coding itself are two very different aspects, though they revolve around code itself. Prepping the material forced me (in a good way) to scrutinize my code to ensure 100% accuracy.

I can't say what his intention was, just trying to rebut the feedback.

The "about" says only this really:

"Sidwyn is an experienced trainer who teaches iOS development to numerous individuals, professionals and companies. "

"Experienced trainer".

Not "badass developer that has gotten rich building apps."

The site doesn't represent in any way that Sid will teach you how to write an app that will make you rich. It's totally focused on learning to program. Home page, everything. (Unlike the get rich real estate seminars that essentially represent that the person running the seminar has made a fortune and you can learn their secrets. In that case your comment is obviously valid.)

Knowing how to program and knowing how to evaluate the market and write a program that can make money are two different things.

As only one example, would you rather learn about programming from Joel Spolsky or from Mark Zuckerberg? (And I'm specifically saying programming not what Zuckerberg could offer that isn't related to programming..)

Edit: "evaluate the market and write a program that can make money" I'm not saying this is what Zuckerberg did by the way.


Portfolio is pretty impressive.

Scott Meyer one of the worlds highest regarded authors on C++ has never written a line of production C++ code.

Being able to teach a skill and being good at that skill are related but different abilities.

I'd love a cite for this.

It seems really really hard to believe that Scott Meyer really hasn't got production code to his name, even as at least an occasional consultant.


" I have not written production software in over 20 years, and I have never written production software in C++. Nope, not ever. Furthermore, I’ve never even tried to write production software in C++, so not only am I not a real C++ developer, I’m not even a wannabe. Counterbalancing this slightly is the fact that I did write research software in C++ during my graduate school years (1985-1993), but even that was small (a few thousand lines) single-developer to-be-thrown-away-quickly stuff. And since striking out as a consultant over a dozen years ago, my C++ programming has been limited to toy “let’s see how this works” (or, sometimes, “let’s see how many compilers this breaks”) programs, typically programs that fit in a single file. (make? Who needs stinkin’ make?) My living is based on C++, but it’s not by virtue of the programs I write in it."

Good Lord.

That's incredible. Of course, I know how bad most C++ programmers really are, so it's particularly hilarious what he's saying.

I wonder if there's a sort of Lake Wobegone World where all the C++ programmers are good, instead of copy/pasting idiots.

I enjoy teaching very much, as much as making apps. I even opened my own school in reality to solely teach iOS (http://pragmaticlab.com).

One thing I've noticed in the iOS sector, is that there seems to be a lack of developers in this particular area (possibly due to the steep learning curve). The supply cannot meet the demand. The best way to solve this, in my opinion, is to encourage more developers to try the iOS platform by kickstarting their development.

I've spent quite a bit of time on making these tutorials and thus I cannot afford to simply give them away. The lectures are based on careful thought and personal experience in my lifetime of making iOS apps.

Helping out? Not everything has purely finanicial motivations.

He's selling paid tutorials... How's that not financially motivated?

According to a bit of googling: http://www.linkedin.com/pub/sidwyn-koh/26/4/495

some people enjoy sharing the things they enjoy.

So, congrats on launching this, but I have to say, it's going to be very challenging for you to compete against lynda.com at this price point. They have a terrific iOS instructor and a broad library of professionally-produced videos on this, and their cost is $25/month.

There's plenty of room to compete (and I wouldn't suggest that you attempt to compete on price, since video-only learning becomes commoditized quickly), but if you're going to be competitive you will have to convey some sort of value other than "learn how to code in iOS with our video!!1!"

Interesting. Haven't seen Lynda but I've seen other sites that offer iOS tutorials as well.

Ours is 'Learn iPhone/iPad development in less than an hour'. It's targeted at the people who can't concentrate for long, and those who find the learning curve too steep.

I agree. Definitely interested in this, but Lynda is generally pretty good. Not always. But I'll be checking them out first.

Hi guys, launched a service to kickstart iOS development and beat the learning curve. We provide short and succinct tutorials to get you started. Would love to hear your feedback/comments. Thanks!

P.S. Use 'hackernews' upon checkout for a 10% discount :)

(Posting a separate comment because the other thread is taking too long to get reply links)

I'm guessing I need to buy the full package ($150) to learn about camera stuff for my photo sharing app. Or can I learn it with the cheaper options too?

The camera stuff is only available in the Complete Package for now. Hope this helps.

Can you say realistically how quickly I can make a basic photo sharing app using your tutorial, if I know zero iOS programming, but am reasonably good at Ruby, Rails, HTML, CSS, JS?

I've been programming C/C++ for 15+ years. I would have to say if you know nothing about C/C++ programming, then your biggest hurdles will be:

1) learning how to program in Objective C 2) learning how to use Xcode (probably one of the worst IDEs I've ever used) 3) learning how to use the specific parts of the iPhone like iteracting with the camera, etc.

There will be a lot of issues to deal with, such as accessing the camera, storing the photo, uploading it to the web site, etc, that are non-trivial. Without a knowledge of C/C++, it might take you on the order of months, not days.

I picked up "Beginning iPhone 4 Development" and was new to both iPhone develoment and MacOS. It took me about 2 weeks to get a working app that just posted text to a Google App Engine backend, although a lot of progress was made over 1 weekend of straight coding and playing around. My biggest frustration was learning how to use Xcode, but I basically just followed the book and it ended up being a pretty good tutorial.

I don't want to be a hater, but $50 for a video tutorial that promises to teach you iPhone development in under 1 hr sounds unlikely. There are A LOT of details that need to be addressed, and I feel like the "Beginning iPhone 4 Development" book is pretty damn good as an introduction, so that's probably money better spent.

I've used the Beginning iPhone 4 Development book too and I've found it excellent.

Also I used the iPhone development course from Stanford on iTunes U, which is quite comprehensive (these guys will be pretty much competing with this series, which is top notch and also free):


It will be hard to compete with the free Stanford courses. Especially since the sample looks like it's almost the same format.

It would be better to go the Peepcode route and have ala carte mini videos about specific tasks. How to make a digital photo filter, how to get CoreData working with iCloud, how to make a complicated UI, etc. There are a lot of materials out there about beginning iOS development. There are not very many materials about intermediate-advanced iOS development.

The other option would be to really amp up the production values. All video lessons I've seen, including the Stanford ones, are simply too slow. I usually watch them in 2x speed. The other problem is that the Xcode view is never optimized. It's always slightly difficult to see the text. Much moreso if you are watching it on an external TV set.

Thanks for the mention of the Stanford courses: I just watched the first one, in which Paul Hegarty explains iOS' interpretation of the MVC pattern (including iOS-specific terms like 'outlet', 'delegate', 'target', 'action' etc., which are used in Interface Builder and XCode).

His slides are awesome too. He uses my favourite font: Comic Sans MS ;-)

I've found the font a bit too distracting, but the content is definitely good :)

The Standford course ain't updated for new iOS 5 features, more over they have not put the fall'11 class on iTunes for public :(

I know some C (it was my first language), but haven't used it in years, so it's a bit rusty. Thanks for sharing your experience though. I'll check out the book.

Take a look at Objective-c for Rubyists from peepcode.

Thanks! What we really need is a Ryan Bates for iOS...

If creating the backend isn't much of a problem for you, I think getting your hands dirty to code it out in a few days (and get used to Obj-C & the iOS model) seems realistic for a basic photo sharing app.

1 week, 2-3 hours per day?

Sounds reasonable enough. If you get stuck halfway, I don't mind helping you out (for free of course). Just drop me a line (email in profile).

Thanks a lot, that's very nice of you!

Your email is not showing in your profile. You need to put it in the about field because the email field is private.

I'd be curious to know this as well. I don't have much programming language experience but am good at HTML5/Js.

Since you're here - sidwyn - Why would I use your video tutorials instead of Stanfords iOS course from iTunes university?

I've found the Stanford videos a tad bit too long. Our courses are much shorter, and you can learn to build a simple app in an hour.

A few suggestions:

- Kill the power point like slides in the videos, they are not very useful. Such information is better represented as text, so it can be searched and easily referenced.

- Lower the price for the video's they are way too high. I imagine 99% of this information can be easily found on google with a simple search.

- The videos look unprofessional to me, seems like they need an editing pass.

You may get more traction if you release the basic package for free. This allows users to evaluate the videos and buy more when they want the intermediate and advanced courses. At the current price I wasn't even enticed to look at the sample video after seeing the $50 price point for a basic package. Good luck.

Move a sample video to the landing page or put a big "view first video for free" button on the page. You want a persons eyes to be drawn to 3 things: logo/call to action, packages, and the sample.

Reminded me of this : http://norvig.com/21-days.html

Just bought the Complete Package, 99.70€ with the discount. I know Java, Scala, C, C++, Python, HTML5/CSS3 (Haml/Sass), Javascript/jQuery, C# and Unity3D but have never coded with Objective-C, let's see if I can really beat the learning curve with your videos!

How do you feel about your purchase? I was ready to buy until I viewed a sample and decided I couldn't handle the accent and audio quality. Does the quality of the video take your mind off this?

Thanks for your support! Let me know how it goes.

I see the videos are hosted in S3 ^^

Adding an embedded 5 minute free getting started video, could improve your conversion rate.

The problem I have with most iOS material is that it's either too simple, or too advanced, often leaving no room for those that understand the concepts but need help connecting the dots between the easy and the advanced.

Provided the OP actually knows what he's doing, and there's no reason to doubt that, I'm glad to see him doing this, as I believe that the more material on the market the better. I like learning from different teachers, even if they cover the same thing. That said, this was a bit pricey for my tastes, but that's only because I've spent so much prior to today.

I don't like the idea of attempting to build on the "Dive Into" brand without offering the materials online for free, as Mark Pilgrim has (or did, before he removed it all). It feels opportunistic.

I thoroughly agree with this. Mark might not have trademarked "Dive into.." but in this space everyone would think there is a link. I have no problems with people starting a business to transfer knowledge, but I think it would have been better under a different name

What a surprise. Only a commercial product would advertise learning software development in "less than an hour".

I'm new here. Can someone explain to me how a website advertisement gets into top rating in Hacker News?

Are the courses progressive? Meaning, in order to do Premium is Basic required. Or can I buy Premium & learn everything in Basic?

It's a little complicated for now, we're trying to work on simplifying it.

Basic Package - You get the Basic Course

Premium Package - You get the Basic and Intermediate Courses

Complete Package - You get the Basic, Intermediate, Advanced Courses

If you realize you need/want to upgrade after finishing the videos, feel free to drop me an email sidwyn @ diveintoios.com to upgrade. Would be happy to accede to your request.

You need to break this out into course collections as well. For example, the only thing I'm interested in is the mapkit and web services stuff in the advanced course. I already know everything in the basic and intermediate courses. There doesn't seem to be a way for me to buy the advanced courses only without getting the complete package?

You will be able to do so in a few days.

$50 is too high. I'm pretty sure you'd more than double the sales if you halved the price. Try doing some A/B testing on this.

How does this differ from the Stanford course?

Ha. The last time you could make a full $49 by putting something in the app store was the time these guys lost their contract with a western company.

Listen... you hear that? That's the Titanic creaking.

Love how this ranks immediately above Jeff Atwood's "Serving at the Pleasure of the King". HN kids are as fickle as they are retarded.

A non-homogenous community is a very, very good thing.

Lok guys, objectiveC + iOS UI apis is somewhat harder than mobile java..know befoe you buy

Guidelines | FAQ | Support | API | Security | Lists | Bookmarklet | Legal | Apply to YC | Contact