Be a Slow Developer

Thu Jun 18, 2020

WWDC 2020 is just about to kick off and with it will come a plethora of new APIs to work with and excite developers. It’s basically Apple developer Christmas. Last year was jam packed full of goodies for developers including Combine and SwiftUI, which both took a lot of the lime light.

After watching the keynote, and pouring over new documentation while Slacking peers about all the potential uses for new APIs in your existing apps, a lot us can be left feeling overwhelmed, and that’s why I wanted to talk briefly about the idea of being a slow developer.

What’s a slow developer?

Firstly, a slow developer isn’t a bad one, nor are they physically slow moving. Instead, they are the one that remains calm in an ever changing landscape of development tools and APIs. They understand that the world doesn’t change overnight.

I had listened to a few podcasts and read some articles after Dub Dub and one thing that I heard a good few people say was to relax. You were not expected to know how to rebuild your whole app in SwiftUI. Nor were you expected to go into work and rip out RxSwift and replace it with Combine.

A slow developer understands that these new APIs will take time to master, and that there will also be a transition period where the new technologies live with the old. Furthermore, these new APIs will likely change over time, and if Apple’s history is to tell us anything, we can assume they will undergo some of their biggest facelifts in early updates.

Armed with this information, we should understand that there’s no rush to know it all.

Why go slow?

Personally, I go slow for my own sanity. It would be easy to start thinking that your job is in jeopardy if you don’t know the latest technologies. But that’s not the case. The best developer isn’t one that has spent arduous amounts of time learning the depths of every API, but instead, is aware of most of the API’s at their disposal and has a tried and tested method of learning new technologies.

Your ability to learn will outweigh your attempts to know everything at once.

The other benefit to going slow is being able to amass resources as you learn. When you start the second the new API is announced, you don’t have a lot to go off. But with some great folks like Paul Hudson, John Sundell, Mattt Thompson and many many more, a lot more resources will become available to us over time.

Learning slowly over time will allow us to really get a deep understanding of these technologies. In comparison to this, trying to hammer in a new API to a production app when we have little knowledge of it is definitely a recipe for disaster.

Wrap up and disclaimer

This isn’t for everyone. If you want to be the person that runs with the latest and greatest, I applaud you. Hey, if it wasn’t for people like you, we wouldn’t have these extra learning resources available to us. My main point that I’d like you to take away from this is that new technologies are incredibly exciting and we all want to work with them, but don’t let their existence scare you into using them in production before you’re ready to, or before they’re stable enough to be used.

Go slow, get a deep understanding, and use your new knowledge when there is an application for it.

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