Stephen DeStefano is the author of Animating SwiftUI Applications; we got the chance to sit down and find out more about his experience of writing with Packt.
Q: What are your specialist tech areas?
Stephen: SwiftUI and animation would be the top areas of tech I enjoy.
Q: How did you become an author for Packt? Tell us about your journey. What was your motivation for writing this book?
Stephen: My journey into coding had an unexpected start. I was a licensed medical physical therapist with a practice in Ohio USA, and doing well for a number of years, but one day I injured my back working on an old car and needed surgery to repair the damage. Unfortunately, the damage was pretty severe, enough that I couldn’t continue with my medical practice anymore, as it was a very physical and hands-on job. So I needed to find something else that I liked to do, but was not too physically demanding. I used to play video games from time to time, and found them a great way to relax, and I was intrigued by the animations and collision graphics that come to life on the screen. So I had a thought, I wonder if I can learn how to write the code that makes these animations happen. That’s when I decided to go back to college to learn computer science and programming, and then I segued into teaching myself the Swift programming language and the SwiftUI framework. I then started creating video courses that teach those concepts, and sold them on the Udemy and other platforms, and quickly amassed over 30,000 students. My courses caught the eye of a Packt editor who asked me if I’d like to write a book about SwiftUI animations, in which I replied, “sure, why not”, this can be another opportunity to share what I love to do.
Q: What kind of research did you do, and how long did you spend researching before beginning the book?
Stephen: My research drew upon my own experience and many of my already created projects and published video courses about SwiftUI animations, as well as working with Apple’s own documentation for Swift and SwiftUI.
Q: Did you face any challenges during the writing process? How did you overcome them?
Stephen: There was one interesting challenge, being that this was my first book. I had to learn how to talk to an audience through the written text. I was quite adept at creating lectures in a video format in which I show and explain the code, but translating that into the written medium was a bit of an adjustment. There are many things to consider, such as sentence structure, run-on sentences, punctuation, grammar, etc. And there is no video for the reader to see so the author has to make the written words interesting enough to keep the reader engaged and spark his imagination.
Q: What’s your take on the technologies discussed in the book? Where do you see these technologies heading in the future?
Stephen: I see these technologies expanding and advancing limitlessly. I see AI as having a big presence in coding and helping to streamline the production of applications very quickly.
Q: Why should readers choose this book over others already on the market? How would you differentiate your book from its competition?
Stephen: I think that my book is a little different in that it is project-based. We do discuss theory in the beginning, but then we jump right into building actual projects, including two complete apps that can be published to the App Store. Each project focuses on different ways to animate your SwiftUI applications.
Q: What are the key takeaways you want readers to come away with from the book?
Stephen: Once you learn the basic animation techniques, then your creativity will take over, and you can create anything your imagination comes up with.
Q. What advice would you give to readers jumping into this technology? Do you have any top tips?
Stephen: My advice is to be patient with yourself in the beginning, as with any new language or technology, there is always a bit of a learning curve until you get up to speed. Set aside a block of time each day to keep writing code, learning, and stretching out of your comfort zone of what you already know.
Q. Do you have a blog that readers can follow?
Stephen: I do not have a blog at this time.
Q: Can you share any blogs, websites, and forums to help readers gain a holistic view of the tech they are learning? What are the key takeaways you want readers to come away with from the book?
Stephen: One of the best places to help you round out one’s learning of this technology is Paul Hudson’s Hacking with Swift website. Many of his tutorials are freely offered and he’s one of the most highly sought-after programmers currently in the field. His teachings will get you writing code fast. Also check out John Gauchat’s books on Swift and SwiftUI, including his “SwiftUI For Masterminds” book, this is one of the best reference books that you can use to look up the different technologies and start using them right away.
Q. How would you describe your author’s journey with Packt? Would you recommend Packt to aspiring authors?
Stephen: This has been a very easy journey with Packt. The editors and staff are all top-notch and have tons of experience in turning out well written books. And they have taught me a lot about how to write to an audience, in my own style.
Q. Do you belong to any tech community groups?
Stephen: I belong to the Swift I/O discussion group where we talk about using Swift code to control microcontrollers.
Q. What are your favorite tech journals? How do you keep yourself up to date on tech?
Stephen: I get various newsletters from different programmers who share their take on the ever-changing world of technology.
Q. How did you organize, plan, and prioritize your work and write the book?
Stephen: I first laid out an outline of what I wanted the book to convey, and how to do that in an easy-to-read way. And then I put aside 3 to 4 hours a day of writing time, and another hour to build new projects for the book
Q. What is that one writing tip that you found most crucial and would like to share with aspiring authors?
Stephen: One thing I’ve learned is that after you finish writing several chapters, and finished editing them, go back and reread each one again. Doing that will bring up new and better ways to convey the information more succinctly.
Q. Would you like to share your social handles? If so, please share.
You can find Stephen’s book on Amazon by following this link: Please click here