Mobile apps seem different than web apps to me, for some reason. When I started making websites, I was working (more than) full time making call centre desktop applications, and I got into Perl as a “dip the big toe in” hobby. Which eventually turned into some freelance work, which turned into too much freelance work, which turned into full time jobs, etc. But the translation from desktop to web paradigms felt pretty straightforward.
Mobile seems different to me, somehow. Dipping the big toe in doesn’t yield the same productivity returns for me, at least when flipping between web and mobile. A deeper plunge seems necessary, both in coding and studying what works.
From Warren Ellis‘ latest newsletter – it’s about writing comics, but this morning, I’m finding a lot of parallels in software:
You learn to write from reading books (and living your life). Next, you learn how to write comics by pulling them apart and studying their innards to see how they work. This is how you end up as a 24/7 comics writer and also a terrifying shut-in who will eventually go nuts in a very public way and conclude your career as a figure in a newspaper photo captioned FOREST CREATURE SUBDUED BY POLICE TASERS. But I’m serious. You are going to learn how to do this – learn your own way to manage the difference in pacing between eight pages and twenty-two pages and one hundred and twenty pages, learn how to achieve effects in timing and drama and emotional nuance, learn when to talk and when to shut up – by studying the best comics you can find, and tearing them apart and seeing how they do things and then stealing the tools you can use and adapting them into your own style. You are going to want to read broadly. Make yourself read things you wouldn’t ordinarily look at. If superheroes are your favourite, then make yourself read Carla Speed McNeil or Dan Clowes or Marjane Satrapi. If you only read science fiction comics, then force yourself to look at Hugo Pratt and Eddie Campbell and Svetlana Chmakova.