I'm so lost!


Help! I’ve made it this far in the book but I feel like I am not taking it in well. My coding experience is PHP and HTML with a tiny bit of javascript. I bought this book because I had no C experience and thought it was a good resource to teach me Objective C without knowing C first.

I feel like I can understand about 80% of each exercise, but the only challenge I’ve been able to do on my own is the Grocery List array challenge which is quite simple.

So, what should I do? Keep slugging through? Start over? Learn C first?

Thanks! I like how the book is laid out and I am generally a fast learner, but I’m struggling here!


Moving from PHP to C is definitely a tough gig, so you shouldn’t feel too discouraged. If you’re willing to tough it out, it’ll get better.

It’s difficult to predict what will work best for you, but I do think you should consider starting over and making sure you’re closer to 100% on each chapter before you move on. The error rate will pile up over time, and when you hit the more advanced stuff, you may be able to bluff your way through, but real understanding will be difficult.

Another reader asked for additional challenges, and I came up with a few; he then vanished to another board (no, I’m not bitter) but if you’d like, taking that approach might make sense. Work through an extra challenge or two for each chapter to give you a method for testing your success rate at learning the material will help keep you from moving too quickly.

Another option as you suggested (no, don’t laugh, and no, this is in no way an insult) is to pick up a used copy of C for Dummies (I rather liked the book, and kept waiting for the 2nd part; I think it did come out years later, but don’t recall off-hand) and work through that before coming back to this. But I think if you made it this far in the book before crying uncle, you’ve got a good chance at making it work, so I’d suggest rewinding a few chapters instead.


Thanks for the fast reply!

I was reluctant to post because I don’t want people to get the wrong idea. Your book is awesome. I likely have tried to go through it too quickly.

I’m going to go over things again from the start. AND, now that I have joined the forum I will ask questions as I go along. I would indeed like some extra challenges…can you send some to me? Or show me where I can get them?

Thanks so much.


Whoa, not my book, just an interested observer. :slight_smile:

If you reply to this thread when you’re looking for another challenge, I’ll see what I can do. My Objective-C experience is still minimal, but I’ve been doing C for over 20 years, so I can put something together.

Here are the extra challenges I referred to earlier: viewtopic.php?f=170&t=3297


It does take time to figure out. What I’ve done with a lot of books is this:

  1. Read a chapter. No coding.
  2. Read it again and do the code.

That seems to help with confusing topics, so does coming to the forums for help.

I’ve liked the Dummies books as well for getting started.


fwiw, I am finding that knowing object oriented python scripting (in addition to c) helps a lot. I think both Objective-C and Python draw heavily on Smalltalk.

Python is also relatively easy to learn.



One thing I can add, without ever having any “proper” programming classes, and only a decent amount of VBA experience, you don’t have to make this your only source. While I think overall Big Nerd Ranch has by far presented the information in an easy to understand format, there are other books out there which might “trigger something” in your brain.


I have to agree with drazor. Currently I’m reading this book with a specific mission in mind of a game I would like to make and I actually look through about 3-4 books on the various topics to see how each author describes things. I then make my own hand written notes and it is only after that I feel I understand a bit more. I still can’t remember the details when I’m trying to create my own code so I have to look at lots of additional tutorials online. I think the this is just try to learn a little more each day, and keep practicing! Start off with some of your own ideas for programs you can make and then try to build on those programs (even if they are worthless but just exercises to practice your skills)