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Best place to get started for an old school programmer.

Discussion in 'Mac Programming' started by dtrimble, Mar 15, 2008.

  1. macrumors member

    Once upon a time I did programming on the Apple ][ (Assembly, DOS Basic and ProDOS Basic), and then on the PC for a few years (Quick Basic, PDS, and Visual Basic, and Assembly). I started to experiment briefly with C and C++ right before Windows 95 rolled out, but, having then changed careers to focus on marketing, never quite got into programming any more.

    I would like to start up my dormant passion on my MBP, and build some unique apps I have in mind for Apple. More hobby oriented--I'm not going to become a professional software engineer, so I won't be interested in returning to school for this.

    What and where's the best place to start, both to learn about the technologies in Leopard, the architecture of the systems, languages, ...

  2. macrumors 6502a


    I would simply buy a new(ish) book covering modern mac/c programming... there are plenty of good book out there. You should also install Xcode from your OSX install disc..
  3. macrumors member

    Thank you kindly. I have Xcode installed. I'm looking for recommendations on specific books and references.

  4. macrumors 65816

    If you're interested in programming for your Mac, then you're most likely looking at learning Objective-C and the Cocoa framework. Objective-C is a superset of C, so if you're a little familiar with that, it shouldn't be too difficult beyond relearning what you may have long forgotten. You definitely don't have to learn C first, but you can if you feel like it.

    There's some good resources on this page, with books at the bottom:


    "Cocoa Programming for OS X" and "Programming in Objective-C" are generally well-regarded, I think. Actually, Apple's online documentation on both is also very good, so you can swing over the developer.apple.com and have a look around there, too. Best of luck!
  5. macrumors 68040


    I think the two books recommended here are the way to go. The documentation is good, but the books are specifically targeted toward teaching not just to be used as a reference. Programming in Objective-C doesn't cover Cocoa at all, just the ObjC language and Foundation classes, but it assumes no programming knowledge whatsoever. Cocoa Programming for Mac OS X assumes you already know how to program and doesn't cover the language, only the Cocoa frameworks with the exception of a one chapter run-through of ObjC. If you're comfortable with C, and think a one chapter overview of ObjC is enough, you could just go with Cocoa Programming for Mac OS X. FWIW, I was relatively proficient in C, but went through both books and am glad I did. The ObjC gave me a very solid foundation in the language which was very helpful for the second book. Not to mention the fact that I found Kochan to be an absolutely excellent writer.
  6. macrumors member

    Jeff Hall

    As some have mentioned, Programming in Objective-C is going to get you familiar with the syntax and basic OO (object-oriented) programming concepts.

    I've got this book on my table and plan to get into it very soon. I've wanted to get into Mac programming for 3 years but just haven't had time. Now with the release of Cocoa Touch, I think this is going to be a huge opportunity to land a job doing Mac based development (well, as soon as some local shops set up where I live).

    Once you've got your feet wet with Objective-C, Apple's got docs on Objective-C 2.0 which you'll want to also learn. Then start reading Apple's docs on Cocoa, and if you want, pick up a Cocoa programming book such as Cocoa Programming for OS X, 2nd edition (or if you can wait, pre-order the 3rd edition at amazon).

    Then all you need is a cool idea for a program!
  7. macrumors member

    Hehe. No problem with that one :)

    Thank you all for the great recommendations. Kinda exciting...I haven't written a line of code since working on a batch file compiler for DOS in assembly language :)


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