Where do you start if you want to become an Apple apps developer?

Discussion in 'Mac Programming' started by agkm800, Jul 5, 2009.

  1. macrumors 6502a


    Jun 18, 2009
    No formal computer training. No programming background. Just an average Joe.

    Can I teach myself to become an app developer? If yes, where do I start?
  2. macrumors regular

    May 27, 2009
    Glasgow, Scotland
    Have a look at the Apple Developer Center, download Xcode which is apples main development IDE. Look at some apple examples on learning objective-C and perhaps even buy Programming in Objective-C by Stephen Kochan.

    Be prepared for some hard work as you progress and a lot of shouting at the computer when you get stuck.

    Just have fun and learn at your own pace. And remember that computers never make mistakes.

  3. Joined:
    Jun 30, 2009
    Also, one of the best books on the market is Aaron Hillegass' Cocoa Programming for Mac OS X.

    The reference on Apple's Developer Connection website is also an awesome place to start, but it is recommended you spend a while learning other languages, like Python or C, instead of skipping directly to the OS X development.
  4. macrumors 6502


    Jun 28, 2009
    Pittsburgh, PA
  5. macrumors member

    Feb 23, 2009
    go to a library and search for Balloon sort, or Bubble sort, or Fibonacci series implemented as a computer program. It doesn't matter what language. they can be written as pseudo-code (semi-code).
    if you can follow it, go for it. if you are overwhelmed, forget about it.
  6. macrumors regular

    Sep 16, 2008
    Are the "C for Dummies" or "C++ for Dummies" any good for learning these languages? Or do you need to buy mac specific books?

  7. macrumors member

    May 20, 2008
    Hi, I also want to learn programming with Xcode... but I don't know where to begin. I bought a book in german called "Get started with Xcode" (Einsteigen in Xcode), but I don't know anything and that author just writes about a whole thing I don't even know.

    What is an NSObject? Are there other Objects? How to create an event on a button?
  8. macrumors newbie


    Oct 25, 2008

    this is what I wrote to answer a similar question:

    As you are saying you do not have any programming experience yet this above path should still work. In your case I would recommend to read the Object oriented programming with objective-c apple guide before you start the above path. After that, you should be well prepared to read the two recommended books.

  9. macrumors member

    Jun 4, 2009
    You don't need to buy mac specific books to learn a language, and that's your first step if you are just starting out. If you just want to do mac programming then I'd start with C and/or Objective C and give C++ a miss.

    I can't comment on the quality of the dummies books you mention but I have taught numerous students C programming and I quite liked "The Joy of C". It's also the book my partner used to learn C and she did a degree in Medieval History and Latin so clearly there is hope for anyone regardless of background ;-)
  10. macrumors 6502


    Jul 9, 2009
    Don't even look at doing all the Cocoa stuff until you understand the fundamentals of programming. Start off with a procedural language, like C. C would probably be best in this case, as Objective-C is a superset of C, and you won't have to unlearn C++'s stricter OO stuff.

    Once you're comfortable with C, you have two options. Objective-C isn't so hard that you need to learn it separately from GUI programming, but since you have no experience with object-oriented programming, I might recommend it. You can either get a straight Obj-C book, or just read up on the language via the Apple docs, then jump right in to Xcode.

    I felt the C for Dummies books (well, book, now, since they were combined, as I gather) were great. They manage to be fun and interesting, even when doing things that seem pretty confusing at first (just wait until you get to pointers).

    C++ for Dummies, on the other hand, was not great. The book is structured to take a program written in C, then incrementally add C++ features to it, with the end result being a total rewrite of the program in a fully object-oriented way. It works, but the problem I had with it is that it does a terrible job arguing for why you should care about objects (which is one of the goals of the book). The end C++ program is much longer than the original C program, and does the same thing. It's also a much drier read.
  11. macrumors 6502

    Mar 18, 2005
    I agree that this is excellent advice. Honestly, some people are not cut out for programming, just like others are not cut out for creative writing.
  12. macrumors 6502


    Jul 9, 2009
    Hmm, I have to disagree. Seeing if he can intuit some random sorting algorithm (granted, bubble sort is really simple) isn't a surefire gauge for programming ability. Same goes for the Fibonacci sequence (assuming you're using the traditional recursive implementation). Some people have simply never thought in the way that programming requires, but that doesn't mean they can't learn to do it, and do it well.

    Granted, naturally understanding it can be a good indicator of potential. But it's one of those "tests" where a negative doesn't really mean anything, and a positive does.

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