How to Start Programming a Mac?

Discussion in 'Mac Programming' started by aeryck, Mar 5, 2008.

  1. aeryck macrumors newbie

    Jan 2, 2008
    Well, where do I start?

    What I want to do is modify existing programs- it that possible?

    Do I need a program to complie code or it it just a matter of accessing commands in the terminal?

    I'm currently on 10.3.9 if that makes a difference.

    I used to write BASIC programs on my Apple2+, learned some FORTRAN in college, and used to do the simple HTML stuff. A college class would be a good place to start, but I just want to have some fun on my own.
  2. yeroen macrumors 6502a


    Mar 8, 2007
    Cambridge, MA
    As long as you have the source. The bulk of open source UNIX software tends to written in C. But then there's tons of stuff in Perl, Python, C++, etc.
    At the very least, you can see what production code looks like so you know what you're getting into beforehand.

    Depends on the language. I'd suggest beginning with an interpreted language like Perl, Python, Ruby, shell scripting..heck even lowly AppleScript to gain some confidence before you move on to more "sophisticated" things. Perl, Python, and (I guess?) Ruby are quite powerful languages on their own.

    One thing you should do, as a matter of course, is to install Xcode, which provides a (nearly) complete development environment for Mac OS X. Also, unless you're still on a G3, it really is time to upgrade to a new version of OS X.

    I'm assuming you've forgotten all the lessons you learned 20+ years ago of BASIC on the Apple IIe so you'll have to begin anew. College courses these days typically teach Java as a first programming language, for better or worse (but mainly worse in my opinion). You can always see what your local community college or university extension school has to offer.
  3. Cromulent macrumors 603


    Oct 2, 2006
    The Land of Hope and Glory
    The latest version of Xcode you will be able to use is Xcode 1.5 in that case. Might be a good time to upgrade to Tiger or Leopard if you are keen and the machine is not too critical?

    That will give you all the tools you need. You would probably do well to spend time not using Xcode though and doing all your compilation using the Terminal. I know it helped me when I first started. If you want specific help feel free to ask, but you have been very vague so I am not quite sure what your goal is really.
  4. lee1210 macrumors 68040


    Jan 10, 2005
    Dallas, TX
    I'm not sure if you just want to program *on* a Mac using Unix/BSD APIs or a "cross-platform" language like perl or Java (where in most cases where you're programming isn't too crucial). Another option is that you want to write OS X applications using the Cocoa or Carbon APIs. That's where you'll really want XCode/Interface Builder.

    It didn't get too far, but this link:

    has a few examples of cocoa projects you can cut your teeth on.

    If you just want to program period, pick a language and go to town. You can check out comp.programming news group archives for tips, or most likely find tutorials elsewhere for the most common languages.

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