Is it just me, or is Project Builder horrible?


macrumors 68020
Original poster
Jul 4, 2002
Muncie, Indiana
The error messages are incomprehensible, the directory structure is gratuitously hierarchical. The program looks pretty, but from a user interface standpoint, it's extremely poorly designed.

You get a message: "3 warnings, 1 error". Can you click on the "error" and go to the source line involved? No! In fact, you can't even click on the "error" and go to the error message! You have to scroll through the log and find it, and then, it's a message like
... pbxcp <needlessly deeply nested directory name>...

pbxcp: failed

And that's all you get. What's wrong? Who knows.

I've tried three times now to use this program, and come away grumbling each time. It's opaque and illogical.

I've been programming for almost thirty years now. In the Unix world, we use a program called "make". Compared to Project Builder, vi and make are user-friendly. Heck, MPW was more friendly, altho I didn't use it much. Can we build Carbon executables with MPW?

I've never been fond of IDEs. The vision was to lead people from step to step, so that the tool would not get in the way of their work, but present the right option at each juncture. The realization has always been a jumble of poorly-organized menus and dialogs, with terse and ambiguous labels and icons, apparently designed more for marketing purposes than actual programming.

There's got to be a better tool for programming a Mac than this. How about CodeWarrior? Can I use make? If not, are its menus and messages at least slightly logical?


macrumors 68020
Oct 28, 2001
Greensboro, NC

every time i have used project builder to build some source code, any errors that came up were the same kind of errors you would get from make. if i click on them, it takes me exactly to the line of the source where there is a problem.


Moderator emeritus
Jun 25, 2002
Gone but not forgotten.

Is this your first time using an Integrated Development Environment? Actually, for integration, PB isn't too bad. If the people at NeXT had gone with a Borland look, it would certainly be easier to use. The fact, that they're integrated command line components makes PB all the more amazing.

If I'm building a command line programme, I using set it up in PB, clean up the syntax errors (it does point them out quite well) and then compile it directly on the command line and run it there immediately. It's a pain to build it in PB and then try to find whatever it is that's been created in order to run it.

If you would use the Apple tutorials to understand the environment better, it would probably be much more productive for you. I certainly can't claim any productivity using vi since emacs is my favourite text-only editor but I don't find PB and IB quite useful, especially when building GUI code.