Programming - But on Mac ? Need some advice

Discussion in 'Mac Programming' started by lawsofphysics, Feb 15, 2011.

  1. lawsofphysics, Feb 15, 2011
    Last edited: Feb 15, 2011

    lawsofphysics macrumors newbie

    Feb 13, 2011
    Hi guys,

    So, I recently made a transition from Windows to a Mac and the experience has been awesome so far. To the problem now:

    I have been learning and using C++/Java/HTML etc. for the past two years. This was all in Windows. Like, For C++ there was C:/TC/Bin and so on and so forth. I can program really well (I think so?) in these languages but I don't know where to start in a Mac.

    I'll be starting college soon and will be majoring in CS. I'll be learning Python and then use of MATLAB in the first year. For that I need you guys to tell me where exactly does one code in a Mac? I saw some posts about this 'Xcode' and all but I didn't research much about.

    I'll be googling about this, of course and search the rest of this forum but before that I thought it would be great if someone here could help me out.

    I know programming. I am not asking about that. I just needed to know what are the necessary softwares, applications I would need to buy/download (if not inbuilt) to start it on Mac. Where do I need to go first. If you have some time to spare please help me out here ( Remember I am a total NOOB in here so please please dumb sown your post a bit :) )


    P.S. If there's already been a thread or a very informative post/link that spells out the basics or anything like that out there on the net please do tell me.

  2. jiminaus macrumors 65816


    Dec 16, 2010

    Welcome to Mac development. XCode is indeed what you want. It's an IDE, but it also includes all the development binaries if you want to code from the terminal (Windows calls this the command prompt).

    It's on one of the DVDs that came with your Mac, but it won't have been installed by default. If you register (for free) at, you can download the latest version.

    See the thread Visual Studio 2010 C++ for some recent discussion about registering and getting the latest XCode.
  3. GorillaPaws macrumors 6502a


    Oct 26, 2003
    Richmond, VA
    In addition to Xcode (which is what you'll want for development of OSX/iOS software), some people like to use 3rd party text editors with built-in features. Vim is one option which is a cross platform solution that has some very sophisticated features but also a steep learning curve. Then there's emacs, which is similar to Vim, and yet very different. Both are available from the terminal and are installed on every Mac.

    As far as Cocoa apps that are good development text editors, TextMate and BBEdit are two heavy hitters (both have free trials so it's worth playing around with each to see which you prefer). If you're doing web-based code, then Coda is definitely worth checking out (it also has a free trial).
  4. PatrickCocoa macrumors 6502a

    Dec 2, 2008

    Welcome to the club.

    One nice/frustrating thing about programming on the Mac is that you're forced to translate everything the Windows guys say/write. So you need to actually learn various higher-level concepts (in addition to the lower level "how do I compile a C++ program under Visual Studio" type questions).
  5. balamw Moderator


    Staff Member

    Aug 16, 2005
    New England
    Python is pre-installed on the Mac.

    MATLAB is available for the Mac as a student version and you can also write a lot of MATLAB compatible code in GNU octave.

  6. flyingturtle macrumors regular

    Apr 7, 2010
    If it's Python you are learning, then you could just use the console and a console editor, like VIM.

    Mac's come with Python pre-installed. In the terminal, just type "python" and it will start python and show the version.

    However, you might just want to download a newer version, either Python 2.7.x or Python 3.0, depending on which Python version you are learning. I do a lot of web development with Python so I need to stick to Python 2.7.1 as most libraries use that still (ie. Django), but your purposes may differ.

    Python downloads

    Python on the Mac

    Or you could just any programming text editor (there are plenty) if you don't want to use XCode. If you stick to learning a console editor as opposed to a GUI-based on one, learning VIM or EMACs would get you more comfortable with console programming which would help with working in different OS environment as every OS has a console, but the learning curve is a bit steep.
  7. FluJunkie macrumors 6502a

    Jul 17, 2007
    Welcome to the fold!

    First, some good news:

    Python is very, very well supported on the Mac. To the point that it's already on your Mac. Several other Python distributions, like Enthought's, are also available with easy install systems for the Mac if your instructor is putting everyone on a standard distribution.

    There's a decent number of IDEs available for the Mac. XCode is the one Apple includes for C++, Objective-C and a myriad other languages. For Python, off the top of my head, there's IDLE, Wing (including a free version Wing 101), Komodo, a few dozen others, and any number of code-friendly text editors.

    There is also a Mac version of MATLAB. It works, but the implementation is slower than it is on the PC, basically because last I checked, Mathworks couldn't find a Mac programmer with the chops to speed it up. But with computing power the way it is now, and since most "Learning to use X" classes use pretty light-weight code, you should be set.
  8. iShater macrumors 604


    Aug 13, 2002

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