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Cocoa(R) Programming for Mac(R) OS X, Third Edition [Paperback]

Aaron Hillegass
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
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Book Description

May 5 2008 0321503619 978-0321503619 3

The best-selling introduction to Cocoa, once again updated to cover the latest Mac programming technologies, and still enthusiastically recommended by experienced Mac OS X developers.

 

“Aaron’s book is the gold standard for Mac OS X programming books—beautifully written, and thoughtfully sculpted. The best book on Leopard development.”

—Scott Stevenson, www.theocacao.com

 

“This is the first book I’d recommend for anyone wanting to learn Cocoa from scratch. Aaron’s one of the few (perhaps only) full-time professional Cocoa instructors, and his teaching experience shows in the book.”

—Tim Burks, software developer and creator of the Nu programming language, www.programming.nu

 

“If you’re a UNIX or Windows developer who picked up a Mac OS X machine recently in hopes of developing new apps or porting your apps to Mac users, this book should be strongly considered as one of your essential reference and training tomes.”

—Kevin H. Spencer, Apple Certified Technical Coordinator

 

If you’re developing applications for Mac OS X, Cocoa® Programming for Mac® OS X, Third Edition, is the book you’ve been waiting to get your hands on. If you’re new to the Mac environment, it’s probably the book you’ve been told to read first. Covering the bulk of what you need to know to develop full-featured applications for OS X, written in an engaging tutorial style, and thoroughly class-tested to assure clarity and accuracy, it is an invaluable resource for any Mac programmer.

 

Specifically, Aaron Hillegass introduces the three most commonly used Mac developer tools: Xcode, Interface Builder, and Instruments. He also covers the Objective-C language and the major design patterns of Cocoa. Aaron illustrates his explanations with exemplary code, written in the idioms of the Cocoa community, to show you how Mac programs should be written. After reading this book, you will know enough to understand and utilize Apple’s online documentation for your own unique needs. And you will know enough to write your own stylish code.

 

Updated for Mac OS X 10.4 and 10.5, this revised edition includes coverage of Xcode 3, Objective-C 2, Core Data, the garbage collector, and CoreAnimation.


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Product Description

From the Back Cover

The best-selling introduction to Cocoa, once again updated to cover the latest Mac programming technologies, and still enthusiastically recommended by experienced Mac OS X developers.

 

“Aaron's book is the gold standard for Mac OS X programming books—beautifully written, and thoughtfully sculpted. The best book on Leopard development.”

—Scott Stevenson,www.theocacao.com

 

“This is the first book I'd recommend for anyone wanting to learn Cocoa from scratch. Aaron's one of the few (perhaps only) full-time professional Cocoa instructors, and his teaching experience shows in the book.”

—Tim Burks, software developer and creator of the Nu programming language,www.programming.nu

 

“If you're a UNIX or Windows developer who picked up a Mac OS X machine recently in hopes of developing new apps or porting your apps to Mac users, this book should be strongly considered as one of your essential reference and training tomes.”

—Kevin H. Spencer, Apple Certified Technical Coordinator

 

If you're developing applications for Mac OS X,Cocoa® Programming for Mac® OS X, Third Edition,is the book you've been waiting to get your hands on. If you're new to the Mac environment, it's probably the book you've been told to read first. Covering the bulk of what you need to know to develop full-featured applications for OS X, written in an engaging tutorial style, and thoroughly class-tested to assure clarity and accuracy, it is an invaluable resource for any Mac programmer.

 

Specifically, Aaron Hillegass introduces the three most commonly used Mac developer tools: Xcode, Interface Builder, and Instruments. He also covers the Objective-C language and the major design patterns of Cocoa. Aaron illustrates his explanations with exemplary code, written in the idioms of the Cocoa community, to show you how Mac programs should be written. After reading this book, you will know enough to understand and utilize Apple's online documentation for your own unique needs. And you will know enough to write your own stylish code.

 

Updated for Mac OS X 10.4 and 10.5, this revised edition includes coverage of Xcode 3, Objective-C 2, Core Data, the garbage collector, and CoreAnimation.

About the Author

Aaron Hillegas runs Big Nerd Ranch, well-known for its popular Cocoa programming classes. Previously, he was a developer at NeXT and Apple. At Next, he wrote the first course on OpenStep, the predecessor to today's Cocoa tools. At Apple, he created and taught courses in Cocoa directly for and to Apple engineers. This book is based on Aaron's Big Nerd Ranch course and is influenced by 15 years of work with OpenStep and Cocoa.

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Most helpful customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars A great introduction to Cocoa Aug. 19 2010
Format:Paperback
Cocoa Programming for Mac OS X is one of the best hands on approach learning book I have read. How to instructions are clear. The several simple software projects are carefully chosen to cover a wide range of topics without redundancy. When deep explanations are missing, (this book has only 433 pages) it is possible to complete using Xcode searches in online documentation. A great introduction to Cocoa.
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5.0 out of 5 stars super! Feb. 12 2012
Format:Paperback
a terrific intro to objective-c..very clearly written and if followed closely section by section you will feel quite confident of your new abilities when you finish ..this can be a complicated process but the exercises Steve has chosen put each new topic in perspective...very well done !! the stuff is 'hard but you are not stupid'.....
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5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent book! April 30 2011
By Fred
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I had previously bought "Learn Cocoa on the Mac" from Apress. This book was much better for seeing how everything fits together.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.2 out of 5 stars  164 reviews
154 of 160 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Not Perfect, But Highly Recommended Feb. 23 2002
By HiRez - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
This was the book I had been waiting for, or at least ONE OF the books I had been waiting for, to really get started with Cocoa programming. The O'Reilly book, as has been mentioned plenty of times here, leaves a lot to be desired, and while it was better than nothing, a wall still remained between me and Cocoa after finishing it.
After reading Cocoa Programming for OS X, I feel I can say I "get" Cocoa finally. That's not to say I'm an expert, but that I can complete a simple program now, on my own, using the Cocoa frameworks and concepts. As Aaron says in the book, learing the Cocoa APIs will take much longer. I come from a Java background, with only marginal C and C++ experience. Although Aaron does not speak much about the objective-c language itself, that's ok. Apple's PDF is more than adequate to get that background.
There are some things that get glossed over that I wish had been more fully explained, and some things left out altogether that I would have liked to see, such as:
-- Spawning and managing multiple threads, thread safety issues

-- exception handling, debugging and assertions

-- Cocoa "primitive" objects (NSPoint, NSRect, NSRange, etc.), why they apparently don't need to be retained or released, and why they are "NS" objects but don't really behave like them.
-- Calling Toolbox routines or those from APIs that have not yet been "Cocoa-ized" (and integrating the Old Way into the Cocoa Way), with examples. Cocoa is nice but once you get away from building a text editor, you will need to dig into this ugly and unfriendly world at some point (unfortunately). For instance, how do I access the Airport card, how do I open and use a network socket, how can I read a DV-encoded stream from a FireWirePort and save it to disk as a QuickTime movie, how do I access a database, how do I use an OpenGL view?
-- How to customize Cocoa UI elements. Like if I wanted an NSSlider with TWO sliders, a minimum and a maximum. There is an example of subclassing an NSView in the book, but that's just a drawing panel.
To be fair, I'm not really criticizing Aaron for these things. The book has plenty of useful stuff, and I'm sure Aaron wants to write and sell more books, so some advanced Cocoa books that address some of these things as well as others will be welcome...I hope someone is writing them right now. I also hope someone is writing a comprehensive Cocoa API reference, as Apple's is somewhat lacking (Have you seen the phrase "Description Forthcoming" more times than you care to remember? I thought so.)
The bottom line is that this is a great book that is a must-have for anyone interested in Cocoa programming. I'd probably rate it four or four-and-a-half stars, but I'm giving it five for being there when I needed it, and being the first really useful book on the subject. The best thing I can say about it is that I can now do things there is simply no way I could have before.
98 of 100 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great intro, a few nits Feb. 4 2002
By Dan Crevier - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
First my background. I'm a very experienced C++ programmer who is also very experienced with Carbon.
I found this book to be a great intro to Cocoa without a lot of preaching about how Cocoa will change the world. Carbon vs. Cocoa seems to be an almost religous debate, and I'm glad this book didn't try to overpromise the benefits of Cocoa.
The book is well organized, very readable, and has good examples. It is *much* better than the O'Reilly "Learning Cocoa" book.
After reading this book, you'll be able to start writing applications in Cocoa, and you'll know where to go for more info.
Now, my nits:
* The book explicitly stated that it was for people with a C++ or java background, but I think there should have been more direct comparisions between C++/java and Objective C. For example, saying that class functions (the ones with +) are just like static functions in C++ would have helped.
* This may be an introductory book for people moving from other platforms to the Mac, but the UI for most of the applications violated Apple's UI guidelines in many ways. I think the book should have promoted following Apple's UI guidelines.
* There was no discussion of exceptions, and much of the code was not exception-safe and didn't do much error checking. There wasn't even the usual disclaimer about leaving that out for simplicity.
* I would have liked a quick overview at the end of some of the classes not discussed in the book with a couple of sentences about what they do. This would help to learn what's out there.
I hope to see more books on Cocoa by the author. There's still lots of room for books on more advanced Cocoa topics.
55 of 58 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Getting started in Cocoa Sept. 16 2002
By charles - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
First, I have to say I loved this book, I actually read half of it on a trip, not being in front of my computer, and still enjoyed the clear style and the gradual addition of new concepts and tools, chapter after chapter. Then I could hardly wait to be back home and start doing it for real.
Now for the potential buyer.
WHAT IT IS NOT: a reference book (no list of classes etc...) or a technical book for advanced programming; a book about Java or Carbon; an introduction to object-oriented programming; an introduction to C.
WHAT IT IS: an excellent introduction to programming in Objective C in the Cocoa environment of Max OS X, provided you know enough about
object-oriented programming (some basic understanding of C++ is preferable too).
WHAT YOU LEARN: Objective-C in Cocoa; using Apple Developer Tools; building an application in Mac OS X; how to make optimal use of Cocoa classes and API, knowing how they were conceived and meant to be used; a number of basic concepts and tips that really get you started.
THE PLUS that make this book so interesting: very good and clear writing; some amusing brief 'historical' insights; you really feel the author knows what he is talking about; the author gives personal views (clearly stated as advices, not rules); follow-up, errata, examples, comments, and more on his web site; still completely useable with OS X.2 (a couple or very minor changes that are listed on the web site anyway), so that's the good time to buy it (price is down, but content is still up to date).
Final comment: Objective C in Max OS X is very powerful and enjoyable.
87 of 98 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing - The Best of a Bad Bunch Dec 1 2011
By R. Bryan Harrison - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I had high hopes for the 4th edition of this book. The authors clearly have considerable expertise, but the book isn't particularly well written and suffers from all the typical maladies of tech publishing: poorly organized, badly designed, full of errors, cheaply printed, and overpriced. Rather than improving on version 3, it's a slapdash edit thrown together merely to include changes Apple made to Xcode and the compiler in 2011. It reads like a promising middle draft of what might have been a terrific book.

In general, Big Nerd Ranch's books have the feel of something assembled from classroom materials. This is unfortunate - one suspects the classes are terrific, but a great book takes more than that and great teachers are not necessarily good writers. (And engineers almost never are.) In particular, there are far too many rabbits pulled out of way too many hats - "do this - wow!", "do that - kaboom!" - with insufficient background. Demos work great in the classroom where one can ask direct questions, but I'd prefer a book that takes a problem solving approach with clearly defined goals and equally explicit explanations of why certain approaches are superior to others.

The best parts of the book are "Curious" and "Challenge" sections at the end of each chapter, which require independent thought and adapting concepts and techniques to serve actual needs. Would that the whole book had taken that approach. The worst part is the graphic design - the procedural instructions laid out in running text are unnecessarily difficult to follow and the reduced low-resolution screen shots are often barely legible. (Where did publishers get the idea that 72 dpi screen shots are acceptable in a $30 book?) Presenting this sort of information well in a 7" x 9" format is a difficult challenge the book's design fails to meet.

Certainly "Cocoa Programming for Mac OS X, 4th Edition" is better than the competition, but that's damning with faint praise. I found it difficult to use not least of all due to the nagging urge to rewrite it. But whatever the book's flaws, the tone of the writing is just right, the authors are clearly great guys who know their stuff, and they should be complimented for facing up to a difficult subject without any condescending "for Dummies" BS. There's a great deal of useful information I'm sure I'll benefit from revisiting it as my own expertise increases, but in general, the bar for tech writing is set way too low.
20 of 21 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars this book is pretty good, but... Jan. 6 2003
By digitalshadow - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
here's what i discovered while i was trying to learn Cocoa: this book, by itself, was not sufficient for me to really "get off the ground" with Cocoa. Now, don't get me wrong, this really is a good book and, in most areas, Mr. Hillegass explains the material quite well. my problem was that after i had worked --perhaps struggled would be a better description -- through the first 4 chapters of the book i was still left feeling somewhat confused about how to go about writing a Cocoa progam. for some reason things just weren't "clicking" as well as i thought they should be.
not being the quitting type, i began to search for other books on Cocoa programming. i purchased the O'Reilly book "Learning Cocoa With Objective-C", second edition. after reading a few chapters in the O'Reilly book, then going back and re-reading the material in Mr. Hillegass' book, things began to click. since that time, the approach has proven the most useful for me is to read the O'Reilly book until i get stuck on a particular topic, then cross-reference with Mr. Hillegass' book in order to get a different perspective/explanation. in addition, working through *all* of the examples in both books has proven tremendously helpful. if i had my way, i'd combine the material from both books into a single book. :)
in summary, if you buy this book and find that you are having trouble grasping the concepts, try purchasing the "Learning Cocoa with Objective-C" -- make sure to get the 2nd edition -- and see if getting a different perspective/explanation works for you.
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