Objective-C Programming: The Big Nerd Ranch Guide Paperback – Oct 18 2011
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From the Back Cover
Want to write applications for iOS or the Mac? ¿This introduction to programming and the Objective-C language is the first step on your journey from someone who uses apps to someone who writes them.
Based on Big Nerd Ranch's legendary Objective-C Bootcamp,¿this book covers C, Objective-C, and the common programming idioms that enable developers to make the most of Apple technologies.
This is the only introductory-level book written by Aaron Hillegass, one of the most experienced and authoritative voices in the iOS and Cocoa community.
Compatible with Xcode 4.2, iOS 5, and Mac OS X 10.7 (Lion), this guide features short chapters and engaging style to keep you motivated and moving forward. At the same time, Aaron's determination that you understand what you're doing—or at least why you're doing it—encourages you to think critically as a programmer.
Here are some of the topics covered:
- Programming basics: variables, loops, functions, etc.
- Objects, classes, methods, and messages
- Pointers, addresses, and memory management
- Using Xcode, Apple's documentation, and other tools
- Classes from the Foundation framework
- ARC and retain cycles
- Delegation, target-action, and notification design patterns
About the Author
Aaron Hillegass, a former employee at NeXT and Apple, has nearly two decades experience programming and teaching Objective-C, Cocoa, and, more recently, iOS. Aaron is the author of Cocoa Programming for Mac OS X and co-author of iOS Programming: The Big Nerd Ranch Guide. Both best-sellers, these books have helped many people develop and enhance their programming skills. In 2001, Aaron founded Big Nerd Ranch and began developing intensive courses that teach programming in a focused, distraction-free environment. He is currently working on site plans and blueprints for the new Ranch to be located in Atlanta, GA.
Big Nerd Ranch is a unique software engineering and training company where monastic principles drive technological development. Since 2001, the company has been helping students master programming languages through public enrollment bootcamps, private corporate on-site training, and a growing roster of programming books. Big Nerd Ranch offers consultative services to a broad array of clients, shaping their mobile strategies and developing fresh and engaging mobile and desktop applications.
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Top Customer Reviews
So, you are a person wishing to enter the realm of object oriented programming, or more specifically, you want to learn how to write apps for the Mac, for IOS devices like the iPhone, the iPad, or any of the other IOS devices Apple has produced.
Perhaps after reading other material on this subject, your wondering if you have what it takes?
I've read several books, well at least partially. I say partially because after reading partially through the material I began to realize I wasn't getting it, and ended up abandoning the book.
I am determined however, to learn this material, and so should you! because this is a big realm and getting bigger.
Indeed it is not easy, so my advise to you is, get a good book! It makes all the difference!
I came across this book, after having tried 4 others, and unsuccessfully grasping the basics that are so necessary. I came hear to amazon and read a few reviews, and that is what brought me to this book. I then did a little research about the author and his company, and was very impressed. Indeed this seemed to be exactly the education I was looking for, so I bought it.
The book arrived the very next day (amazon is fast, wow!), and I began my studies. The book is well written, with very few mistakes (typos) all the way through. It has many excersizes that are well thought out, and if you get stuck which happened to me many times, you can go to the forum supported by the book to seek answers, or to compare code from your excersizes. The forum is a busy place with people who are always there ready to help, where no question is too dumb or obvious to ask.Read more ›
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Then I happened on the iOS 5 Developer Cookbook. One of the first pages in that book has a flowchart that goes like this:
1) Do you know C? no - learn C, and they show an appropriate book.
2) Do you know Objective C? no - learn Objective C. They show two books for that, and this is one of them.
The chart goes on with books on Xcode and iOS.
So I picked up this book. At first I thought, uh oh, this might have been a waste of money, since there's a pretty big section on basic C skills in the beginning. (Having been writing C more or less since the late '70s, I felt pretty safe in skipping those chapters.)
Then... pay dirt! I'm about halfway through the remaining Objective C part of the book. Objective C can be pretty confusing, even to someone who's been doing OO for several years. Mr. Hillegass does not disappoint - as with other Big Nerd Ranch books, the subject is presented in a clear, understandable, sometimes even beautiful way. I find myself thinking, If only I'd started my OO days with training like this, I might have liked it better.
I think this time around, once I finish one or two more of these books, I might actually get that great app coded, tested, and into the App Store. This book is a great place to start.
After taking the smart move to start using Apple products in 2009 I got bitten by the bug to write some software to support a hobby, maybe even sell it if I could get it to work. I started programming computers in 1968 (no minis or PCs then) and kept up (more or less) until 2000, so this should be fairly easy. After all, Apple gives away the developer tools and provides a massive amount of guidance... well, okay maybe I need some hand holding here. I tried another highly recommended book and indeed it did clear up some of the confusion but I was still left somewhat adrift. I thought to myself, I need a book on Cocoa programming, and besides, it seemed as if Apple was changing the tools, operating system, etc.; every time I seemed to start to get a handle what was going on, another change happened.
I saw that Aaron Hillegass seemed like the "go to" author for folks wanting to understand Cocoa and he had a 4th edition of his Cocoa Programming book coming out shortly covering all the changes in the tools, operating system, etc. So I pre-ordered it and while I was here at Amazon and poking around I saw that he had a newer edition of his Objective-C Programming (this book) and it was on Kindle for a reasonable price. Since I had to wait for the Cocoa book I bought it and downloaded it.
Let me say that if you know nothing of programming, this book will give you the tools to begin to understand what is going on. Indeed, it will teach you what you need to know to actually do some basic C and Objective-C programming if you are a complete novice. If you have a programming background (doesn't really matter what language) this book will tell you all you need to understand about entry level Objective-C. If you are an experienced C or C++ programmer and don't just blow off reading the parts you think you know, you can blast through this book in a couple of weeks and do everything in it, including the challenges.
The point is, if you are having a hard time understanding Objective-C, no matter what your level of programming experience, this book can walk you through the pitfalls and mysteries that seem to leap out at every turn in the Apple documentation. Are some of the new things Apple introduced in Xcode worrisome? Aaron gets you going painlessly. Is ARC giving you trouble? Aaron explains it and points out its pitfalls and where you can still leak memory. If you don't know what that is, you need this book anyway.
All I can say, is even an old programmer can learn new tricks and this may be the best self-paced training guide I have ever used. I can only hope my new Cocoa Programming book (arrived a couple of days ago) is as wonderful as this one proved to be. Thank you Aaron Hillegass for showing me the way.
I have no real programming experience other than things I'd call "scripting". Bash, perl, ruby... shell stuff, mostly. It's easy to read the writing on the wall and see the future is a mobile one. That made me want to learn how to program for iOS. Like Hillegass mentions in the beginning... all of his other books that users rave about are for experienced programmers.
Having been through other tutorials on learning languages that weren't as well written, this one is a breath of fresh air. He writes well and explains his points well. I even found a small error which doesn't discourage me about the quality of the book, it actually *encourages* me... because I've learned enough in what I've read so far (I am in Chapter 10, right now) to be able to discover it for myself.
The analogies Aaron is using to communicate the technical concepts make sense. He doesn't waste time either. Like he said in the first part of this book, don't expect this to be an easy read. It's not. That said, I'm learning... and it's making sense. I think if you're serious about your desire to learn Objective-C and developing for Apple stuff, you'd do well do go through *ALL* the exercises in this book as well as the end-of-chapter challenges. He wants to make you think and go beyond just the material that he's covering in the chapter.
Not only that, but he's helping you learn about the libraries that come with the languages, as well as the development tool (Xcode). I like where this book is taking me and I'd definitely recommend it to others wanting to learn Apple development!
The bad news: programming books generally stink if you are a beginner. They typically jump over little steps here and there, eventually those little steps snowball and you become completely lost. This one is better than the others, but by page 82, I am completely lost. And that's going slowly and rereading the chapters. Something that doesn't help: the author doesn't publish explanations of the answers to the challenges. They get hashed out in a piecemeal way on the forums by well-intentioned people who clearly have experience programming, but the end result is a mishmash for the beginner. Who has time to sort through 10 threads to see which one is right? Or to sort through the additional concepts that people throw into the discussion when you're still struggling to understand the problem at hand.
And just flat out ignoring dot notation, just not helpful.
I would however recommend a small primer for this book, just because it helped me. (I didn't stumble upon this book right away, so it wasn't my first attempt to learn Objective-C) You Tube Channel "thenewboston" has a free series on Objective-C that will get you started. That way, when you get to this book, the first half will stick better and the second half will make more sense.
By the way, you NEED to type the examples and do the challenges from this book and any others you may read. That is the big secret to really learning this material.
Anyways... a great book about a tough subject. I'm almost done with it after only 2 weeks of reading and I have already ordered the Cocoa Programming book. Thanks Aaron!