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Programming in Objective-C (4th Edition) Paperback – Dec 16 2011
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From the Back Cover
Programming in Objective-C, Fourth Edition
An introduction to the Objective-C language for iOS and Mac OS X development
Objective-C has become the standard programming language for application development on the iOS and Mac OS X platforms. A powerful yet simple object-oriented programming language that’s based on C, Objective-C is widely available not only on Apple platforms but across many operating systems, including Linux, Unix, and Windows.
Programming in Objective-C provides the new programmer a complete, step-by-step introduction to the Objective-C language. The book does not assume previous experience with either C or object-oriented programming languages, and it includes many detailed, practical examples of how to put Objective-C to use in your everyday programming needs.
The fourth edition of this book has been updated to cover the significant changes that first appeared in iOS 5 and Xcode 4.2, including the use of Automatic Reference Counting (ARC) to improve and simplify memory management in Objective-C programs. It also shows how to take advantage of the Foundation framework’s rich built-in library of classes and provides an introduction to iOS programming.
About the Author
Stephen Kochan is the author and coauthor of several bestselling titles on the C language, including Programming in C (Sams, 2004), Programming in ANSI C (Sams, 1994), and Topics in C Programming (Wiley, 1991), and several Unix titles, including Exploring the Unix System (Sams, 1992) and Unix Shell Programming (Sams, 2003). He has been programming on Macintosh computers since the introduction of the first Mac in 1984, and he wrote Programming C for the Mac as part of the Apple Press Library. In 2003 Kochan wrote Programming in Objective-C (Sams, 2003), and followed that with another Mac-related title, Beginning AppleScript (Wiley, 2004).
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Top Customer Reviews
specific examples that I was looking for though. Still a great reference.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
After reading this book, did I know how to use text input boxes, make an alert display on the screen, or create a simple app that moved from one page to another? Unfortunately, no. This book focuses mainly with major ideas and concepts of the Objective-C language. That is, how the language is structured, some major and commonly used methods (or functions in other languages), and general tips while making an app. The book finally begins teaching how to actually make an iPhone app (containing buttons and a user interface) in the last chapter. Even so, the last chapter only teaches you to make a simple "Fraction Calculator" app with only some buttons and a text area to display the result. Because of this, don't expect to know how to make even the simplest of apps after reading the book. This book only gets your feet wet.
You should get this book if:
- you are starting to learn the basics of Objective C
- you learn well with step by step instructions along with explanations of the instructions/code
- you like the idea of chapter examples/problems that force you to figure things out on your own and do external research
- you like the idea that this book provides an online forum dedicated to this specific edition of book (including previous editions), where you can ask questions
- to know how to turn your ideas into working apps after reading this book
- that this is the only book you need
- that this book will be a quick and simple read (unless you pick up code easily)
- to be able to learn everything in the book by skimming or skipping sections
----------UPDATE (July 20, 2012)----------
Ever since this review has been written, I have been actively using and playing around in Xcode, following video tutorials online, and searching whatever code I don't know/understand online. In my opinion, I've learned more information about Xcode and making apps for the iPhone than this book has taught me. Looking back, however, I realize that you DO need a good foundation of Objective-C knowledge, which this book provides. It might be possible to learn iOS programming by starting with video tutorials, but if you don't understand EVERYTHING about the tutorials (such as the code, the outlet connections, why something was done, etc.), I suggest you brush up on the basics.
My tip to those looking to learn iPhone programming is to first get a good understanding of the basics of Objective-C from this book. You don't need to memorize or completely understand every method taught in this book, but at least get the general and basic idea/purpose of them. After reading this book, your next step should be to look at tutorials online, whether they are video tutorials or text/image based tutorials. Start from the basics, one by one. I suggest learning how to use storyboards first, as this book does not cover storyboards sufficiently and can be very useful in the future. Next, learn user interface elements. For example, start with the UIButton. Learn how to put it into your iPhone screen's view. Then learn how to create a method for when it is pressed by the user. Next, learn how to add code to that method and test if your UIButton works. A good online tutorial will teach you all of these things (and possibly more). If you do feel that you don't get something while following tutorials, look online for help/documentation or ask someone who can help you. If you have a great amount of difficulty following tutorials, then you might need to go back and brush up on your basics.
In conclusion, after you read this book, you should build up your experience of actually building apps that involve user interface elements as well as the code associated with those user interface elements.
If there's one small weakness, I'd say the author might have presented some tougher challenges in the chapter ending exercises. The sample problems in the text are all very straight-forward and can be answered very easily by referring to the previous chapter itself. At least I think some readers would benefit from the addition of 1 or 2 challenges that might require some out of the box thinking. But hey, compared to other programming books that take the "sink or swim" approach and/or assume they're writing for a 25 year C veteran, I'm willing to forgive the author for a bit of coddling.
I think this is the best place to start Mac an iOS programming, and absolutely where anyone without prior Java, C or even Perl/PHP experience needs to begin. Every other book I've seen assumes a decent familiarity with programming concepts and makes no real attempt to match the scope of this book's coverage (skipping many C topics and more advanced issues like protocols, etc.)
It's not the only book you'll need to program for Apple products, but it's the best first one and it's such a good book starting here makes it more likely you'll actually move on to the Cocoa, etc books. Be sure to buy the Fourth Edition to ensure you get coverage on the radical changes introduced by ARC memory management.
Now, on to the good stuff.
This is THE book to get if you need to learn Objective-C from the ground up. I would recommend it to anyone that has exposure to other languages or programming in general and needs to learn Objective-C. (As the author states in his introduction - knowing C is not a necessity. He has taken the approach that Objective-C should be learned on it's own without prerequisite exposure to C.) That being said - it doesn't hurt to have at least some knowledge of C when you read this book - just so that you are not overwhelmed by the similarities when they are pointed out. This is especially true in Chapter 13 when C language features are talked about. After all, Objective-C is based upon C.
What this book does not cover in depth is iOS programming. It's focus is on learning Objective-C - in most examples from a command line/terminal style program. The approach is learning by doing, so for every topic covered there are examples demonstrating the topic that the reader should take pains to replicate on his/her own. There are also extra assignment challenges at the end of each chapter.
The basics are covered first (there is really no mention of any Mac-specific or iOS libraries until Chapter 14). The first thirteen chapters are where the begininning Objective-C programmer learns the ins and outs of the language without regard to any external Mac-related libraries. So, the typical programming language constructs - data types and structures, scoping, classes, looping, OO constructs, inheritance, polymorphism, etc. - all of the things that you need to know about a language itself prior to getting into extensions to that language - are dealt with.
From the fourteenth chapter on, the reader is given instruction in usage of the Foundation Framework - the extra "special sauce" that is used when programming Macs, iPhones, and iPads using Objective-C. Within these chapters, the various Foundation Framework specific data types are covered as well as techniques that you will use in your Mac programming career. So, he covers the specialized string objects, number objects, and collection-style objects as well as memory management with ARC (Automatic Reference Counting).
Finally, in the last chapter, he talks about iOS programming specifically. And, there is only a single chapter devoted to it. That is not a criticism on my part. You should realize going in, that this book is about Objective-C - not about iOS programming. As an Objective-C learning tool it excels. Once you've read this book - I suggest you get one of the many excellent books that are devoted to iOS programming. You will then be able to understand on a deeper level the Objective-C code being demonstrated in those references.
In summary, this is the premier learning tool for Objective-C. It's been the book to get from it's first edition up until this latest fourth edition. I highly recommend it and suggest that this be the first book you read prior to writing your "killer" iPhone app - or that you read it concurrently with any of the iOS-specific books that are out there presently.
However, around chapter 11 where use of the built in frameworks is introduced, the explanations are rushed over and important concepts are skipped all together. It feels like the author worked so hard at the beginning of the book and then rushed the ending. I worked my way through until chapter 16, then threw up my hands and switched to the Big Nerd Ranch Guide IOS programming. To the authors credit, I had no trouble transitioning to this book as he had given me such a good base in objective-c.
Summary - Buy this book to learn objective-c then move on to other texts when you are ready to try actual IOS programming.
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