Dec 28, 2009 - 6:01 pm (CET)

Official Developer

From now on, you can call me Mac Developer. Yesterday I uploaded my first application for the Mac, which I had completed just a few days ago. Nothing big really, just a small note list thing, which I'm now using to manage my ToDo lists - since I'd never found one that suited my needs, I decided to write one myself. To be honest, I'd decided to do that a while ago but never got around to learn Objective-C.

I started off a few weeks ago by learning to create iPhone apps. (No, I don't own an iPhone myself.) You might not know it, but the iPhone basically runs OS X, the same operating system as a Mac - of course there have been adjustments to the user interface, and they renamed it to iPhone OS, but other than that, the similarities seem to outweigh the differences easily. So it wasn't hard to start programming on the Mac, now that I had some knowledge about Objective-C and Cocoa, Apple's framework.

From scratch to your first Mac Application

Creating a window for my application was no problem at all, anyone who knows how to use a mouse could do it with Interface Builder. Actually, reading all files in a folder, populating a list box, even writing changed text to files - pretty much everything was easy with Cocoa once I knew how to use the documentation. The hardest part was finding out how to find out how stuff works. So the best way to start off is by finding a website with tutorials for Objective-C, in my case tutorials for iPhone programming. If you know which class to use for something, you can find out which methods you need in the Developer Documentation that gets installed with Xcode. And everything is free - Xcode is on the installation disk for OS X. And I could download the latest version over the Internet. I signed up for a free developer account, I think you need that to download Xcode.

One question remains - is there a free IDE1 for the official programming language on Windows? Is there even an official programming language on Windows? No, really, if there is one and I had known that earlier, I wouldn't have had to start programming with Profan, a really unknown programming language for Windows. I guess XProfan 8 might be okay (that's the latest free edition of Profan), but the free version I used back was not so great.
Anyway, I'm glad that I don't need to answer that question anymore. I suppose a professional IDE for C++ would've been cheaper than a Mac though. :-)

But I have to say: Thank you, Apple, for making programming on the Mac so easy! And, of course, thank you to those Mac developers that make those awesome tutorials. With those and Apple's demo code it never took me long to get over the obstacles that are always there.

Of course there's a lot more better sites with information about how to start coding with Cocoa. An excellent example is this one: http://www.mactech.com/articles/mactech/Vol.20/20.03/AlertsandSheetsinCocoa/index.html

Alex

1 Integrated Development Environment, a software development system

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