TweetFollow Us on Twitter

Getting Started
Volume Number:8
Issue Number:1
Column Tag:Getting started

My First Macintosh . . .

How does one get started programming on the Macintosh?

By Dave Mark, MacTutor Regular Contributing Author

I bought my first Macintosh in March of ‘84, during the “first hundred days”. Though it might seem silly to some, MacWrite and MacPaint changed me completely. I drew pictures of my dog. I wrote letters to everyone in my Rolodex. I was hooked.

Being a long-time programmer, my immediate goal was to create my own sizzling Mac application. I read through the doc that came with my Mac. Absolutely no help there. I asked my friends. I even asked my Mom. Finally, I asked my cousin Eldin. Bingo! He laid the whole thing out for me.

“For starters,” he told me, “you’ll need to pick-up something called Inside Macintosh. It’s the only technical documentation available. You pay $150 to Apple and they’ll send you two 3” binders stuffed with all manner of technical material. Concentrate on the QuickDraw chapter. That’s where it all starts.”

With that sage advice, I started my career as a Macintosh developer. In those days, there weren’t a whole lot of technical resources available to help me along. Now, the choices are endless. If you’re just getting started with Mac development, or if you’d just like someone else’s viewpoint, stick around. In the next few pages, we’ll explore the vast array of Macintosh development options from an economic perspective.

Spending Your Hard-Earned Money

Wouldn’t it be nice if everything you needed to program your Macintosh came with it for free. Unfortunately, that’s not the case. Programming the Mac can be incredibly expensive. In this section, we’re going to talk about priorities. What should you spend your money on? What should you buy and what order should you buy it in?

For starters, you’re going to need a Macintosh with at least 4 Mb of RAM and at least a 40 Mb hard drive. You can program with less, but this is one area I wouldn’t skimp on.

If you’re going to program with MPW, C++, and MacApp, you’d better plan on at least 8Mb of RAM and at least 80Mb of hard drive space. You’d also better plan on running System 7 in 32-bit mode with virtual memory turned on. MacApp is cool, but it really sucks up memory and disk space.

Buy A Development Environment

Once you’ve installed your memory and connected your hard drive, get yourself a compiler. Although there are other alternatives, for my money, Symantec and Apple are the only real players. Symantec offers both THINK C and THINK Pascal. Apple offers the Macintosh Programmer’s Workshop (MPW), with compatible compilers for C++, C, Pascal, and other languages. In general, the THINK compilers are much easier to use and to learn, and offer faster compile times. MPW is a UNIX-like environment, offering far more power and flexibility.

Which should you choose? If you’re just getting started, there’s no contest. Choose THINK C or THINK Pascal. Aside from being much easier to learn, there are far more books, tutorials, and programming examples available for the THINK environments than for MPW. Basically, support for THINK C and Pascal is excellent and pervasive. If you run into a problem (don’t worry, you will), pick up the phone and call Symantec’s technical support line. Once you get through, you’ll encounter insanely great support - and it’s free!!!

Although Apple does offer technical support, it is limited to Apple Partners, or to those willing to shell out the bucks for dedicated phone support.

C or Pascal?

If you haven’t picked a language yet, consider learning C, by far the most popular Macintosh programming language. As of December, 1991, there were about 3 times as many C programmers as Pascal programmers. Why is C so popular? One explanation is that C is the standard programming language for the UNIX operating system, and UNIX is extremely popular. Some people prefer C because it is more flexible than Pascal, allowing you to “get away” with a looser programming style.

Pascal is a strongly typed language, requiring you to specify everything just so. One of the benefits of Pascal is its rigidity. Pascal makes it tougher to make inadvertent programming mistakes.

Why do I recommend C? Simple. Go to a book store and count the Pascal and C books. Chances are good that the C books far outnumber the Pascal books. This is a symptom worth paying attention to. If you go with C, you’ll have far more support than if you go with Pascal.

The Object Programming Option

Once you’ve chosen a language, start exploring the world of object programming. Object programming is the wave of

the future. In the next few years, every major computer company will make the switch over to object-oriented develop-ment environments. Apple and IBM, through their joint venture known as Taligent, will produce a new operating system and a series of new hardware platforms. All development for the Taligent platforms will be based on an object programming model.

If you don’t know what objects are, now is the time to learn. If you are a C programmer, move up to C++. If you plan on sticking with Pascal, move up to Object Pascal. Any investment you make in learning object programming is a wise investment in your future.

Go to the Book Store

Though I may be biased, I believe that dollar-for-dollar, your best programming investment is in books. If you are just getting started with programming, get a copy of Oh! Pascal by Cooper and Clancy (for you Pascal programmers). There is a special edition of Oh! Pascal written especially for THINK Pascal. Oh! Pascal is a classic.

On the C side, pick up a copy of Learn C on the Macintosh by Dave Mark (OK, it’s me, I admit it!!!) and The C Programming Language by Kernighan and Ritchie. Learn C comes with a special version of THINK C, tucked in the back, and also includes a coupon offering a significant savings (save more than the cost of the book) on an upgrade to the full THINK C. While Learn C offers a tutorial approach to C programming, The C Programming Language is a C language reference. It includes a complete description of the C language as defined in the latest ANSI standard.

Once you’ve mastered C or Pascal, you’re ready to tackle the Macintosh Toolbox. The Macintosh Programming Primer series by Mark (me again) and Reed offers a complete tutorial in the art of Macintosh programming. Volume I of the Mac Primer is available in both C and Pascal flavors. If you can wait till June, Cartwright and I are hard at work on the 2nd edition of the Mac C Primer, Volume I. The 2nd edition will feature lots of System 7 goodies, including Apple events and a whole lot more.

Now comes the expensive part. If you can afford it, pick up Volumes I through VI of Inside Macintosh, the definitive reference material for the Macintosh. Inside Macintosh contains descriptions of every single Macintosh Toolbox function. If you can, pick up a copy of THINK Reference from Symantec. THINK Reference is sort of like an electronic, cross-referenced version of Volumes I through V of Inside Macintosh. Unfortunately, at this time, Volume VI hasn’t been added to THINK Reference yet.

Till Next Month...

Well, I’m just about out of space for this month. Next month, we’ll get down to code, exploring some of the mysteries of the Mac Toolbox. Till then, Adios...

About the author

Dave Mark is an accomplished Macintosh author and an Apple Partner. He is the author of The Macintosh Programming Primer Series which includes: Macintosh C Programming Primer, Volumes 1 and 2; Macintosh Pascal Programming Primer, Volume 1, and his latest book, Learn C on the Macintosh. Dave is also the “professor” on the Learn Programming Forum on CompuServe. To get there, type GO MACDEV, then check out section 11.

Kuh-ching!

Here’s a Macintosh shopper’s tip:

Get hold of the latest issue

of MacWEEK.

Towards the back,

you’ll find a series of

ads featuring some of the best prices around

on memory and

hard drives.

As of this writing,

1 Megabyte SIMMs

were around

$36 each.

A Quantum

50 Megabyte internal drive was only $215!

[Remember, although this is an excellent suggestion, it is definitely buyer beware territory. Try to go with the vendors with better reputations when you buy. - Ed.]

 

Community Search:
MacTech Search:

Software Updates via MacUpdate

Remotix 3.1.4 - Access all your computer...
Remotix is a fast and powerful application to easily access multiple Macs (and PCs) from your own Mac. Features Complete Apple Screen Sharing support - including Mac OS X login, clipboard... Read more
DesktopLyrics 2.6.6 - Displays current i...
DesktopLyrics is an application that displays the lyrics of the song currently playing in "iTunes" right on your desktop. The lyrics for the song have to be set in iTunes; DesktopLyrics does nothing... Read more
VOX 2.5.1 - Music player that supports m...
VOX is a beautiful music player that supports many filetypes. The beauty is in its simplicity, yet behind the minimal exterior lies a powerful music player with a ton of features and support for all... Read more
NetNewsWire 4.0.0 - RSS and Atom news re...
NetNewsWire is the best way to keep up with the sites and authors you read most regularly. Let NetNewsWire pull down the latest articles, and read them in a distraction-free and Mac-like way. Native... Read more
MacUpdate Desktop 6.0.6 - Search and ins...
MacUpdate Desktop 6 brings seamless 1-click installs and version updates to your Mac. With a free MacUpdate account and MacUpdate Desktop 6, Mac users can now install almost any Mac app on macupdate.... Read more
ForkLift 2.6.5 - Powerful file manager:...
ForkLift is a powerful file manager and ferociously fast FTP client clothed in a clean and versatile UI that offers the combination of absolute simplicity and raw power expected from a well-executed... Read more
Drive Genius 4.1.0 - Powerful system uti...
Drive Genius 4 gives you faster performance from your Mac while also protecting it. The award-winning and improved DrivePulse feature alerts you to hard drive issues before they become major problems... Read more
OnyX 2.9.7 - Maintenance and optimizatio...
OnyX is a multifunctional utility for OS X. It allows you to verify the startup disk and the structure of its System files, to run miscellaneous tasks of system maintenance, to configure the hidden... Read more
DEVONthink Pro 2.8.5 - Knowledge base, i...
DEVONthink Pro is your essential assistant for today's world, where almost everything is digital. From shopping receipts to important research papers, your life often fills your hard drive in the... Read more
Backblaze 4.0.1.878 - Online backup serv...
Backblaze is an online backup service designed from the ground-up for the Mac.With unlimited storage available for $5 per month, as well as a free 15-day trial, peace of mind is within reach with... Read more

Carbo - Handwriting in the Digital Age...
Carbo - Handwriting in the Digital Age 1.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Productivity Price: $3.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: | Read more »
The Apple Watch isn't Great as a Fi...
| Read more »
Show the World What You See With Stre.am...
Live broadcasting is getting popular on mobile devices, which is why you can now get Stre.am, by Infinite Takes. [Read more] | Read more »
PhotoTime's 2.1 Update Adds Apple W...
The latest PhotoTime update is adding even more functionality to the handy photo organizing app. Yep, including Apple Watch support. [Read more] | Read more »
Oh My Glob! Adventure Time Puzzle Quest...
Finn and Jake are taking over D3 Go!'s popular puzzle game series in the upcoming Adventure Time Puzzle Quest. [Read more] | Read more »
Earthcore: Shattered Elements - Tips, Tr...
At first glance, Earthcore: Shattered Elements seems like a rather simple card-battling game. Once you’re introduced to skills that will change quite a bit. Even more so once you start to acquire hero cards. But it’s not so complicated that we... | Read more »
Dungeon999F (Games)
Dungeon999F 1.33 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $.99, Version: 1.33 (iTunes) Description: "The game you must play at least once in your life!" "The game with potential of million downloads globally!" ...is what the... | Read more »
Mixels Rush - Use Mixes, Maxes and Murps...
Mixels Rush - Use Mixes, Maxes and Murps to Outrun the Nixels 1.0.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $2.99, Version: 1.0.0 (iTunes) Description: Use awesome new Mixels and make crazy combinations to beat the annoying... | Read more »
Battles of the Ancient World II (Games)
Battles of the Ancient World II 1.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $2.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: | Read more »
Sword Of Xolan (Games)
Sword Of Xolan 1.0.4 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $.99, Version: 1.0.4 (iTunes) Description: Sword of Xolan is an action platformer game that includes the juice of pixel art style. Xolan is a young and brave man who... | Read more »

Price Scanner via MacPrices.net

Sale! 16GB iPad mini 3 for $349, save $50
B&H Photo has the 16GB iPad mini 3 WiFi on sale for $349 including free shipping plus NY sales tax only. Their price is $50 off MSRP, and it’s the lowest price available for this model. Read more
Price drop on 2014 15-inch Retina MacBook Pro...
B&H Photo has dropped prices on 2014 15″ Retina MacBook Pros by $200. Shipping is free, and B&H charges NY sales tax only: - 15″ 2.2GHz Retina MacBook Pro: $1799.99 save $200 - 15″ 2.5GHz... Read more
Will iOS 9 Finally Bring Productivity Friendl...
Ah, the irony. From its original announcement in 2010, Apple has doggedly insisted that the iPad remain “simple,” thus arbitrarily limiting its considerable potential as a content creation and... Read more
13-inch 2.5GHz MacBook Pro (refurbished) avai...
The Apple Store has Apple Certified Refurbished 13″ 2.5GHz MacBook Pros available for $829, or $270 off the cost of new models. Apple’s one-year warranty is standard, and shipping is free: - 13″ 2.... Read more
Mac Pros on sale for up to $260 off MSRP
B&H Photo has Mac Pros on sale for up to $260 off MSRP. Shipping is free, and B&H charges sales tax in NY only: - 3.7GHz 4-core Mac Pro: $2799, $200 off MSRP - 3.5GHz 6-core Mac Pro: $3719.99... Read more
Save up to $600 with Apple refurbished Mac Pr...
The Apple Store has Apple Certified Refurbished Mac Pros available for up to $600 off the cost of new models. An Apple one-year warranty is included with each Mac Pro, and shipping is free. The... Read more
Apple drops price on refurbished 15-inch 2.2G...
The Apple Store has dropped their price on the Apple Certified Refurbished 2014 15″ 2.2GHz Retina MacBook Pro to $1609, $390 off original MSRP. Apple’s one-year warranty is included, and shipping is... Read more
Apple restocks refurbished Mac minis for up t...
The Apple Store has restocked Apple Certified Refurbished 2014 Mac minis, with models available starting at $419. Apple’s one-year warranty is included with each mini, and shipping is free: - 1.4GHz... Read more
Cover For iPhone Helps You Create Beautiful P...
Taking photos, editing and sharing them is one of the things most of people do on their iPhones for fun, especially if they’re users of social media. Unfortunately, many iOS photo-editing solutions... Read more
Password Keyboard 1.0 For iOS Handles Logins...
Pfaeffikon, Switzerland based Power APP has introduced Password Keyboard 1.0.0, their new password utility developed for iPhone, iPad and iPod touch devices. Password Keyboard is designed to simplify... Read more

Jobs Board

Project Manager / Business Analyst, WW *Appl...
…a senior project manager / business analyst to work within our Worldwide Apple Fulfillment Operations and the Business Process Re-engineering team. This role will work Read more
Visual Merchandise Manager %u2013 Accessories...
…to be part of an incredible team. Imagine what you could do here. At Apple , great ideas have a way of becoming reality very quickly. Our Accessories assortment makes Read more
*Apple* Solutions Consultant - Retail Sales...
**Job Summary** As an Apple Solutions Consultant (ASC) you are the link between our customers and our products. Your role is to drive the Apple business in a retail Read more
*Apple* Solutions Consultant - Retail Sales...
**Job Summary** The ASC is an Apple employee who serves as the Apple business manager and influencer in a hyper-business critical Reseller's store which delivers Read more
Technical Project Manager - *Apple* Pay - A...
**Job Summary** Apple Pay is seeking an experienced technical PM…manage the rollout of features to merchants for the Apple Pay platform in the US Within this role Read more
All contents are Copyright 1984-2011 by Xplain Corporation. All rights reserved. Theme designed by Icreon.