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.]

 
AAPL
$100.96
Apple Inc.
-0.83
MSFT
$47.52
Microsoft Corpora
+0.84
GOOG
$596.08
Google Inc.
+6.81

MacTech Search:
Community Search:

Software Updates via MacUpdate

Audio Hijack Pro 2.11.3 - Record and enh...
Audio Hijack Pro drastically changes the way you use audio on your computer, giving you the freedom to listen to audio when you want and how you want. Record and enhance any audio with Audio Hijack... Read more
Airfoil 4.8.9 - Send audio from any app...
Airfoil allows you to send any audio to AirPort Express units, Apple TVs, and even other Macs and PCs, all in sync! It's your audio - everywhere. With Airfoil you can take audio from any... Read more
WhatRoute 1.13.0 - Geographically trace...
WhatRoute is designed to find the names of all the routers an IP packet passes through on its way from your Mac to a destination host. It also measures the round-trip time from your Mac to the... Read more
Chromium 37.0.2062.122 - Fast and stable...
Chromium is an open-source browser project that aims to build a safer, faster, and more stable way for all Internet users to experience the web. FreeSMUG-Free OpenSource Mac User Group build is... Read more
Attachment Tamer 3.1.14b9 - Take control...
Attachment Tamer gives you control over attachment handling in Apple Mail. It fixes the most annoying Apple Mail flaws, ensures compatibility with other email software, and allows you to set up how... Read more
Duplicate Annihilator 5.0 - Find and del...
Duplicate Annihilator takes on the time-consuming task of comparing the images in your iPhoto library using effective algorithms to make sure that no duplicate escapes. Duplicate Annihilator detects... Read more
jAlbum Pro 12.2 - Organize your digital...
jAlbum Pro has all the features you love in jAlbum, but comes with a commercial license. With jAlbum, you can create gorgeous custom photo galleries for the Web without writing a line of code!... Read more
jAlbum 12.2 - Create custom photo galler...
With jAlbum, you can create gorgeous custom photo galleries for the Web without writing a line of code! Beginner-friendly, with pro results Simply drag and drop photos into groups, choose a design... Read more
Quicken 2015 2.0.4 - Complete personal f...
Quicken 2015 helps you manage all your personal finances in one place, so you can see where you're spending and where you can save. Quicken automatically categorizes your financial transactions,... Read more
iMazing 1.0 - Complete iOS device manage...
iMazing (formerly DiskAid) is the ultimate iOS device manager with capabilities far beyond what iTunes offers. With iMazing and your iOS device (iPhone, iPad, or iPod), you can: Copy music to and... Read more

Latest Forum Discussions

See All

View Source – HTML, JavaScript and CSS...
View Source – HTML, JavaScript and CSS 1.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Utilities Price: $.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: View Source is an app plus an iOS 8 Safari extension that makes it easy to do one key web developer... | Read more »
Avenged Sevenfold’s Hail To The King: De...
Avenged Sevenfold’s Hail To The King: Deathbat is Coming to iOS on October 16th Posted by Jessica Fisher on September 19th, 2014 [ permalink ] Just in time for Halloween, on October 16 Avenged Sevenfold will be launching | Read more »
Talisman Has Gone Universal – Can Now be...
Talisman Has Gone Universal – Can Now be Played on the iPhone Posted by Jessica Fisher on September 19th, 2014 [ permalink ] | Read more »
Tap Army Review
Tap Army Review By Jennifer Allen on September 19th, 2014 Our Rating: :: SHOOT EM ALLUniversal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad Mindless but fun, Tap Army is a lane-based shooter that should help you relieve some stress.   | Read more »
Monsters! Volcanoes! Loot! Epic Island f...
Monsters! Volcanoes! Loot! | Read more »
Plunder Pirates: Tips, Tricks, Strategie...
Ahoy There, Seadogs: Interested in knowing our thoughts on all this plundering and pirating? Check out our Plunder Pirates Review! Have you just downloaded the rather enjoyable pirate-em-up Plunder Pirates and are in need of some assistance? Never... | Read more »
Goat Simulator Review
Goat Simulator Review By Lee Hamlet on September 19th, 2014 Our Rating: :: THE GRUFFEST OF BILLY GOATSUniversal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad Unleash chaos as a grumpy goat in this humorous but short-lived casual game.   | Read more »
A New and Improved Wunderlist is Here fo...
A New and Improved Wunderlist is Here for iOS 8 Posted by Jessica Fisher on September 19th, 2014 [ permalink ] Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad | Read more »
Evernote Update for iOS 8 Adds Web Clipp...
Evernote Update for iOS 8 Adds Web Clipping, Quick Notes, and More Posted by Ellis Spice on September 19th, 2014 [ permalink ] | Read more »
Apple Names Ultimate Productivity Bundl...
Apple Names Ultimate Productivity Bundle by Readdle as the Essential Bundle on the App Store Posted by Jessica Fisher on September 19th, 2014 [ permalink | Read more »

Price Scanner via MacPrices.net

iFixIt Tears Down iPhone 6; Awards Respectabl...
iFixit notes that even the smaller 4.7″ iPhone 6 is a giant among iPhones; so big that Apple couldn’t fit it into the familiar iPhone form factor. In a welcome reversal of a recent trend to more or... Read more
Phone 6 Guide – Tips Book For Both iPhone 6...
iOS Guides has announced its latest eBook: iPhone 6 Guide. Brought to you by the expert team at iOS Guides, and written by best-selling technology author Tom Rudderham, iPhone 6 Guide is packed with... Read more
How to Upgrade iPhone iPad to iOS 8 without D...
PhoneClean, a iPhone cleaner utility offered by iMobie Inc., reveals a solution for upgrading iPhone and iPad to iOS 8 without deleting photos, apps, the new U2 album or anything. Thanks to more than... Read more
Inpaint 6 – Photo Retouching Tool Gets Faster...
TeoreX has announced Inpaint 6, a simple retouching tool for end users that helps remove scratches, watermarks, and timestamps as well as more complex objects like strangers, unwanted elements and... Read more
Worldwide PC Monitor Market Sees Growth in To...
Worldwide PC monitor shipments totaled 32.5 million units in the second quarter of 2014 (2Q14), a year-over-year decline of -2.9%, according to the International Data Corporation (IDC) Worldwide... Read more
Updated Price Trackers
We’ve updated our Mac Price Trackers with the latest information on prices, bundles, and availability on systems from Apple’s authorized internet/catalog resellers: - 15″ MacBook Pros - 13″ MacBook... Read more
Mac Pros available for up to $260 off MSRP
Adorama has Mac Pros on sale for up to $260 off MSRP. Shipping is free, and Adorama charges sales tax in NY & NJ only: - 4-core Mac Pro: $2839.99, $160 off MSRP - 6-core Mac Pro: $3739.99, $260... Read more
13-inch 2.6GHz/256GB Retina MacBook Pros avai...
B&H Photo has the 13″ 2.6GHz/256GB Retina MacBook Pro on sale for $1379 including free shipping plus NY sales tax only. Their price is $120 off MSRP. Read more
Previous-generation 15-inch 2.0GHz Retina Mac...
B&H Photo has leftover previous-generation 15″ 2.0GHz Retina MacBook Pros now available for $1599 including free shipping plus NY sales tax only. Their price is $400 off original MSRP. B&H... Read more
21″ 2.7GHz iMac available for $1179, save $12...
Adorama has 21″ 2.7GHz Hawell iMacs on sale for $1179.99 including free shipping. Their price is $120 off MSRP. NY and NJ sales tax only. Read more

Jobs Board

*Apple* Retail - Multiple Positions (US) - A...
Sales Specialist - Retail Customer Service and Sales Transform Apple Store visitors into loyal Apple customers. When customers enter the store, you're also the Read more
Position Opening at *Apple* - Apple (United...
**Job Summary** At the Apple Store, you connect business professionals and entrepreneurs with the tools they need in order to put Apple solutions to work in their Read more
Position Opening at *Apple* - Apple (United...
**Job Summary** The Apple Store is a retail environment like no other - uniquely focused on delivering amazing customer experiences. As an Expert, you introduce people Read more
Position Opening at *Apple* - Apple (United...
**Job Summary** As businesses discover the power of Apple computers and mobile devices, it's your job - as a Solutions Engineer - to show them how to introduce these Read more
Position Opening at *Apple* - Apple (United...
…Summary** As a Specialist, you help create the energy and excitement around Apple products, providing the right solutions and getting products into customers' hands. You Read more
All contents are Copyright 1984-2011 by Xplain Corporation. All rights reserved. Theme designed by Icreon.