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
$94.72
Apple Inc.
+0.78
MSFT
$44.83
Microsoft Corpora
-0.01
GOOG
$594.74
Google Inc.
+5.27

MacTech Search:
Community Search:

Software Updates via MacUpdate

Airmail 1.4 - Powerful, minimal email cl...
Airmail is a powerful, minimal mail client.It was designed to retain the same experience with a single or multiple accounts and provide a quick, modern and easy-to-use user experience. Airmail... Read more
Macs Fan Control 1.1.12 - Monitor and co...
Macs Fan Control allows you to monitor and control almost any aspect of your computer's fans, with support for controlling fan speed, temperature sensors pane, menu-bar icon, and autostart with... Read more
A Better Finder Rename 9.37 - File, phot...
A Better Finder Rename is the most complete renaming solution available on the market today. That's why, since 1996, tens of thousands of hobbyists, professionals and businesses depend on A Better... Read more
MacBook Air EFI Firmware Update 2.9 - Fo...
MacBook Air EFI Firmware Update is recommended for MacBook Air (Mid 2011) models. This update addresses an issue where systems may take longer to wake from sleep than expected and fixes a rare issue... Read more
FileZilla 3.9.0.1 - Fast and reliable FT...
FileZilla (ported from Windows) is a fast and reliable FTP client and server with lots of useful features and an intuitive interface.Version 3.9.0.1: MSW: Fix installation issue with locked DLLs... Read more
OS X Yosemite 10.10 DP4 - Developer Prev...
Note: This is a Developer Preview. You must be a registered Apple Mac Developer to download this update. OS X Yosemite is Apple's newest operating system for Mac. An elegant design that feels... Read more
FinderPop 2.5.6 - Classic Mac utility, n...
FinderPop is a Universal preference pane that extends OS X's contextual menus using a FinderPop Items folder much as the Apple Menu Items folder used to do for the Apple menu. It has other features... Read more
SpiderOak 5.1.7 - Secure cloud backup, s...
SpiderOak is a multi-platform secure online backup, storage, access, and sharing solution engineered for the consumer and small businesses. You must first sign up to use SpiderOak. Running natively... Read more
Espionage 3.6 - Simple, state of the art...
Espionage offers state-of-the-art encryption and plausible deniability for your confidential data. Sometimes, encrypting your data isn't enough to protect it. That's why Espionage 3 goes beyond data... Read more
calibre 1.45.0 - Complete e-library mana...
Calibre is a complete e-book library manager. Organize your collection, convert your books to multiple formats, and sync with all of your devices. Let Calibre be your multi-tasking digital... Read more

Latest Forum Discussions

See All

Celebrate Summer With a Cat in the Hat L...
Celebrate Summer With a Cat in the Hat Learning Library Sale Posted by Ellis Spice on July 22nd, 2014 [ permalink ] Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad | Read more »
MyTaskList Review
MyTaskList Review By Jennifer Allen on July 22nd, 2014 Our Rating: :: EFFECTIVE IF PLAINUniversal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad It’s not the most stylish of task management apps, but MyTaskList has all the features you could... | Read more »
FlyCraft Herbie: Crazy Machines Review
FlyCraft Herbie: Crazy Machines Review By Jennifer Allen on July 22nd, 2014 Our Rating: :: TRICKY FLYINGUniversal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad A tough game of careful thrusting and navigation, FlyCraft Herbie: Crazy Machines... | Read more »
MTN Review
MTN Review By Jessica Fisher on July 22nd, 2014 Our Rating: :: ADORABLE, SERENE, AND AMUSINGUniversal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad MTN is an adorable, talking pet mountain that is less game and more zen garden.   | Read more »
Fly High with Ninja UP! Now Available o...
Fly High with Ninja UP! Now Available on the App Store Posted by Jessica Fisher on July 22nd, 2014 [ permalink ] Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad | Read more »
Bio Inc. Review
Bio Inc. Review By Nadia Oxford on July 22nd, 2014 Our Rating: :: SICKENING - IN A COMPELLING WAYUniversal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad Bio Inc is about orchestrating the medical destruction of a single person. If that doesn’... | Read more »
HELMUT Review
HELMUT Review By Andrew Fisher on July 21st, 2014 Our Rating: :: TRUNDLE SIMULATOR 2014Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad HELMUT is a fun, fleeting time-sink that offers a momentary distraction and nothing else.   | Read more »
Walkr Review
Walkr Review By Jennifer Allen on July 21st, 2014 Our Rating: :: ORIGINAL WALKINGiPhone App - Designed for the iPhone, compatible with the iPad Walking is a bit more exciting thanks to this planet building/discovering sim reliant... | Read more »
Zombie Commando Review
Zombie Commando Review By Jennifer Allen on July 21st, 2014 Our Rating: :: MINDLESS SLAUGHTERUniversal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad Briefly fun but ultimately forgettable, Zombie Commando will scratch an itch then be... | Read more »
Swords & Poker Adventures Review
Swords & Poker Adventures Review By Jennifer Allen on July 21st, 2014 Our Rating: :: SOULLESS POKER PLAYUniversal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad Swords & Poker Adventures is a mishmash of Poker and RPGing, but it lacks... | Read more »

Price Scanner via MacPrices.net

15-inch 2.0GHz MacBook Pro Retina on sale for...
B&H Photo has the 15″ 2.0GHz Retina MacBook Pro on sale for $1829 including free shipping plus NY sales tax only. Their price is $170 off MSRP. B&H will also include free copies of Parallels... Read more
Apple restocks refurbished Mac minis for up t...
The Apple Store has restocked Apple Certified Refurbished Mac minis for up to $150 off the cost of new models. Apple’s one-year warranty is included with each mini, and shipping is free: - 2.5GHz Mac... Read more
Twelve South HiRise For MacBook – Height-Adju...
If you use your MacBook as a workhorse desktop substitute, as many of us do, a laptop stand combined with an external keyboard and pointing device are pretty much obligatory if you want to avoid... Read more
Why The Mac Was Not Included In The Apple/IBM...
TUAW’s Yoni Heisler cites Fredrick Paul of Network World whoi blogged last week that the Mac’s conspicuous absence from Apple and IBM’s landmark partnership agreement represents a huge squandered... Read more
Save $100 on 13-inch Retina MacBook Pros, plu...
Adorama has 13″ Retina MacBook Pros on sale for $100 off MSRP. Shipping is free, and Adorama charges sales tax in NY & NJ only: - 13″ 2.4GHz/128GB MacBook Pro with Retina Display: $1199 - 13″ 2.... Read more
Blurr it 2.3 for iOS – Quickly Blurs Selected...
Hyderabad, India based TouchLabs has announced a new update of Blurr it 2.3, their photography app for iOS users. Blurr it allows you to blur part of the image to hide potentially sensitive or... Read more
MacBook Airs on sale for $100 off MSRP, start...
Best Buy has the new 2014 MacBook Airs on sale for up to $100 off MSRP on their online store. Choose free home shipping or free local store pickup (if available). Prices valid for online orders only... Read more
Amazon Announces Kindle Unlimited: Unlimited...
Amazon.com has introduced Kindle Unlimited — a new subscription service which allows customers to freely read as much as they want from over 600,000 Kindle books, and listen as much as they want to... Read more
New Linksys Wireless Range Extenders Boost Wi...
Linksys has announced its new lineup of Linksys Wi-Fi Range Extenders. Consumers often experience a weak wireless signal in some parts of their house or apartment caused by blocking elements such as... Read more
MacBook Airs available starting at $719
The Apple Store has Apple Certified Refurbished 2013 & 2012 MacBook Airs in stock today starting at $719. An Apple one-year warranty is included with each MacBook, and shipping is free: 2013... 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
*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
Sr *Apple* Engineer - IT - Requisition #: -...
For more information about TIAA-CREF, visit our website . The Apple Engineer will provide engineering and third-level incident support for 300- 500 MacOS desktop/laptop Read more
*Apple* Systems Administrator - DISH (United...
…satellite service provider, and Dish is currently looking for an experienced Apple /Mac Systems Administrator. Apple systems administrator will be responsible for Read more
*Apple* Systems Administrator - DISH (United...
…satellite service provider, and Dish is currently looking for an experienced Apple /Mac Systems Administrator. Apple systems administrator will be responsible for Read more
All contents are Copyright 1984-2011 by Xplain Corporation. All rights reserved. Theme designed by Icreon.