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

Never Gone (Games)
Never Gone 1.0.2 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $2.99, Version: 1.0.2 (iTunes) Description: ###IMPPORTANT### Never Gone's HD art resources require devices with more than 1GB RAM, so please note that iPhone 4/4s, iPad 2/... | Read more »
INKS. (Games)
INKS. 1.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $1.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: From the makers of BAFTA-winning Lumino City comes INKS. INKS updates pinball for a new generation. It combines the joy of pinball with... | Read more »
How to maximise your profits in Bakery B...
Running a bakery can be an expensive venture. You’ll need to continuously upgrade your oven, your kitchen supplies, and even your ingredients to keep customers happy. Most of these renovations in Bakery Blitz cost a pretty penny, but we have a few... | Read more »
How to manage your time in Bakery Blitz
It can be tricky, especially when you risk burning your kitchen to the ground if you forget a cake in the oven, so make sure to use these time management tricks to keep your bakery running smoothly. Don’t collect the money right away [Read more] | Read more »
Model 15 (Music)
Model 15 1.0 Device: iOS iPhone Category: Music Price: $29.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: The Moog Model 15 App is the first Moog modular synthesizer and synthesis educational tool created exclusively for iPad, iPhone and... | Read more »
How to deal with wind in Angry Birds Act...
Angry Birds Action! is a physics-based puzzler in which you're tasked with dragging and launching birds around an obstacle-littered field to achieve a set objective. It's simple enough at first, but when wind gets introduced things can get pretty... | Read more »
How to get three stars in every level of...
Angry Birds Action! is, essentially, a pinball-style take on the pull-and-fling action of the original games. When you first boot it up, you'll likely be wondering exactly what it is you have to do to get a good score. Well, never fear as 148Apps... | Read more »
The beginner's guide to Warbits
Warbits is a turn-based strategy that's clearly inspired by Nintendo's Advance Wars series. Since turn-based strategy games can be kind of tricky to dive into, see below for a few tips to help you in the beginning. Positioning is crucial [Read... | Read more »
How to upgrade your character in Spellsp...
So you’ve mastered the basics of Spellspire. By which I mean you’ve realised it’s all about spelling things in a spire. What next? Well you’re going to need to figure out how to toughen up your character. It’s all well and good being able to spell... | Read more »
5 slither.io mash-ups we'd love to...
If there's one thing that slither.io has proved, it's that the addictive gameplay of Agar.io can be transplanted onto basically anything and it will still be good fun. It wouldn't be surprising if we saw other developers jumping on the bandwagon,... | Read more »

Price Scanner via MacPrices.net

Global Tablet Sales Slump Continues, iPad’s F...
Another miserable showing for the global slate tablet category in calendar Q1/16, with global tablet shipments falling another 1ten percent to 46.5 million units during the according to Strategy... Read more
Revel Systems to Showcase iPad POS Platform w...
Revel Systems, specialists in iPad Point of Sale management solution for brick-and-mortar retail, food businesses and more, today announced that it will showcase its innovative iPad Point of Sale... Read more
13-inch 2.5GHz MacBook Pro on sale for $999,...
B&H Photo has the 13″ 2.5GHz MacBook Pro on sale for $999 including free shipping plus NY sales tax only. Their price is $100 off MSRP. Read more
Apple refurbished 2015 iMacs available for up...
Apple now has a full line of Certified Refurbished 2015 21″ & 27″ iMacs available for up to $350 off MSRP. Apple’s one-year warranty is standard, and shipping is free. The following models are... Read more
Indian Smartphone Market Grows Annually by 12...
India’s smartphone market grew by 12 percent year-over-year, with 24.4 million units shipping in Q1 2016. The top five vendors stayed the same, with Samsung in the lead, followed by Micromax, Intex... Read more
Get Notifications When Your Friend’s Phone Ba...
Calgary, Canada based Stonelight Pictures has announced the release of Battery Share 1.0.1, its new utility for iOS 9 supported devices. The company notes that people are spending more time on their... Read more
11-inch 1.6GHz/128GB MacBook Air on sale for...
Amazon has the current-generation 11″ 1.6GHz/128GB MacBook Air (sku MJVM2LL/A) on sale for $749.99 for a limited time. Their price is $150 off MSRP, and it’s the lowest price available for this model... Read more
Price drops on clearance 2015 13-inch MacBook...
B&H Photo has dropped prices on clearance 2015 13″ MacBook Airs by up to $250. Shipping is free, and B&H charges NY sales tax only: - 13″ 1.6GHz/4GB/128GB MacBook Air (MJVE2LL/A): $799, $200... Read more
Mac minis on sale for up to $100 off MSRP
B&H Photo has Mac minis on sale for up to $100 off MSRP including free shipping plus NY sales tax only: - 1.4GHz Mac mini: $449 $50 off MSRP - 2.6GHz Mac mini: $649 $50 off MSRP - 2.8GHz Mac mini... Read more
13-inch Retina MacBook Pros on sale for up to...
B&H Photo has 13″ Retina MacBook Pros on sale for $130-$200 off MSRP. Shipping is free, and B&H charges NY tax only: - 13″ 2.7GHz/128GB Retina MacBook Pro: $1169 $130 off MSRP - 13″ 2.7GHz/... Read more

Jobs Board

Automotive Sales Consultant - Apple Ford Linc...
…you. The best candidates are smart, technologically savvy and are customer focused. Apple Ford Lincoln Apple Valley is different, because: $30,000 annual salary Read more
Restaurant Manager (Neighborhood Captain) - A...
…in every aspect of daily operation. WHY YOU'LL LIKE IT: You'll be the Big Apple . You'll solve problems. You'll get to show your ability to handle the stress and Read more
Simply Mac *Apple* Specialist- Service Repa...
Simply Mac is the largest premier retailer of Apple products in the nation. In order to support our growing customer base, we are currently looking for a driven Read more
Restaurant Manager (Neighborhood Captain) - A...
…in every aspect of daily operation WHY YOU LL LIKE IT You ll be the Big Apple You ll solve problems You ll get to show your ability to handle the stress and Read more
*Apple* Retail - Multiple Positions (US) - A...
Job Description:SalesSpecialist - Retail Customer Service and SalesTransform Apple Store visitors into loyal Apple customers. When customers enter the store, Read more
All contents are Copyright 1984-2011 by Xplain Corporation. All rights reserved. Theme designed by Icreon.