TweetFollow Us on Twitter

Book Review: Cocoa Recipes for MacOSX

Volume Number: 19 (2003)
Issue Number: 11
Column Tag: Review

Book Review: Cocoa Recipes for MacOSX

by Ron Davis

If you aren't new to the Macintosh and having programmed before there was Cocoa and then you decided early in the history of MacOS X you were going to learn Cocoa, you've probably been to StepWise.com and seen the Vermont Recipes. These were a series of tutorials on how to build OpenStep applications. They were the tutorials you first learned with because Apple had no tutorials, and there were no books on the subject at the time. Now these tutorials have a book of their own. They've been updated and fleshed out by Bill Cheesman and collected in the new book from Peachpit Press, Cocoa Recipes forMac OS X: The Vermont Recipes.

If you are new to the Mac, or are just now deciding to leave the dark ages and learn some Cocoa, this book provides a concrete set of examples of how to make Cocoa applications. Apple's documentation has improved greatly, but if you want a more complete step-by-step approach to developing a complete Cocoa application, this book is there to provide it for you.

The first question you'll probably ask is whether you should buy the book given many parts of it were on the web. Well the Vermont Recipes were based on OpenStep and even when Cocoa first came out there were differences. Now those differences are even greater. The book is the updated version.

The book starts out with some short introductory chapters where it discusses the philosophy of the book. The author wants to go through a real world application and build it a layer at a time. He's not trying to cover every aspect of Cocoa, every call, every API. Instead he is covering the things you really use.

They claim the book isn't a reference book, but it is more the kind of book you open when you need to do a particular thing and look for an example. Sitting down and going through the book one chapter after another will teach you a lot about programming in Cocoa, but you can still get value out of it by pulling it off the shelf when you want to find out how to make a contextual menu or put data in a keyed archive.

The book is organized into seven sections: Building An Application, User Controls, Data Storage, Menus, Windows, Additional Application Features, and Working With Mac OS X 10.2. Each section is broken up into recipes. Some sections have a lot of recipes like User Controls with nine. Some with only one like Data Storage.

Each recipe covers a large topic in the application development cycle. Each recipe is broken up into steps. A step is one set of things you need to add to accomplish the overall recipe. Each step is broken down into sub-steps, which is where the actual code is.

There is a lot of explanation in each step. Each sub-step tells you what you need to do and then shows you the code. Then the text explains what each piece of code does and means. There are sidebars throughout the book that cover, not the code, but the technology. The first recipe contains sidebars on Model-View-Controller and Dictionaries among others.

The first recipe creates a simple multi-document application complete with saving, icons and deployment builds. It is an introduction to using Project Builder and Interface Builder. It's also 149 pages long. This book is long. While it covers a lot, most of it is the basic stuff. The book just covers all of the basics.

The second recipe builds on the first adding a window with a bunch of buttons. While a somewhat contrived example, it is common to have to add controls as the next step in the developing a document app. Personally I would have created a Preference Window. These always require a bunch of controls. As this section on user controls continues more and more controls are added to the window. Ultimately every possible control is covered before the section ends.

After the really long section on controls there is a really short one covering keyed archiving. Then menus get covered. Not just menus in the menu bar, but contextual menus and dock menus. The fifth section covers windows adding drawers, alerts and dialogs. User preferences and help are covered in the last section before 10.2 only features. The section on 10.2 only features tells how to test for a feature and maintain backwards compatibility.

So what is missing? There is no discussion of toolbars, which I expected when talking about menus. Also there is no discussion of AppleScript or AppleEvents. And while table views are covered under user controls, there is no discussion of the outline view variant. But the book is already 750 pages long; you can't cover everything.

Of course like all computer books this one is dated almost as soon as it gets released. Given the major changes that Pather and Xcode are bringing, some of the things in the book are already in need of changes. Xcode brings a different development environment, and the introduction of Bindings fundamentally changes how Cocoa apps are written and structured. But in order to use bindings the developer is forced to use Pather only, which will limit the adoption of bindings in the near term.

Overall this is a great book for beginners and intermediate Cocoa programmers. It is well written, walking you through everything you need to know. Advanced programmers probably know everything in this book, but still might benefit from having it around to use as a refresher when they need to remember how to do something they don't do very often like dock menus.

http://www.stepwise.com/Articles/VermontRecipes/index.html


Ron Davis

 

Community Search:
MacTech Search:

Software Updates via MacUpdate

RapidWeaver 6.0.8 - Create template-base...
RapidWeaver is a next-generation Web design application to help you easily create professional-looking Web sites in minutes. No knowledge of complex code is required, RapidWeaver will take care of... Read more
Artlantis Studio 5.1.2.7 - 3D rendering...
Artlantis Studio is a unique and ideal tool for performing very high resolution rendering easily and in real time. The new FastRadiosity engine now lets you compute images in radiosity-even in... Read more
MacUpdate Desktop 6.0.5 - 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
BitTorrent Sync 2.0.82 - Sync files secu...
BitTorrent Sync allows you to sync unlimited files between your own devices, or share a folder with friends and family to automatically sync anything. File transfers are encrypted. Your information... Read more
Google Drive 1.20 - File backup and shar...
Google Drive is a place where you can create, share, collaborate, and keep all of your stuff. Whether you're working with a friend on a joint research project, planning a wedding with your fiancé, or... Read more
Simon 4.0.3 - Monitor changes and crashe...
Simon monitors websites and alerts you of crashes and changes. Select pages to monitor, choose your alert options, and customize your settings. Simon does the rest. Keep a watchful eye on your... Read more
Vitamin-R 2.23 - Personal productivity t...
Vitamin-R creates the optimal conditions for your brain to work at its best by structuring your work into short bursts of distraction-free, highly focused activity alternating with opportunities for... Read more
iDefrag 5.0.0 - Disk defragmentation and...
iDefrag helps defragment and optimize your disk for improved performance. Features include: Supports HFS and HFS+ (Mac OS Extended). Supports case sensitive and journaled filesystems. Supports... Read more
PCalc 4.2 - Full-featured scientific cal...
PCalc is a full-featured, scriptable scientific calculator with support for hexadecimal, octal, and binary calculations, as well as an RPN mode, programmable functions, and an extensive set of unit... Read more
FileZilla 3.10.2 - Fast and reliable FTP...
FileZilla (ported from Windows) is a fast and reliable FTP client and server with lots of useful features and an intuitive interface. Version 3.10.2: Note: Now requires a 64-bit Intel processor.... Read more

Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment A...
Warner Bros. has some exciting games coming down the pipe! | Read more »
GDC 2015 – Star Trek Timelines will Prob...
GDC 2015 – Star Trek Timelines will Probably Make Your Inner Trekkie Squeal With Glee Posted by Rob Rich on March 4th, 2015 [ permalink ] Any popular fictional universe has its fair share of fan fiction – where belo | Read more »
Protect Yourself from an Onslaught of Ca...
Surprise Attack Games has announced a Cat-astrophic new physics puzzler called Fort Meow! In the game, a young girl named Nia finds her grandfather’s journal which triggers an all mighty feline attack! Why do the cats want the journal? Who knows,... | Read more »
GDC 2015 – Jelly Reef will be Game Oven’...
GDC 2015 – Jelly Reef will be Game Oven’s Last Hurrah, and it Seems like a Good Note to Go Out on Posted by Rob Rich on March 4th, 2015 [ permalink ] It’s sad knowing that Game Oven ( | Read more »
daWindci Deluxe Review
daWindci Deluxe Review By Campbell Bird on March 4th, 2015 Our Rating: :: BLUSTERY PUZZLESUniversal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad This updated puzzle game offers some creative gameplay and new mechanics, but still suffers from... | Read more »
Dungeon Hunter 5 Coming on March 12
Gameloft has excitedly announced that Dungeon Hunter 5 is on its way! Once again, you will adventure across the land of Valenthia exploring dungeons and fighting monsters. The game will have a new asynchronous multiplayer mode called Strongholds... | Read more »
GDC 2015 – The Sandbox 2 is Coming, and...
GDC 2015 – The Sandbox 2 is Coming, and Now it has Textures! | Read more »
Warner Bros. Interactive Announces Mort...
Mortal Kombat X, by Warner Bros. and NetherRealm Studios, will be a a free-to-play fighting/card-battle Mortal Kombat game. The game promises card collecting, multiplayer team combat, classic characters such as Scorpion, Sub-Zero and Raiden, and the... | Read more »
GDC 2015 – Piloteer is Whitaker Trebella...
GDC 2015 – Piloteer is Whitaker Trebella’s Latest Project, and it’s Definitely Something DIfferent Posted by Rob Rich on March 3rd, 2015 [ permalink ] You know | Read more »
PangoLand Review
PangoLand Review By Amy Solomon on March 3rd, 2015 Our Rating: :: COME VISIT PANGO AND FRIENDSUniversal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad PangoLand is an open-ended world full of familiar characters, bright colors and interactive... | Read more »

Price Scanner via MacPrices.net

iPad: A More Positive Outlook – The ‘Book Mys...
It’s good to hear someone saying positive things about the iPad. I’ve been trying to bend my mind around how Apple’s tablet could have gone from zero to bestselling personal computing device on the... Read more
Mac Pros on sale for up to $279 off MSRP
Amazon has Mac Pros in stock and on sale for up to $279 off MSRP. Shipping is free: - 4-Core Mac Pro: $2725.87, $273 off MSRP (9%) - 6-Core Mac Pro: $3719.99, $279 off MSRP (7%) Read more
Sale! 13-inch Retina MacBook Pros for up to $...
B&H Photo has 13″ Retina MacBook Pros on sale for up to $205 off MSRP. Shipping is free, and B&H charges NY sales tax only: - 13″ 2.6GHz/128GB Retina MacBook Pro: $1219.99 save $80 - 13″ 2.... Read more
Another Tranche Of IBM MobileFirst For iOS Ap...
IBM has announced the next expansion phase for  its IBM MobileFirst for iOS portfolio, with a troika of new apps to address key priorities for the Banking and Financial Services, Airline and Retail... Read more
Sale! 15-inch Retina MacBook Pros for up to $...
B&H Photo has the new 2014 15″ Retina MacBook Pros on sale for up to $250 off MSRP for a limited time. Shipping is free, and B&H charges NY sales tax only: - 15″ 2.2GHz Retina MacBook Pro: $... Read more
WaterField Designs Introduces the Minimalist...
With Apple Pay gaining popularity, Android Pay coming in May 2015, and loyalty cards and receipts that can be accessed from smartphones, San Francisco’s WaterField Designs observes that it may be... Read more
Sale! 15-inch 2.2GHz Retina MacBook Pro for $...
 Best Buy has the 15″ 2.2GHz Retina MacBook Pro on sale for $1774.99 $1799.99, or $225 off MSRP. Choose free home shipping or free local store pickup (if available). Price valid for online orders... Read more
13-inch 2.5GHz MacBook Pro (refurbished) avai...
The Apple Store has Apple Certified Refurbished 13″ 2.5GHz MacBook Pros available for $170 off the cost of new models. Apple’s one-year warranty is standard, and shipping is free: - 13″ 2.5GHz... Read more
13-inch 2.5GHz MacBook Pro on sale for $100 o...
B&H Photo has the 13″ 2.5GHz MacBook Pro on sale for $999.99 including free shipping plus NY sales tax only. Their price is $100 off MSRP. Read more
27-inch 3.5GHz 5K iMac in stock today and on...
 B&H Photo has the 27″ 3.5GHz 5K iMac in stock today and on sale for $2299 including free shipping plus NY sales tax only. Their price is $200 off MSRP, and it’s the lowest price available for... Read more

Jobs Board

*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
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
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
*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* Pay Automation Engineer - iOS System...
**Job Summary** At Apple , great ideas have a way of becoming great products, services, and customer experiences very quickly. Bring passion and dedication to your job Read more
All contents are Copyright 1984-2011 by Xplain Corporation. All rights reserved. Theme designed by Icreon.