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

Latest Forum Discussions

See All

Can PokeMatch help you find love with Po...
The unofficial Pokemon GO companion app space has exploded almost as fast as the game itself over the last few weeks. Aspiring app developers, many of them working solo, have given us apps that locate Pokemon, keep track of the server status, and... | Read more »
How to get started with Prisma
If there's one thing people like to do more than taking pictures with their smartphones, it's tinkering with those photos in some way. Numerous apps have sprung up over the last several years that allow you to use filters and special effects to... | Read more »
6 Pokemon GO updates you can expect, acc...
Pokemon GO had a scheduled appearance at this year's San Diego Comic-Con for a while, but it was only relatively close to the show that it was upgraded to a spot in Hall H. That's the biggest venue at SDCC, one usually reserved for the largest... | Read more »
How to evolve Eevee in Pokemon GO
By now, almost everyone should be hip to how to evolve Pokemon in Pokemon GO (and if not, there's a guide for that). Just gather enough candy of the appropriate type, feed them all to the Pokemon, and evolution happens. It's a miracle that would... | Read more »
CSR Racing 2: Guide to all game modes
It might not seem like there are all that many ways to go fast in a straight line, but CSR Racing 2 begs to differ. [Read more] | Read more »
Bulb Boy (Games)
Bulb Boy 1.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $2.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: Multi-award winning 2D point & click horror adventure about a boy with a glowing head. | Read more »
5 top free emoji keyboard apps
If we're not at peak emoji yet as a society, it feels like we definitely should be. The emoji concept has gone far beyond what anyone in Japan could have envisioned when the people there unleashed it on an unsuspecting world, but the West has... | Read more »
How to unlock more characters in Disney...
One of the big charms of Disney Emoji Blitz is seeing a wide variety of beloved Disney and Pixar characters transformed into smiling emojis. Even someone like the sneaky Randall from Monsters Inc., who probably never cracked a smile on film, is... | Read more »
Cubway (Games)
Cubway 1.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $1.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: Cubway is a journey with an abstract story of lifecycle of rebirth, called Samsara. Guide the cube through the long way full of dangers... | Read more »
Colorcube (Games)
Colorcube 1.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $1.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: Turn pieces and blend colours in this minimal yet visually stunning puzzler.Over 200 handcrafted and challenging levels. Features... | Read more »

Price Scanner via MacPrices.net

Clearance 12-inch Retina MacBooks, Apple refu...
Apple has Certified Refurbished 2015 12″ Retina MacBooks available starting at $929. Apple will include a standard one-year warranty with each MacBook, and shipping is free. The following... Read more
13-inch Retina MacBook Pros on sale for up to...
B&H Photo has 13″ Retina MacBook Pros on sale for up to $150 off MSRP. Shipping is free, and B&H charges NY tax only: - 13″ 2.7GHz/128GB Retina MacBook Pro: $1199 $100 off MSRP - 13″ 2.7GHz/... Read more
13-inch 1.6GHz/128GB MacBook Air on sale for...
Amazon has the 13″ 1.6GHz/128GB MacBook Air on sale for $200 off MSRP for a limited time. Shipping is free: - 13″ 1.6GHz/128GB MacBook Air (sku MMGF2LL/A): $799.99 $200 off MSRP Their price is the... Read more
13-inch 1.6GHz/256GB MacBook Air on sale for...
Amazon has the 13″ 1.6GHz/256GB MacBook Air on sale for $200 off MSRP for a limited time. Shipping is free: - 13″ 1.6GHz/256GB MacBook Air (sku MMGG2LL/A): $999.99 $200 off MSRP Their price is the... Read more
Free iOS Business App notably* Helps Service...
PayStudio Inc. has introduced their new business app notably* 1.0, developed for iPhone and iPod touch. notably* was specifically developed to help service and trade professionals go digital and... Read more
27-inch iMacs on sale for $200 off MSRP
Amazon has 27″ iMacs on sale for $200 off MSRP including free shipping: - 27″ 3.3GHz iMac 5K: $2099 $200 off MSRP - 27″ 3.2GHz/1TB Fusion iMac 5K: $1799.99 $200 off MSRP - 27″ 3.2GHz/1TB HD iMac 5K... Read more
Mac Pros on sale for $200 off MSRP
B&H Photo has Mac Pros on sale for $200 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: $3799, $200... Read more
Save up to $600 with Apple refurbished Mac Pr...
Apple has 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 following... Read more
Apple price trackers, updated continuously
Scan our Apple Price Trackers for the latest information on sales, bundles, and availability on systems from Apple’s authorized internet/catalog resellers. We update the trackers continuously: - 15″... Read more
13-inch 2.5GHz MacBook Pro (Apple refurbished...
Apple has 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″ 2.5GHz MacBook Pros... Read more

Jobs Board

*Apple* Retail - Multiple Positions, Willow...
Job Description:SalesSpecialist - Retail Customer Service and SalesTransform Apple Store visitors into loyal Apple customers. When customers enter the store, Read more
*Apple* Evangelist - JAMF Software (United S...
The Apple Evangelist is responsible for building and cultivating strategic relationships with Apple 's small and mid-market business development field teams. This Read more
*Apple* Solutions Consultant - APPLE (United...
Job Summary As an Apple Solutions Consultant, you'll be the link between our future customers and our products. You'll showcase your entrepreneurial spirit as you Read more
*Apple* Professional Learning Specialist - A...
Job Summary The Apple Professional Learning Specialist is a full-time position for one year with Apple in the Phoenix, AZ area. This position requires a high Read more
*Apple* Picker - Apple Hill Orchard (United...
Apple Hill Orchard, Co. Rte. 21,Whitehall, NY 9/7/16-10/228/16. Pick fresh market or processing apples Productivity of 60 boxes and 80 boxes processing fruit per Read more
All contents are Copyright 1984-2011 by Xplain Corporation. All rights reserved. Theme designed by Icreon.