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

Black Hole Joyrider (Games)
Black Hole Joyrider 1.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $2.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: Guide your spacecraft through the gravity well of a powerful black hole using only your retro-thrusters and dwindling fuel... | Read more »
My Koi (Games)
My Koi 1.0 Device: iOS iPhone Category: Games Price: $1.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: My Koi is a beautiful and relaxing fish pond app. Customise and name each fish. Feed them daily. Watch them grow. Collect new fish.... | Read more »
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 »

Price Scanner via MacPrices.net

12-inch 128GB iPad Pros on sale for up to $10...
B&H Photo has 12″ 128GB WiFi iPad Pros on sale for up to $100 off MSRP, each including free shipping. B&H charges sales tax in NY only: - 12″ Space Gray 128GB WiFi iPad Pro: $899 $50 off MSRP... Read more
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

Jobs Board

*Apple* Retail - Multiple Positions (US) - A...
Job Description: Sales Specialist - Retail Customer Service and Sales Transform Apple Store visitors into loyal Apple customers. When customers enter the store, 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
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
All contents are Copyright 1984-2011 by Xplain Corporation. All rights reserved. Theme designed by Icreon.