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Cocoa Programming Developer's Handbook [Paperback]

David Chisnall
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)

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Book Description

January 8, 2010 0321639634 978-0321639639 1

The Cocoa programming environment—Apple’s powerful set of clean, object-oriented APIs—is increasingly becoming the basis of almost all contemporary Mac OS X development. With its long history of constant refinement and improvement, Cocoa has matured into a sophisticated programming environment that can make Mac OS X application development quick, efficient, and even fun.


Yet for all its refined elegance and ease of use, the staggering size of the Cocoa family of APIs and the vast magnitude of the official documentation can be intimidating to even seasoned programmers.


To help Mac OS X developers sort through and begin to put to practical use Cocoa’s vast array of tools and technologies, Cocoa Programming Developer’s Handbook provides a guided tour of the Cocoa APIs found on Mac OS X, thoroughly discussing—and showing in action—Cocoa’s core frameworks and other vital components, as well as calling attention to some of the more interesting but often overlooked parts of the APIs and tools. 


This book provides expert insight into a wide range of key topics, from user interface design to network programming and performance tuning.

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

David Chisnall has in-depth knowledge of Cocoa as both an implementer and a developer. He is an active contributor to the GNUstep project, which provides an open source implementation of the Cocoa APIs, and cofounded the Étoilé project to build a desktop environment atop GNUstep. He has created a new Objective-C runtime library, worked on Objective-C support in the clang compiler, and published papers on Objective-C. He wrote a popular series of articles on Objective-C and Cocoa for and is the author of The Definitive Guide to the Xen Hypervisor (Addison-Wesley, 2008).

Product Details

  • Paperback: 936 pages
  • Publisher: Addison-Wesley Professional; 1 edition (January 8, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0321639634
  • ISBN-13: 978-0321639639
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 7.1 x 1.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.8 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,108,885 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
39 of 39 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Good introduction for non-Mac programmers February 25, 2010
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I have a pretty solid background of C on unix and bare-metal embedded systems but I'm very new to Mac OS X; you should take that into account when you read the review.

The book has a distinct feel that it was written with the C programmer in mind. The book tells you all about the Objective-C messaging and objects but it keeps emphasising that Objective-C is not a substitute but an addition to C. If you read the book "Cocoa Programming for Mac OS X" by Aaron Hillegass you can very easily put together simple applications using XCode. However, if you have a deeply entrenched C background, you will feel lost a bit, because you don't know what's going on. Now this book tells you exactly that. It explains all the major Cocoa classes and the messaging but does it in a way that makes sense with a purely C background.

There are a couple of typographic errors in the book that are rather distracting. Code listings are line numbered and the text refers to the line numbers when it explains the workings of the code. The problem is, the numbers do not always match. You may have a listing of lines 1 to 20 and the text pointing out the clever trick used in lines 76 and 80. The code that the text refers to is all there, it's just the line numbers that are wrong. Obviously, when the text was written the author had a longer piece of code and later decided to remove all unimportant lines before the function in question, but forgot to update the references. At a few places the text simply doesn't make sense, apparently the author decided to rephrase a couple of consecutive sentences and haven't finished it. As expected, you have half-finished sentences, not forming a logical chain of thought.

Nevertheless, those problems are not show-stoppers.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
By Trav
Format:DVD-ROM|Verified Purchase
This is one of the best books that I have read on Objective-C because it actually informs the reader of what is going on behind the scene's. I will say that this book takes more of a Computer Science approach to the language than a programming approach, so anyone that is reading it to learn the language may want to read something a little more elementary first and come back to this once they've written some applications and become more familiar with the language (I suggest Cocoa and Objective-C: Up and running which is simple enough for any student to understand). This is an amazing textbook for anyone studying or working in Computer Science.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good additional reference December 15, 2012
By Doug
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
There is a lot of information in this book, it is sometimes difficult to follow. As a relative newcomer to Cocoa (and OS X and Objective-C) I frequently know what I want to do and which widget/class to use but I find myself caught up on the exact details of how to use it. Most of the books (e.g. Cocoa programming for Mac OS X by Hillegass) are either too simplistic or too complex. This one is closer to the complex side. Having said that, I find it useful simply because its one more book to consult on a topic and between all of the books and the web I eventually figure out what I'm trying to do (unfortunately it may take many long days).

After I've figured it out, its always much easier to read this book, i.e. once you know how to do something the passages about that something seem much clearer. I haven't found a Cocoa reference that is both easy to follow and has sufficient depth to help me through the learning curve.

The index is terrible; having read the book cover-to-cover I find myself working on some piece of code, remembering it being mentioned in the book but totally unable to find the reference because the index is so poor. I guess this is an argument for buying the eBook version (you can always do a search in an eBook however you may get loads of inappropriate hits) A good index would be much better.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very well done January 23, 2012
This is a very good book if you are scientifically inclined. One of my pet peeves with Apple's documentation is that it tends to be heavy on API details and code snippets but does not clearly explain how the technology actually works. It seems that many CS authors have confused Data Hiding with Knowledge Hiding, and never take the pain to explain anything in detail. Don't get me wrong, I'm all for Data Hiding as a software-management technique, but please don't hide conceptual details-- without that, it becomes extremely hard to reason about the correctness or performance of the program. (For example, Apple's Core Data documentation keeps rambling: "you will normally not need to do XYZ so we are not going to explain what we are doing." (e.g., how does Core Data manages memory internally, and why are there two set of KVC methods, such as valueForKey: and primitiveValueForKey, and under what circumstances does the framework call which set of methods. Well after spending some quality time with DTrace, you can figure it all out, but the reason people read books and documentation is so that they don't need to spend time running DTrace and IDA Pro.)

What's nice about this book is its emphasis on conceptual details. In particular, the chapters related to Objective-C (and Obj-C runtime) alone are worth every penny. Also, the book tries to tie together a lot of different things which you will need while building an application. Normally, this kind of knowledge is hard to get unless you have worked with a team of software engineers (I'm a research scientist, so I never had this opportunity, but I have learned enough from this book that I can build a full fledged Cocoa application).
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