Most helpful positive review
155 of 161 people found the following review helpful
Not Perfect, But Highly Recommended
on February 23, 2002
This was the book I had been waiting for, or at least ONE OF the books I had been waiting for, to really get started with Cocoa programming. The O'Reilly book, as has been mentioned plenty of times here, leaves a lot to be desired, and while it was better than nothing, a wall still remained between me and Cocoa after finishing it.
After reading Cocoa Programming for OS X, I feel I can say I "get" Cocoa finally. That's not to say I'm an expert, but that I can complete a simple program now, on my own, using the Cocoa frameworks and concepts. As Aaron says in the book, learing the Cocoa APIs will take much longer. I come from a Java background, with only marginal C and C++ experience. Although Aaron does not speak much about the objective-c language itself, that's ok. Apple's PDF is more than adequate to get that background.
There are some things that get glossed over that I wish had been more fully explained, and some things left out altogether that I would have liked to see, such as:
-- Spawning and managing multiple threads, thread safety issues
-- exception handling, debugging and assertions
-- Cocoa "primitive" objects (NSPoint, NSRect, NSRange, etc.), why they apparently don't need to be retained or released, and why they are "NS" objects but don't really behave like them.
-- Calling Toolbox routines or those from APIs that have not yet been "Cocoa-ized" (and integrating the Old Way into the Cocoa Way), with examples. Cocoa is nice but once you get away from building a text editor, you will need to dig into this ugly and unfriendly world at some point (unfortunately). For instance, how do I access the Airport card, how do I open and use a network socket, how can I read a DV-encoded stream from a FireWirePort and save it to disk as a QuickTime movie, how do I access a database, how do I use an OpenGL view?
-- How to customize Cocoa UI elements. Like if I wanted an NSSlider with TWO sliders, a minimum and a maximum. There is an example of subclassing an NSView in the book, but that's just a drawing panel.
To be fair, I'm not really criticizing Aaron for these things. The book has plenty of useful stuff, and I'm sure Aaron wants to write and sell more books, so some advanced Cocoa books that address some of these things as well as others will be welcome...I hope someone is writing them right now. I also hope someone is writing a comprehensive Cocoa API reference, as Apple's is somewhat lacking (Have you seen the phrase "Description Forthcoming" more times than you care to remember? I thought so.)
The bottom line is that this is a great book that is a must-have for anyone interested in Cocoa programming. I'd probably rate it four or four-and-a-half stars, but I'm giving it five for being there when I needed it, and being the first really useful book on the subject. The best thing I can say about it is that I can now do things there is simply no way I could have before.