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Learning Cocoa Paperback – May 11, 2001

ISBN-13: 063-6920001607 ISBN-10: 0596001606 Edition: 1st

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: O'Reilly Media; 1 edition (May 11, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0596001606
  • ISBN-13: 978-0596001605
  • Product Dimensions: 7 x 0.8 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 2.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,889,990 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews Review

For Mac developers of all levels, Learning Cocoa provides an approachable guide to creating applications using Objective-C and the programming tools built into the new Mac OS X operating system. This efficiently packaged text will help virtually anyone master basic Mac application development.

Written by the experts at Apple Computer, Inc., this book sets an admirable standard of clarity for a basic programming tutorial. It begins with the fundamentals of object-oriented programming and Objective-C, the default language used for the Mac platform. Much of the book consists of hands-on exercises for creating a variety of simple Mac applications built on the Cocoa application framework (a rich set of classes that make it simple to create software). Learning Cocoa is not just a source of raw source code; rather, its salient feature is a series of step-by-step guides to working with Mac OS X tools like the Interface Builder and the built-in Apple IDE. From a simple "Hello, World" program and a currency converter to a "Travel Advisor" application (with information on three countries) and a "To Do" application, the book provides exercises that show you all the steps for creating software using a variety of tools.

The discussion of the user interface widgets that are available in the Mac OS X is excellent. You will learn how to design interfaces (which are saved to .nib files), and about the Model-View-Controller architecture recommended by Apple for designing reusable and flexible classes. Later in the book, the same classes are reused in a multiple-document version of the Travel Advisor program. Sample code for a custom widget that displays a calendar will show you how to build custom components.

Throughout this book, there's plenty of information on the nuts and bolts of building successful applications for the Mac OS X, especially memory and resource management. There're also plenty of diagrams and background on the architecture of using Cocoa application framework classes together to create software.

Even Mac beginners should benefit from this concise and well-presented text. It will have you writing simple applications fast, while giving you the latest on the classes and tools available on the newest Mac OS X. --Richard Dragan

Topics covered:

  • Overview of the Cocoa framework for Mac OS X
  • Object-oriented programming tutorial
  • Objective-C language quick start
  • Mac application development tools (including Project Builder, Interface Builder, and command-line tools)
  • A "Hello, World" application in Cocoa
  • Fundamental Cocoa classes (including collections and controls)
  • Memory and resource management in Cocoa
  • A "Currency Converter" application (including basic GUI programming with Cocoa components)
  • Event-handling basics
  • Using table views and data sources
  • Persistence and "flattening" Cocoa objects
  • A "Travel Advisor" sample application (including the Model-View-Controller architecture)
  • The Cocoa Multiple-Document Architecture
  • A "To Do" scheduling application (including a custom calendar component and timers)
  • Deployment in Cocoa (application settings, icons, and document types)
  • Compiler optimization in Cocoa
  • Reference for basic graphics in Cocoa

From Library Journal

New Macintosh computers are already shipping with the updated Mac operating system, OS X. At its core are a pair of foundation libraries, Carbon and Cocoa, that ease and speed the development of new Mac applications. Apple staff wrote both books, which is good and bad. On one hand, readers know that the information is coming straight from the source, but too often publisher-penned books lack objectivity. Learning Cocoa introduces OS X's new programming aspects, e.g., Aqua, the "liquid" interface, through a series of basic programming projects. Learning Carbon provides much of the same type of information for the application program interface, also at a basic level. If your library serves a large number of Mac and student programmers, these are good tutorials to have on the shelf. But many members of those audiences have probably accessed the same information for free at
Copyright 2001 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Customer Reviews

Examples are very easy to follow.
This is the only computer book I have ever purchased whose pages began to fall out within hours of its arrival.
A. Hardesty
Quite literally this is a bunch of documentation you can download from Apple's site bound in a book.
A. W. Crawford

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Joe Walsh on May 30, 2002
Format: Paperback
The first few chapters are useful for learning the basics of Cocoa, but the last half of the book was written with the mistaken philosophy that people learn to code best by typing in lots of huge examples with almost no explanation.
If you want to learn Objective-C and Cocoa (and you already know C), go to Vervante and get "The Objective-C Programming Language" (a print-on-demand book by Apple). Once you've finished with that, you might want to go through the first half of this book - but get a used copy if you can. Or borrow one!
The best book out so far is Aaron Hillegass' "Cocoa Programming for Mac OS X". While it doesn't cover every topic in great depth, it is sufficient to get you started.
From there, stick to Apple's free documentation (included with the developer tools) and searches of the cocoa-dev mailing list (hosted by Apple). Don't bother with O'Reilly's "Building Cocoa Applications," unless you have time and money to burn.
Maybe some good Cocoa books will come out later this year, but for now Aaron's and the Vervante/print-on-demand one are about it.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Gorkem Ozcelebi on January 13, 2002
Format: Paperback
I am surprised O'REILLY published such a weak book. To keep it short, it is one of those "click here, click there, you are done!" kind of books. I doesn't go much deeper than the Cocoa tutorials on Apple's developer site.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By mindlube on June 8, 2001
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Excellent. This book has just the right doses of tips and tricks, distilled wisdom of the NextStep way, "best practice" Objective-C concepts, solid examples and brevity. If you have been scouring the Cocoa online APIs,, omni lists, etc., but wishing for more then this book with deliver for you. The diagrams and screen shots are first rate, as is the editing. Examples are very easy to follow. My only complaint is I wish there were sections on printing, threading, services, and other Cocoa topics. Of course they can't cover all the APIs. Hopefully some of these will appear in an "advanced" Cocoa book from O'Reilly.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Chris Wong on June 24, 2001
Format: Paperback
I know right off the bat that this book is a beginner book as are all "learning" series from Oreiley. I'm an experienced programmer with prior experience in NeXTSTEP. So, judging from a beginner's point of view, the "object-oriented programming" chapter is very clear and concise, right to the point. The "Objective-C primer" chapter might need a little bit more work. For a C/C++/Java programmer, it should be easy to read, but it lacks some essential information on some of the syntax.
From an experienced programmer's point of view, this book is too basic although it does give you a good introduction on how to use the tools.
The whole book is pretty much a tutorial. Personally, I think the step-by-step instruction is just way too much. The instructions are usually duplicated in a lot of chapters. You figure that the author should have omitted the basic instructions in the later chapters, but he doesn't.
Anyhow, this is still a good book for beginner. I'd like to see "Programming in Cocoa" come out soon though...
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Evan DiBiase on December 6, 2001
Format: Paperback
I bought Learning Cocoa because I assumed, being written by Apple and published by O'Reilly, that it had to be good. Unfortunately, I was rather disappointed.
The book begins with a fairly weak introduction to Objective-C and Cocoa, and then launches into telling you what lines to pound in to Project Builder and what buttons to click in Interface Builder in order to compile programs that Apple has written. While these "tutorials" provide no real room for guided independent development, they do have some worth for learning good Cocoa development procedures and for getting in to the habit of writing Cocoa code.
All in all, Learning Cocoa didn't advance my knowledge very far, and I don't see myself counting on it as a reference at any point in the future. I'd stay away from this one unless you're a Cocoa book collector or something odd like that.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Redwood Tree on November 18, 2001
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book will give you a great introduction to Cocoa but don't expect to walk away with a mastery of the topic. The folks at Apple have taken their many on-line examples and documentaiton and essentially wrapped it in a pretty and more edited format (less errors than on-line version).
There's almost nothing in this book that you can not find on-line, but this book does a great job at organizing. I was a bit bummed that the high quality found in other O'Reilley books was not present here, but in general I like the idea of collaboration between Apple and O'Reilley. In another time, in another place this book would have been the standard documentation that came along with the Developer Tools but in this age when we download everything maybe that can't be expected.
In bottom line, this is a well edited, well put together book. It will teach you Project Builder and many aspects of developing with Cocoa. However, it's only an introduction.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Richard A Rosenlev on November 20, 2001
Format: Paperback
This book is a fantastic introduction to the world of programming in Apple's OSX native language, objective-C, and the Cocoa frameworks.
It is not a beginners programing guide in that you need to have command of C programing, an understanding of object oriented programing and frameworks, and to a lesser extent some knowledge of the Unix tool concepts (although you can get by with out this for a while). It is very helpful if you have experience with makefiles and the GNU cc, linker and GDB.
That said, I think that a beginners can write quite astounding programs in a short time with just the book and the knowledge of C programming and data structures.
My experience was that this book was an easy read BUT I have about 20 years of C programing (more in other languages) and extensive experience with Think C and code warrior and their frameworks. I am very competent in Unix programming.
One reviewer complained that most of the book can be found on-line. This is partly true but you have to look in a lot of places to find it AND the flow and introduction of subjects makes reading the book that much easier. You will need this material in any case since it presents the meat to support this books intro. You'll find the material on the Developement cd or on apples website
I give this book two thumps up and a must have for anyone new to Cocoa programming.
Richard Rosenlev
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