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Objective-C Programming: The Big Nerd Ranch Guide (Big Nerd Ranch Guides) 1st Edition

4.5 out of 5 stars 169 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0321706287
ISBN-10: 0321706285
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Editorial Reviews

From the Back Cover

Want to write applications for iOS or the Mac? ¿This introduction to programming and the Objective-C language is the first step on your journey from someone who uses apps to someone who writes them.

Based on Big Nerd Ranch's legendary Objective-C Bootcamp,¿this book covers C, Objective-C, and the common programming idioms that enable developers to make the most of Apple technologies.

This is the only introductory-level book written by Aaron Hillegass, one of the most experienced and authoritative voices in the iOS and Cocoa community.

Compatible with Xcode 4.2, iOS 5, and Mac OS X 10.7 (Lion), this guide features short chapters and engaging style to keep you motivated and moving forward. At the same time, Aaron's determination that you understand what you're doing—or at least why you're doing it—encourages you to think critically as a programmer.

Here are some of the topics covered:

  • Programming basics: variables, loops, functions, etc.
  • Objects, classes, methods, and messages
  • Pointers, addresses, and memory management
  • Using Xcode, Apple's documentation, and other tools
  • Classes from the Foundation framework
  • ARC and retain cycles
  • Properties
  • Blocks
  • Categories
  • Delegation, target-action, and notification design patterns

About the Author

Aaron Hillegass, a former employee at NeXT and Apple, has nearly two decades experience programming and teaching Objective-C, Cocoa, and, more recently, iOS. Aaron is the author of Cocoa Programming for Mac OS X and co-author of iOS Programming: The Big Nerd Ranch Guide. Both best-sellers, these books have helped many people develop and enhance their programming skills. In 2001, Aaron founded Big Nerd Ranch and began developing intensive courses that teach programming in a focused, distraction-free environment. He is currently working on site plans and blueprints for the new Ranch to be located in Atlanta, GA.

Big Nerd Ranch is a unique software engineering and training company where monastic principles drive technological development. Since 2001, the company has been helping students master programming languages through public enrollment bootcamps, private corporate on-site training, and a growing roster of programming books. Big Nerd Ranch offers consultative services to a broad array of clients, shaping their mobile strategies and developing fresh and engaging mobile and desktop applications.


Product Details

  • Series: Big Nerd Ranch Guides
  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Big Nerd Ranch Guides; 1 edition (October 28, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0321706285
  • ISBN-13: 978-0321706287
  • Product Dimensions: 7 x 0.8 x 9.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (169 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #493,142 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By peg2 on November 27, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
From time to time, I'll think, gee, I have this great idea for an iPad/iPhone/Mac app, and I'll fiddle around with Xcode. I'll get absolutely nowhere, despite 30+ years in the software business. (Before you laugh at this, try to figure out Xcode with no experience in Objective C. For that matter, try to figure out Objective C by reading Apple developer docs. I know they try, but they sure don't make it easy.) I bought book after book, and still got nowhere.

Then I happened on the iOS 5 Developer Cookbook. One of the first pages in that book has a flowchart that goes like this:
1) Do you know C? no - learn C, and they show an appropriate book.
2) Do you know Objective C? no - learn Objective C. They show two books for that, and this is one of them.
The chart goes on with books on Xcode and iOS.

So I picked up this book. At first I thought, uh oh, this might have been a waste of money, since there's a pretty big section on basic C skills in the beginning. (Having been writing C more or less since the late '70s, I felt pretty safe in skipping those chapters.)

Then... pay dirt! I'm about halfway through the remaining Objective C part of the book. Objective C can be pretty confusing, even to someone who's been doing OO for several years. Mr. Hillegass does not disappoint - as with other Big Nerd Ranch books, the subject is presented in a clear, understandable, sometimes even beautiful way. I find myself thinking, If only I'd started my OO days with training like this, I might have liked it better.

I think this time around, once I finish one or two more of these books, I might actually get that great app coded, tested, and into the App Store. This book is a great place to start.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I must say that as a retired programmer who came from the PC world (via mini's prior to that) I was surprised at how much I could not grasp Objective-C. Granted, the last C/C++ code I had written was some 15 years ago, but really how hard could it be to grasp a new syntax? Was I ever in for a surprise!

After taking the smart move to start using Apple products in 2009 I got bitten by the bug to write some software to support a hobby, maybe even sell it if I could get it to work. I started programming computers in 1968 (no minis or PCs then) and kept up (more or less) until 2000, so this should be fairly easy. After all, Apple gives away the developer tools and provides a massive amount of guidance... well, okay maybe I need some hand holding here. I tried another highly recommended book and indeed it did clear up some of the confusion but I was still left somewhat adrift. I thought to myself, I need a book on Cocoa programming, and besides, it seemed as if Apple was changing the tools, operating system, etc.; every time I seemed to start to get a handle what was going on, another change happened.

I saw that Aaron Hillegass seemed like the "go to" author for folks wanting to understand Cocoa and he had a 4th edition of his Cocoa Programming book coming out shortly covering all the changes in the tools, operating system, etc. So I pre-ordered it and while I was here at Amazon and poking around I saw that he had a newer edition of his Objective-C Programming (this book) and it was on Kindle for a reasonable price. Since I had to wait for the Cocoa book I bought it and downloaded it.

Let me say that if you know nothing of programming, this book will give you the tools to begin to understand what is going on.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
My intent is for this to be a living review. I'm not all the way through this book yet. I hope that doesn't make any of you think of this review as less than helpful.

I have no real programming experience other than things I'd call "scripting". Bash, perl, ruby... shell stuff, mostly. It's easy to read the writing on the wall and see the future is a mobile one. That made me want to learn how to program for iOS. Like Hillegass mentions in the beginning... all of his other books that users rave about are for experienced programmers.

Having been through other tutorials on learning languages that weren't as well written, this one is a breath of fresh air. He writes well and explains his points well. I even found a small error which doesn't discourage me about the quality of the book, it actually *encourages* me... because I've learned enough in what I've read so far (I am in Chapter 10, right now) to be able to discover it for myself.

The analogies Aaron is using to communicate the technical concepts make sense. He doesn't waste time either. Like he said in the first part of this book, don't expect this to be an easy read. It's not. That said, I'm learning... and it's making sense. I think if you're serious about your desire to learn Objective-C and developing for Apple stuff, you'd do well do go through *ALL* the exercises in this book as well as the end-of-chapter challenges. He wants to make you think and go beyond just the material that he's covering in the chapter.

Not only that, but he's helping you learn about the libraries that come with the languages, as well as the development tool (Xcode). I like where this book is taking me and I'd definitely recommend it to others wanting to learn Apple development!
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