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Cocoa Programming for Mac OS X [Paperback]

Aaron Hillegass , Adam Preble
4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
RRP: 31.99
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Book Description

9 Nov 2011 0321774086 978-0321774088 4

The best-selling introduction to Cocoa, once again updated to cover the latest Mac programming technologies, and still enthusiastically recommended by experienced Mac OS X developers. 

“Cocoa® Programming for Mac® OS X is considered by most to be the de-facto intro-to-OS X programming text.”

—Bob Rudis, the Apple Blog


“I would highly recommend this title to anyone interested in Mac development. Even if you own the previous edition, I think you’ll find the new and revised content well worth the price.”

—Bob McCune, 

If you’re developing applications for Mac OS X, Cocoa® Programming for Mac® OS X, Fourth Edition, is the book you’ve been waiting to get your hands on. If you’re new to the Mac environment, it’s probably the book you’ve been told to read first.


Covering the bulk of what you need to know to develop full-featured applications for OS X, written in an engaging tutorial style, and thoroughly class-tested to assure clarity and accuracy, it is an invaluable resource for any Mac programmer. Specifically, Aaron Hillegass and Adam Preble introduce the two most commonly used Mac developer tools: Xcode and Instruments. They also cover the Objective-C language and the major design patterns of Cocoa. Aaron and Adam illustrate their explanations with exemplary code, written in the idioms of the Cocoa community, to show you how Mac programs should be written. After reading this book, you will know enough to understand and utilize Apple’s online documentation for your own unique needs. And you will know enough to write your own stylish code.


Updated for Mac OS X 10.6 and 10.7, this fourth edition includes coverage of Xcode 4, blocks, view-based table views, Apple’s new approach to memory management (Automatic Reference Counting), and the Mac App Store. This edition adds a new chapter on concurrency and expands coverage of Core Animation. The book now devotes a full chapter to the basics of iOS development.

Frequently Bought Together

Cocoa Programming for Mac OS X + Objective-C Programming: The Big Nerd Ranch Guide (Big Nerd Ranch Guides) + iOS Programming: The Big Nerd Ranch Guide (Big Nerd Ranch Guides)
Price For All Three: 74.17

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Product details

  • Paperback: 491 pages
  • Publisher: Addison Wesley; 4 edition (9 Nov 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0321774086
  • ISBN-13: 978-0321774088
  • Product Dimensions: 23 x 18 x 2.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 26,958 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

More About the Author

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Product Description

About the Author

Aaron Hillegass, who worked at NeXT and Apple, now teaches popular Cocoa programming classes at Big Nerd Ranch. At NeXT, he wrote the first course on OpenStep, the predecessor to today’s Cocoa tools. This book is based on the big Nerd Ranch course and is influenced by more than a decade of work with OpenStep and Cocoa.


Adam Preble learned Cocoa programming from the first edition of this book. After too many years of professional C/C++ development, today Adam writes Mac and iOS applications at Big Nerd Ranch, where he is also a Cocoa instructor. He is frequently filling in the gaps between work and family time with pinball machine software development and countless other projects.

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
Cocoa and MacOS X deserves to be out there as a development environment of choice to the discerning programmer and user. The biggest obstacle is Apple's own technical documentation, bless them! It is dry and uninviting, just the thing to turn new developers away from such an elegant and advanced operating system.
Now, at last, we have a text book that can reverse the tide. Aaron Hillegass brings the skill of the teacher to this subject. He teaches Cocoa programmers at the "Big Nerd Ranch" in the States, but don't let that discourage you!
The author knows how to put ideas across and at what point to bring in new topics. Tricky topics such as the retain and release mechanism, normally baffling to those new to Objective-C, are revealed as the easy topic they are.
This book for the first time brings out the true purpose of Cocoa, that is to make putting programs together easy, so that you can concentrate on your program, and not have to worry about ordinary housekeeping.
I think this will become the definitive work, that evey aspiring Cocoa programmer will need to read.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A programming book that doesn't put you to sleep 27 Nov 2003
I've just finished reading "Cocoa Programming for Mac OS X" and have to say its amongst the best programming books I've ever read. It's aimed at people with C or Java experience who are new to objective C and Cocoa. The author demonstrates his skills as a teacher by delivering information in a progressive and easily digested manner. He begins by introducing the language and tools with a basic random number generator application and then builds on this with a number of tutorial applications. Topics covered include localisation, custom views, mouse and key events, fonts, images, printing, cut and paste, drag and drop, timers, sheets, printing, and creating your own Interface Builder Palates and controls. Cocoa is vast but this serves as an excellent starting block, covering the essentials and tasters required to progress deeper. Its very easy and enjoyable to read with challenges at the end of each chapter to help solidify your understanding. I read it from cover to cover which is unusual for me with a programming book.
I've been using OS X 10.3 which has had changes to the development tools since the book was written For example Project Builder is now called XCode, has code completion facilities and some of the menus have moved. However this didn't prove to be a problem and differences were rather obvious.
Can't really recommend it any higher!
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
As a student currently finishing a MSc in Computer Science and dreaming on someday working for Apple, I dived into Cocoa as soon as MacOS X came out officialy. From all the books out there in Cocoa Programming, this has been by far the best. It is written in an extremely familiar tone, and as long as you already have experience in C, or better yet C++, you'll be happy to be developing Cocoa applications easily.
I am really excited about such a powerful set of frameworks, but with the lack of documentation from Apple it is really necessary to have a good book such as this one by hand.
Great stuff really! Overall, best book in Cocoa programming! BUY IT NOW! :)
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Exemplary! 13 Jun 2002
We know three things about Aaron Hillegass: he has had many years' experience with OpenStep/Cocoa; he is a professional trainer; he wears a big hat. All these things show through in this book: it is technically sound; clearly presented; humorous. All programming books should be like this.
The book is written for programmers who already know C++ or Java... I don't. (Although I have about 20 years experience in programing with BASIC, FORTRAN, S/360 Assembler, COBOL, REXX, ... I'm new to OOP.) Nevertheless, I found the book and example projects easy to follow and understand. The challenges (Aaron's term for what others might call exercises) are often challenging... but Aaron makes no bones about it: learning a new programming language can be hard. (Even for those with degrees in astrophysics from CalTech... read Chapter 1.)
The book is well supported by a web page at Big Nerd Ranch, with errata, solutions to those challenges, etc. (Even better, the BNR web site has some downloadable example projects and full-blown open-source Cocoa applications, such as BigShow, an XML-based MS PowerPoint alternative.)
All in all, it is inspirational. It makes me wish I was a professional programmer again. Well, just maybe...
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