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Beginning Mac Programming (Pragmatic Programmers) Paperback – 5 Apr 2010

4.3 out of 5 stars 4 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Pragmatic Bookshelf; 1 edition (5 April 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1934356514
  • ISBN-13: 978-1934356517
  • Product Dimensions: 19 x 2 x 22.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,074,704 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

About the Author

Tim Isted has been writing software for Macintosh computers since 1995. He also builds web applications using Ruby on Rails, PHP, and .NET, and has been known to develop for Windows machines, too. He blogs on Core Data at, and is currently co-organizing NSConference, a conference for Mac developers.

Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Tim did his best, but this book was already outdated by the time I started hitting my Xcode application, and frankly I am amazed that anything gets coded on OS X at all! The Xcode tool itself is incredibly flakey, Objective-C is an absolute nightmare to get your head around (I have 20 years plus programming experience in multiple languages, of which the standard C was my first, so I speak with some authority) and so it's an uphill battle attempting to introduce this spaghetti-like mess to a complete novice.

To a certain extent Apple seem to have taken this on board, and have introduced the Swift programming language as a far easier and approachable tool within the Xcode set, however the last I saw of it (before I sold the last of my Macs and gave the entire Apple experience up as a bad job) Swift was still incredibly buggy and the source of a great deal of consternation amongst the Apple coding set.

My advice? Steer clear. If you are looking for a language to learn, look at either web-based languages (PHP seems to have had its day, by the way) or big data languages - that would be my money for the next 5-10 years, at least. This is already heading down the pan fast - don't be the first back on to a sinking ship!
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Format: Paperback
Having zero programming experience myself I have always been apprehensive of books claiming to be for "total beginners." Suffice to say this books puts all those fears to rest. It starts off with an introduction to Xcode itself and gently eases you into making use of the GUI. Within minutes you have your very simplistic first ever text program completed. From there book moves into more complex notions but does so at a gentle - rather than exponential - pace.

I highly recommend this to anyone wanting to learn about programming on a Mac (for apps etc) from a complete beginner's background. Use this book as a 'work whilst you read' textbook and you'll be tinkering with code soon enough. It is challenging to learn from scratch, but very worthwhile in my opinion.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Just a programming book for me.

Starting on my level, hope I've will be able to program in the end.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book has been written just for me: no programming experience is required.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) HASH(0x8bf0b774) out of 5 stars 31 reviews
26 of 26 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x8b9681d4) out of 5 stars If you want to learn iPhone or Mac Programming, start here. 10 May 2010
By F. Anderson - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I have been developing web sites for many years. I have worked with HTML, XHTML, CSS, Flash, PHP, MySQL and none of that prepared me for learning how to do iPhone development.

I searched far and wide and read any number of reviews and recommendations. I have looked at a number of highly recommended books on iPhone Development, but not until I began reading this book did any of it make sense. If you have never done Objective-C or Cocoa programming before and you want to learn programming for the iPhone or the Mac, this is the book to start with. Tim Isted has taken the time to carefully explain in real-world terminology how Objective-C works.

To some, this book may seem like a diversion because it actually starts with programming Mac applications and only gets to iPhone App development at the end, however, it is the time the Tim has taken to explain the fundamentals and framework that makes everything else make sense. If you want to learn iPhone or Mac Development and you don't have a background in C or Objective-C programming, this book is for you.

Thank you Tim for recognizing that there are people who want to do iPhone/Mac development but need to place to begin learning.
26 of 27 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x8b968420) out of 5 stars Hard To Imagine A Better Book 20 April 2010
By Dr. Nim - Published on
Format: Paperback
This book is amazing. I have been through it, cover to cover in detail, and have been stunned by the quality. No mistakes (I recall 1 typo in the whole book), a rarity in programming books, and everything went smoothly as I followed along in XCode on my Mac. It's targeted at beginners, yet I feel like somebody wanting a deeper understanding of Apple-based programming will get even more out of it (non-beginners or iPhone OS programmers that are looking for a good foundation). The author has done an outstanding job of leading the reader through the topics and balancing code examples vs. discussion. Can't recommend it enough.
12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x8b968660) out of 5 stars For those needing an easy intro but with quality... 28 April 2010
By Brad Hutchins - Published on
Format: Paperback
This book is my first recommendation for anyone learning how to code for Macs. Learning how Xcode works, why things are laid out the way they are, before people start developing there own beliefs of how things should be done. As any Apple Developer will tell you. You just do this way because it is the Apple way. Don't fight it, go with it. And this intro book really help enlighten you to why things are done the way they are and that the programming paradigm is truly an MVC one.
11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x8b9689c0) out of 5 stars First-class intro that works with Xcode 4 20 April 2011
By Mark Hernandez - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I agree with what everyone else's reviews wholeheartedly (except our young friend :-) and would add this...

I switched to Xcode 4 in the middle of the book and I didn't have any problems. In fact, it was fun learning how to use the new Xcode features without the book explicitly telling me how by just diving in and doing it, such as control-dragging from, say, a text field in the Interface Builder Pane over into the Source Code Pane which causes Xcode to both write the skeleton code and make the connections automatically. Very cool. In the cases where Xcode 4 did not match the book, a bit of quick poking around was all that was needed to find the new place Apple put that same Xcode feature.

Most computer people know that nothing beats a good self-paced "tutorial" book as the optimal way to learn to program. I'm kind of an expert on iOS/Mac OS development RESOURCES and currently own 20+ books on Cocoa/Mac OS programming and 40+ books on Cocoa Touch/iOS programming, among others.

So, I can say that Tim's understanding of the "Art of the Explanation" is top-notch and he does all the right things to teach you the fundamentals of creating Mac OS apps that's both fun, efficient, gratifying and makes what you learn stick.

This book is one of the best, but not the only one available. If at all possible, I recommend everyone try to also flip through the other books either electronically or physically and choose one that "speaks to you" the best, taking into account your current level of experience and the style of learning that pleases you the most. I did that, and this is the one I chose first, and after having used many, many "tutorial" books, this one is clearly A+.

Also, I highly recommend you do the WHOLE book without skipping, and always type the code in with your fingers so that you take advantage of sense-memory to help you learn more deeply. Go to the website first and mark up your book from the errata list before you begin. (There are remarkably few errors!)

Finally, let me mention that the 25-year-old world of Xcode, Cocoa and Cocoa Touch spans a wide range, from being amazingly easy to make big things happen, to being incredibly complex - enough to MY toes curl (and I have 35+ years of programming experience). Don't let the depth discourage you. Sail your boat on the surface of the ocean and ignore the deep blue sea beneath you. Work on a need-to-know basis and you'll do well.

In the same way that the Space Shuttle zig-zags back and forth as it sets itself up for a perfect landing, that's the way we humans need to operate when we descend into a complex environment. We'll zig-zag back and forth between tutorial books like this, iTunes U videos, formal documentation, sample code, online resources and more. It's also a lot like cleaning a dirty window, and after repeatedly wiping it you'll see more and more clearly.

But starting with an excellent tutorial book like this one FIRST is like using Windex. It's definitely an essential "path of least resistance" toward getting busy and productive with Apple Mac OS/iOS app development. I highly recommend Tim Isted's book!

Mark Hernandez
The Information Workshop
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x8b968774) out of 5 stars Small, incremental, successful learning 3 July 2010
By S. M. gantner - Published on
Format: Paperback
This is the third book in my attempt to learn to program with objective-c and on the mac. The first two, while covered lots of details, left me feeling like I had to follow the tutorials or I was hopelessly lost. I am getting excited working with this book since I finally feel like I'm getting a good understanding of how to program on the Mac.

It could be that working through those other Obj-C books allowed me to understand this book with greater ease but there is one thing this author does that I haven't seen much of. He carefully introduces new concepts and gently repeats them (without forcing you to flip back to page whatever). He is careful not to breeze through concepts assuming I know them. I would guess that the first few times he mentions a new concept while working on a project he explains what that concepts does and briefly how it works. Very helpful because this stuff is very abstract and can get confusing quickly. Later on he might reduce what was 4 steps in the first chapter to a single step but so far that hasn't hung me up anywhere. Now that I think about it, I don't think I've had to jump back to previous pages at all. At least very little.

Additionally, I am halfway through the book and he has been smart about building projects. There are two projects so far and he is slowly building up the complexity rather than wasting my time doing the exact same thing, like setting up a project. It makes for a very natural feeling of progression in both introduction of ideas and feeling of success. Small, incremental, successful learning is really important and the author does an excellent job of cultivating that in this book.

I am very pleased with this text and author and I intend to buy more book written by Mr. Isted.
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