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Objective-C Programming: The Big Nerd Ranch Guide (Big Nerd Ranch Guides) Paperback – 18 Oct 2011

4.3 out of 5 stars 19 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Big Nerd Ranch Guides; 1 edition (18 Oct. 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0321706285
  • ISBN-13: 978-0321706287
  • Product Dimensions: 17.8 x 2 x 24.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 594,621 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

Product Description

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.


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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I am most of the way through this book and I feel that I have learned a lot. With great pleasure I completed writing an Objective-C program last night that solves Sudoku puzzles. Amazingly, it works. Although I had a little knowledge of C from long ago, really I was starting from scratch with this book. So the point about my Sudoku program is that this book must have done its job, because that's all I used (almost). At the same time, the book is not easy (because its subject is not easy), and you have to work at it. I'd say that it is essential to work through the examples and the exercises ('challenges'). My only wish is that there were more challenges, since there is no substitute for writing one's own code (and finding that it doesn't work and fixing it). Although I'd have liked more challenges, the book does have enough for its purposes. I did augment the book a bit by using other resources, such as the Wibit <[...]> iPad courses. It is sometimes useful to have another perspective on the same topic. But although those other resources were helpful, this book by Hillegass was sufficient to teach me all I needed to know. By the way, this book will take you as far as designing and building very simple iOS and Mac OS apps, but to go much further than that you will need the next book in this series. But no serious book could take you far into iOS programming from scratch, so that comment is just for information for readers.
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Many years ago I played around with BASIC, largely working out how to generate Mandelbrot sets, strange attractors and other arithmetical stuff. Now, having some spare time, I fancied having another go at writing programs - particularly those requiring string handling (which I think is more difficult). Having a Mac, the obvious place to start was Objective-C, not least because Xcode can be downloaded free. (Note that Xcode also has built-in compilers for C and C++.) I then had to find a book to hold my hand as I ventured into the unknown. I chose Hillegass's Objective-C Programming because it was the most recent text and was the only one that was up to date with Xcode 4.2 - which is rather different to previous versions.

And my experience?

First of all, I cannot emphasise enough that you have to get your hands dirty. Type in the examples, force yourself to do the exercises and try to think up some little project of your own to work on. It's not easy, but keep at it. The book will not be able to answer all your questions or solve all your problems - it is the nature of Objective-C that the methods are too numerous to list - but there are websites to consult: not only bignerdranch.com but also stackoverflow.com and techotopia.com as well as Apple itself.

Secondly, did I have to learn some C before learning Objective-C? Only after 70-odd pages do you get to Objective-C and there's a bit of un-learning to do. (The final part of the book is also on C.) Some texts launch you straight into Objective-C from page 1. It does seem that a knowledge of C is necessary but I guess the question is whether you do it first or later. Who knows.

There are a couple of text errors and this really means that you need to consult the supporting website. But overall, I would recommend the book.
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okay ... not about C programming on windows or Linux. All about object-C programming on a MAC pc. Had I know this I would have looked and purchased elsewhere. Useless for me as I only use Linux and Windows. All the examples blablah are on MAC pc. yuk.
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Format: Paperback
As others have said, it's clearly and logically laid out. It's not a reference guide to Objective-C -- Apple provides those among its free resources for developers. Nor is it a book to read but to work through. So you need a Mac with OS X and XCode installed, in order to do that. But novices should not be alarmed. Hillegass offers clear guidance from the start.

Doing the exercises builds your understanding step-by-step. Having to progressively type in the code (rather than cut-and-paste it from a website or e-book) forces you to think about what you're typing and do it accurately. After all, you will write your own code one day -- maybe today, in parallel with the book exercises -- so it's good to practice accuracy from the start. Additional challenges at the end of most chapters stretch you a little further, and are worth spending time on.

And it's specifically about Objective-C, not C++ or any other flavour of C, so even if you're familiar with those others, this tells you how things tick on an Apple operating system. Objective-C forms the basis both of OS X on Mac laptop and desktop computers and iOS on the iPhone and iPad. If you want stuff specific to either of those platforms, you'll have to go further.

I found Hillegass's style engaging and straightforward. There are fewer asides than in the next book you will need (either 'Cocoa Programming for Mac OS X' or 'iOS Programming: The Big Nerd Ranch Guide), but there are not too many in those, so that's OK.

Finally, there may be a few typos in your edition, so check the book's website for corrections.
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This is an excellent introduction to programming, C and Objective-C on the Mac. I have a fair amount of programming experience so didn't need the first few chapters but reading them I didn't feel patronised - the author has done a great job. In less than a day I've got a good handle on XCode and Objective-C, highly recommended.
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