The road to Cocoa

As some of you may know, our main product, iSMARTtrain, is written using REALbasic. While this has proved to be an excellent product, allowing us to produce both a Mac and a Windows version, and have a Linux version on the back-burner, all from one set of source code, I’ve got a few ideas for some more products, which will be Mac-only, and, as part of these projects I’ve decided to learn to program in Cocoa. I doubt if we’ll ever convert iSMARTtrain to cocoa, but you never know…

I’ve equipped myself with Aaron Hillegass’ book “Cocoa Programming for Mac OS X”, and I intend to work through it, chapter at a time, over the next couple of weeks. I’ll blog about my progress here, starting with the first lesson:

First, a bit background about me: I’ve been programming off-and-on for about 25 years, starting on an Apple II, and progressing through ZX81s, BBC Micros, Vax VMS, PCs, Palm OS and finally Macs. I’ve used Pascal, C, C++, Basic & REALbasic.

The first chapter of the book gives some background to Cocoa’s origins in NeXTSTEP and an overview of the ‘NS’ objects and methods. The second chapter has the first real programming, where the concepts of Objective-C are explained. Having a reasonable background in C, and having used some object-oriented languages, such as REALbasic, the concepts weren’t too foreign to me. Interface Builder (Mac OS X’s GUI builder) takes a bit of getting used to, but that appears to be true of any platforms GUI builder.

At the end of the chapter, I’d built (and, more importantly, understood HOW I’d built) a basic cocoa app with a GUI.

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