Mac OS X, A guide for UNIX developers by Kevin O'Malley
by: Manning, go
to the web site
(softcover), $21.95 (e-book edition)
hottest new-ish computer operating system is Mac
OSX and its Aqua graphical user interface. That
the OS happens to be an exceedingly robust Unix variant
is effectively irrelevant when considered in the
context of its actual user environment. Essentially,
Mac OSX is the biggest step Apple has taken since
the release of the iMac almost 5 years ago. That
OSX, being based on the BSD core operating system,
Darwin, also happens to be an interesting enviroment
for programmers is the current jewel in Apple's crown.
The OS is not only good looking and deeply functional,
it's also attracting a broader range of application
developers. Home run.
Manning has released Programming Mac OSX to supply
a niche which has not been filling up as quickly
as you might expect, given the level of interest
in this operating system. On the other hand, the
enormous depth of Unix programming information freely
available online for many years (and continuing to
grow in quality and depth) is not to be ignored.
So the goal of this review was to determine exactly
what distunguishes the Manning paperback from the
free stuff out there.
and foremost, the book is an effective guide for
Unix developers who want accurate information specifically
on getting up to speed with Mac OS X and its software
development environment, without having to sort through
the morass of online information overload. The book
provides programmers with most of the information
they need to understand and use the operating system,
its development tools and the key technologies integrated
into the OS such as Darwin, Cocoa and AppleScript.
Shareware authors take note - if you've got Unix
and Linux experience already, this book is a well
organized starting point if you're considering doing
something cool for long-suffering Mac users. If you've
been a little skittish about Interface Builder, forget
your worries now because the tutorial in the book
is very good.
The book is organized in three major sections: Overview,
Tools and Programming. The last section is where you'll
find the greatest depth. The projects and examples are
thorough and should provide even the most jaded intermediate
programmer with a real taste of how challenging and satisfying
it can be to code for OSX. A good place for experienced
users to start is the explanation of GUI and command-line
software development tools and the Apple software development
Author Kevin O'Malley seems to have a solid understanding
of programmers' needs. It makes sense considering his extensive
experience developing web applications and computer music
software for native Unix and OSX. His writing style is
well-suited to this subject matter - it's straightforward,
uncomplicated and reflects some very sharp editorial care.
Programming Mac OSX has nothing for programmers new to
Unix and Mac OS. The book is strictly for intermediate
and advanced programmers who already have experience
coding in Unix. The book isn't big enough - 384 pages doesn't
begin to be an truly in-depth book (but see Pros, below).
The book is not supplied with a source code CD (even though
it's referred to repeatedly throughout the project building
sections) - you have to download the sources from the Manning
web site (which is no problem at all once you've figured
it out - now you know!). Only minimum coverage of Objective-C.
If you've already got Unix knowledge this book will help
you use it in OSX. Although Apple did a decent job
of exposing the new application environment (AE) in OSX,
this book will help make you much more productive. Programming
Mac OS X also does a creditable job of addressing the difficult
and often avoided subject of mixed-mode operation - getting
Project Builder and Code Warrior to cooperate; using Carbon
alongside BSD-based applications, and so on - real problems
which get real suggestions and solutions. Handy OSX to
Unix to OSX command map included. Excellent instructions
for working with Apple's fee development tools. Recommended.
Letters to the Editor are welcome and occasionally abused in public. Send e-mail to: firstname.lastname@example.org