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Book Review: Programming in Objective-C 2.0 (Second Edition)

© January 2009 Anthony Lawrence

Index by Subject

  • Stephen G Kochan
  • Programming in Objective-C 2.0 (Second Edition)
  • Addison Wesley
  • 9780321566157

This book begins with a typo in the first program listing presented. My eyes blinked when I saw it. It's not a big deal - they just left out the beginning "<" in an #import line. There were a few more problems I noticed as I skimmed along through the first part of the book.

The question I have to ask is "Does it matter?" Were these little lapses serious enough to confuse a new reader? I try very hard to put myself in the position of someone new to all this - heck, I read my first C book nearly three decades ago and who knows how many other books I've read on C++ and other object oriented variants since then. It's impossible for me to see this with fresh eyes.

I have to wonder how much of its intended audience will be reading much of this part either. I can't think too many people with no prior exposure to object oriented C are going to pick this up for their first venture into Mac OS X programming. More likely they'll come from a background even deeper and stronger than mine and will be skimming through the first 300 pages even faster than I did: classes, check - good analogies, not over drawn, basic types, check, inheritance, polymorphism, check, check.. let's get to the OS X stuff!

Don't skim too fast though: this is OS X stuff and the easy familiarity of having been through similar languages before could cause you to miss a thing or two. Just resign yourself to a little boredom and plod along.

As noted, the real meat starts about 300 pages in and consumes the rest of the book. And as I've surely noted elsewhere, I hate this stuff.

Oh, I don't mind object oriented C. That's cool. It's the long class names that make my eyes glaze over. There's also the regrettable fact that I don't like windowing interfaces - oh, I like using them (well, for some things, anyway), but I sure don't like writing programs for graphic displays. Combining these is rather necessary for a work like this but I drag my heels and clutch at anything handy to keep myself from being drawn in. Yeah, yeah: I have to get over this stuff. I know. But then I see

matr = [NSMutableString stringWithString: str1];

and I get a headache.

Of course that's why this book encourages you to use XCode. Start typing NSMu and Xcode starts giving you possible completions. See, Tony, it's not that bad.. give it a chance!

Yeah, OK. I will. Kochan continues this part with practical examples - he really does do a good job with this and dives into the tasks typical to most any program. As much as I resist, he's a good teacher and a good writer. The typos in the first part of the book make me a little wary, but Xcode will surely get me by those if there are any.

So - looks like a keeper. Who knows, I may even grow to like programming this way. That's scary.

Tony Lawrence 2009-01-03 Rating: 3.5

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