Hacker News new | past | comments | ask | show | jobs | submit login

Aaron Hillegass's "Cocoa Programming for Mac OS X" is an extremely well written book that is great for learning Objective C through Cocoa and also does not assume you're retarded.



Hillegass's book is an excellent resource for someone getting started with Cocoa Programming on OSX and one reason is that although it doesn't "assume you're retarded", it doesn't try very hard to make you think much. Hillegass goes over what you need to know to be a functioning member of the Cocoa/OSX society but doesn't invite you to question its core values.

I've only read a little of "From C++ to Objective-C" http://ktd.club.fr/programmation/fichiers/cpp-objc-en.pdf but it seems similar in spirit to Hillegass's book, telling you things you should probably know about how Objective C deals with some of the same issues C++ does. While it clearly expects you to be knowledgeable about C++, I would say it's only slightly more sophisticated than Hillegass's book. It doesn't really seem to force you to think much in order to get value from it.

Having programmed for a while, the only programming books that make me think are ones that are either

- very specific and highly technical (e.g Schneier's "Applied Cryptography")

- very general (e.g. Kernighan & Pike's "The Practice of Programming") or

- define the language (e.g. Ierusalimschy's "Programming in Lua")

it's pretty rare for me to find a good programming book that can both challenge me to think in a useful way and also be useful in other situations where I don't want to think. Hillegass's book is good but sadly isn't one of them. However if such a book existed for Objective-C I would buy it in an instant.


Even for people strictly interested in Objective C, Apple does have their ref guide (http://developer.apple.com/documentation/Cocoa/Conceptual/Ob...), and there is also a book not on cocoa but on objc the language called "Programming in Objective-C" by Kochan (which I do believe there's a second edition soon to go to print that would be a very good idea to wait for). I don't really think either one of them considered the reader to be a complete beginner or "retarded", although the former is probably more down-and-dirty with the language than the latter is, which is more of an introductory text. Who hasn't seen one of those for any language?

If you want a retarded cocoa book, check out the older Mac programming-related texts O'Reilly used to publish a few years ago. Out of print now I think, but man, they REALLY assumed you were a complete beginner. Not that that was a bad thing, but Hillegass is definitely miles better.


The real point of this book is specifically to teach Objective-C to C++ programmers. Looking at the table of contents, doesn't seem to have much actual "Cocoa" specific content (like AppKit, etc.)

So it looks like the blog post title is misleading.

EDIT: And looking through it, I see I can work backwards and re-learn C++ stuff from the parallel ObjC code, as I know ObjC better than C++ which I haven't used seriously in a very long time.


I think the blog post in general is slightly misleading, it seemed like the author was reading Cocoa books (i.e. hillegass and the pragprog cocoa programming book? that's the only pragprog book I can think of that would make sense, but it's only in beta...) and not strictly related to the language, which is what seemed to be what he was looking for.

I'm curious as to which texts this person has looked at, since I found Kochan's objc book, a friend's guide based on Kochan (http://otierney.net/objective-c.html although it hasn't been updated in a while), and the Apple docs on objc to be more than enough supplement to what I considered a chapter of Hillegass that left a little something more to be desired.




Registration is open for Startup School 2019. Classes start July 22nd.

Guidelines | FAQ | Support | API | Security | Lists | Bookmarklet | Legal | Apply to YC | Contact

Search: