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10 Nov 2008, 04:34
Bill Nalen (13 posts)

I’ve done a fair bit of Cocoa over the past few years mostly based off learning from Hillegass’s book. I recently felt like I needed to learn some of the basics again (after watching Bill Dudney’s iPhone videos), so I bought your Cocoa Programming book. I read through chapter 1 and decided it might be a bit too basic, so I started going through Hillegass’s book again (this time the 3rd edition).

However, after reading your answers to a few posts here and looking again at your book’s table of contents, I’m not so sure where your book falls in. Initially I saw just the 8 chapter headings and read the multiple references to “this book is not comprehensive” in chapter 1 which led me to believe the book was going to be very basic.

So here are my comments on chapter 1.

  • Perhaps you are being a little too strong on it being a basic book. I’m guessing that you’ll cover all of the essentials to creating a Cocoa application (sheets, views, saving data, etc.), but you won’t cover every API. So by the end of the book I’ll know how to create a small/medium Cocoa application (I’m thinking something like NetNewsWire, MoneyWell, Transmit, TextMate, etc.) either through direct learning from the book or knowing where to look after reading the book, i.e. when I finish the book will I be needing Advanced Cocoa Programming to fill in gaps or will I just need specific detailed questions answered. Your analogy left me thinking that all I’ll learn is where to look stuff up. I want more than “a feel for the neighborhood” and I think the book will deliver. It’s like you learn a lot about the neighbors, enough to know how they can help you, what they can do for you, but you don’t know all the sordid details of their lives. I’m just not sure how to say that any better.

  • I guess I’m not sure where your book fits compared to Hillegass’s book. Is it aiming for the same audience? More basic? I know Marcus is going to cover Core Data in depth and Dudney has covered Core Animation and another group is covering iPhone. Perhaps this is the pragprog version of Hillegass’s book? Perhaps it needs a stronger section on who the expected audience is (without directly comparing to another title, of course).

  • Should there be a section on what you need to know? How much C do I need? What if I know Java or C++, is that enough? How about if I’ve never programmed before, should I start with another book first?

  • I’m thinking of the person who picks the book up in the store and wants to find out if it’s for them in < 5 minutes. I can usually tell based on the prerequisites and goals if the book is going to fit for me. I’m much more interested in what I’m going to learn from the book and that it’s aimed at my level than I am in how well it is written.

I know this is wordy and not well communicated. I’ll keep reading and check back.

26 Nov 2008, 02:38
Alexander Sviridovsky (1 post)

First of all, thanks for a great book so far. I just bought the eBook and hard copy and got through the first half or so in about 4 hours. It’s clearly written and does just enough “hand-holding” for my taste. I can’t wait for more! In line with Bill’s questions, though, how do you see this book fitting on the bookshelf? Are you planning more info on the different classes available with Cocoa? Or are we expected to “read the manual” as needed? This is the first book I’ve bought about Cocoa or ObjC and I was hoping it could be the last, at least for a little while :)

27 Nov 2008, 12:52
Daniel H Steinberg (97 posts)

Thank you Alexander.

I’m hoping that what you get from this book is an idea of the techniques and approaches to Cocoa programming. We won’t cover all of the APIs but I hope to give you enough that you can use the Apple docs to get as far as you need.

So my plan is to finish the current “arc” by talking about some controllers for views and tables and then embarking on the final arc that looks at kvo/kvc, bindings, and core data.

I have a lot of respect for Aaron – I got to record an interview with him at last year’s WWDC and found him to be as bright, generous, engaging, and thoughtful as his public persona. That said, I think our books are very different. My book will not be as comprehensive as his but I hope to give you a good feel for how to work with the central ideas in Cocoa programming.

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