My progress working through the Cocoa Programming for OS X book has stalled a bit, but it’s not what you might think. I’ve been preoccupied by all of those cool-bean Cocoa concepts I’ve been learning over the past two weeks. Reading tech books is one thing, but you don’t really get it until you code it. My journey to the Mac platform started back in 2003, a time when I had become increasingly frustrated with the many failings of Windows.
Not sure why I feel the need to segue to my Mac past, but here I go anyway… Queue the nostalgic soundtrack.
It was bad enough I had to use Windows all day at work, but I decided I wasn’t going to put up with it at home as well. I needed a reprieve and purchased my first Mac on Ebay, an iMac late 2001 model.
I was stoked to learn more about this new platform. Could it live up to the reputation as being something different and better? I went down to CompUSA to purchase a copy of OS X, Panther (10.3) on the day of the launch. When I arrived I was surprised to find other Mac users had gather to get their own copies. It was the first time that I got a sense that this computer was something different not just because of the machine but the people were special too. They were different and were happy to embrace a computer that seemed to get them. I was curious to know the essence of what made a Mac a Mac. I would tune in to watch the WWDC keynotes where interim CEO Steve Jobs would present the state of the Apple union. It was great feeling part of that special development community. It was so fun learning about the Mac and the unique culture that came with it. I especially loved how the Mac had always distinguished itself from the pack, particularly in the “Think Different” era. (Who doesn’t love Clarus the Dogcow? – Moof! ) Apple has evolved a lot since those early days, but I believe the Mac is still a strong, unique and viable platform. Through the years I have come to love using my Mac at home. I may use Windows and such at work, but that just makes me appreciate the Mac even more. There are those who do not see the Mac this way and that’s fine with me. Every now and then I still like to get into it with the IT crowd who often frame Macs in terms of parts or specs, but the Mac guy in me says let it go. I’m a Mac and your a PC and there is room for everybody.
Okay, so back to my Mac development plan, I’ve decided that this year I am going for it. No excuses! I am determined to write an app and get it into the App Store. There, I said it so it has to happen. The Mac platform has really matured since the early days of Xcode development. I am surprised at how far Swift has come in such a short time. Xcode 7 is a terrific development environment. It’s great fun to get instant feedback on how much CPU or memory your app consumes as it is being developed. It’s like a giant sandbox or playground- well of course Xcode actually has a “Playgrounds”, so right there you can see you’re in for a whole lot of fun. Back when I started learning to program on the Commodore 64 I used to love typing in code and seeing what happened on the screen. Playground gives you the same freedom to experiment with ideas and see the the results play out before you. I highly recommend experimenting with your code in Playground. It is a great way to hone your skills without ever having to build and compile your code. As a build engineer by trade, I really appreciate that feature!
Well, I am off to do some Mac development… 🙂