Programming Mac OS X, A guide for UNIX developers by Kevin O'Malley ISBN 1930110855

Reviewed by: Manny Goldstein, send e-mail
Published by: Manning, go to the web site
Requires: N/A
MSRP: $42.95 (softcover), $21.95 (e-book edition)

The 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.

First 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 environment.

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.

Cons: 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.

Pros: 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:




© Copyright 2000-2006 All rights reserved. legal notice
home | previous reviews | forums | about us | search | store | subscribe


Forums Search Home Previous Reviews About Us Store Subscribe