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Steve Jobs and the History of Cocoa, Part Two
Pages: 1, 2

Mac OS X, Ready or Not

Many Macintosh purists insisted that Mac OS X was not a real Macintosh operating system. But that just begs the question -- “What is a real Macintosh operating system?”

The original Macintosh operating system could run just a single program at a time on a computer with 64K of ROM and 64K of RAM. (The 128K Mac was Apple’s second-generation Macintosh computer.) It didn’t support up or down arrow keys because Apple’s dogmatic engineers insisted that anything done with a keyboard could be done better with a mouse.

In fact, Mac OS X is very much a Macintosh operating system. It may have a Unix kernel, but it’s a Unix kernel sitting on top of an Apple HFS+ file system, complete with creator codes and resource forks. Mac OS X still supports AppleTalk, Apple’s easy-to-administer, automatically configuring networking system.

What’s more, Mac OS X really does run all of those old Macintosh applications -- which is what the "Classic" Macintosh environment is all about. If you double-click on an application program that runs on older Mac OS computers, a Mac OS X system will launch a copy of Mac OS 9 within Mac OS X. When you activate this application, the Macintosh computer will have much of the look and feel of a Mac OS 9 computer. It’s weird, but you can run those old apps quite well in Classic mode.

If you are a programmer, the Mac OS X platform has a lot to recommend it.

  • If you are used to writing programs for Linux or other flavors of Unix, you can use all of your existing skills to write applications for Mac OS X. In return, you’ll get a market with an order of magnitude more users.
  • If you are a solo programmer, you’ll discover that the Cocoa development environment makes you far more productive than you could ever imagine. With Cocoa, one or two people really can write an industrial-strength application that can be sold for hundreds of dollars.
  • If you work in a high-security environment, you can use Mac OS X content in the knowledge that you are safe from the majority of computer worms, viruses, and hostile code that now routinely circle the Internet.


The Apple III

Apple II history, with screen shots

Quotes on Apple and statistics

SJMN article on Star Trek

Building Cocoa Applications

This spring, O’Reilly & Associates will publish Building Cocoa Applications -- A Step-by-Step Guide. This book is based on literally years of experience with the NeXTSTEP, Macintosh, Unix, and Cocoa environments. In it, we try to show users a step-by-step approach to building realistic applications. And we try to do it while having a lot of fun.

Our book does not assume prior knowledge with the Macintosh or any other window-based operating environment, nor does it assume knowledge of object-oriented programming. In fact, a previous version of the book was actually used in several schools to teach object-oriented programming back in the 1990s.

Building Cocoa Apps begins with introductory but important material on the Macintosh operating system and object-oriented programming. Then the rest of the book concentrates on building three major applications. The first, Calculator, is built in Chapters 5-8. The second, MathPaper, is built within Chapters 10-14. The third and final major application is GraphPaper, built in Chapters 16-21.

There are numerous additional simple applications built throughout the book to demonstrate features of Cocoa and Mac OS X. You can build all of these applications right along with us. We provide simple but complete instructions on how to do whatever is necessary to build these applications from scratch.

If you are not sure whether our book is for you, you can download the Calculator, MathPaper, and GraphPaper applications from the O’Reilly Web site. Run the programs, then read the code. If you have always wanted to write programs with super-slick user interfaces, now is the time to start.

Simson Garfinkel is a developer with 24 years of programming experience, the author or coauthor of 14 books, an entrepreneur, and a journalist. He is the founder and Chief Technology Officer of Sandstorm Enterprises, a Boston-based firm that develops state-of-the-art computer security tools.

Michael Mahoney is Dean of the College of Engineering at California State University, Long Beach, where he is also a Professor of Computer Engineering and Computer Science.

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