Confessions of a Carbon Guy

by Ed on August 19, 2007

Recently, I started thinking about writing some small application on Mac OS X. The app will never probably be written, but it did get me thinking about how I would write it these days. I figured if I were really writing something from scratch, I should probably do it in Cocoa. Being Mr. Carbon, this was quite a conceit. And if I was going to write it in Cocoa, I should really probably learn what makes Cocoa tick so I could write an app “the right way”. So I got a new book (my old one was way out of date) and started reading and messing around.

If I was really going to start messing with this, I wanted to make sure I was using the latest and greatest. I also wanted to see if Xcode had made any progress in its 3.0 incarnation, so I decided to install Leopard on my MacBook Pro. In fact, I’m typing this blog entry in Safari 3 on Leopard. (As a side note, I really installed Leopard as Apple had sent out a developer survey and was looking for feedback. Sadly, the survey only lasted three days and I couldn’t get a DVD burned quickly enough.)

As I started using Leopard, I was actually pretty impressed. Lots of subtle changes, but I think they are all pretty nice so far. Yes, even the semi-transparent menu bar and crazy reflective dock. This was not what I thought last year when I first saw it. Things have also been running pretty well for me. No glitches encountered just yet, though I haven’t gotten too deep into it all. I’ve been mostly using it for the developer tools.

When I ran Xcode 3, I was a bit disappointed in that it looks pretty much the same and still has the same sad looking preferences dialog. I’m not quite sure why they don’t use the standard preference toolbar view. But overall, I have to say I’ve not been too angry with it yet. Coming from me, this says a lot! The indexing feature and auto-complete is working way better than it ever did before. And the way it formats Obj-C code automatically is hella nice. Yeah, I said hella.

The “most improved” award though so far goes to InterfaceBuilder 3 (What’s with all the 3’s?). This was such a step forward compared to the last version of IB I used. Lots of nice subtle effects and animations here and there which really made using it very enjoyable. Whoever is working on IB these days: good job! The organization of the application is much improved and makes working with it simpler and more straightforward than ever before.

The thing I was most surprised with however was that I was actually enjoying using Cocoa. I started to appreciate some of what makes it go. Being a framework guy of many years, I saw a lot of stuff in my experimentation that made using it all (especially with IB) a lot of… dare I say it… fun. Yes, fun. Don’t get me wrong, I still don’t care for Objective-C syntax, and they sure could use some namespace features, etc. but I feel like I am finally starting to appreciate what it offers developers. I’ve just never really needed to use it quite like this before which is part of what’s prevented me from reaching this realization sooner (that, and all the Windows coding).

Who knows, if I can finally learn enough of this, maybe I will write that app after all…

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

DontMatter April 23, 2009 at 9:09 pm

Welcome home 😉


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