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Coming Home...

Way back in college I had the great privilege of working on a NeXTCube (started on system 0.9, yes I'm old...) with Mathematica doing some really cool non-linear stuff. It was my first exposure to Unix (which of course spoiled me rotten) and I was hooked. After the end of the semester I managed to land a job building code on the NeXT (doing 3d visualization of stress in materials). I had no idea what I was doing so I bought a book on object oriented programming, a book on smalltalk and a book that was a collection of research papers that mentioned Objective-C. I did not sleep much, got a second credit card and bought a NeXTStation (or pizza box as they were called). After I bought that baby (25MHz, 8MB Ram, 105 MB scsi hard drive, oh yeah!) I really did not sleep or study my aero space engr stuff either :) I still have it BTW and it boots just fine into NeXTStep 4.0, I put a 512MB SCSI disk in it (before I retired it). It also has the printer if anyone out there is in great need of a 25MHz 8MB computer I'm your guy.

After I graduated I looked around for a NeXT related job but nothing happened before my offer to go work at Rockwell Int. at NASA's Johnson Space Center in Houston expired so I took the job @ NASA and did some cool stuff. But other things were in store...

About 6 months into my full time employment I got a call from one of the consulting companies that I'd sent my resume to and they had some work doing NeXT training for Meijer. I jumped on that job in a second. While I was sad to leave behind astronauts, the space shuttle etc. The chance to work on NeXTStep full time was too tempting. That was 1992. I did professional NeXT stuff until 1998 when I jumped on the Java bandwagon and did a Java startup or two. Then went back to consulting doing enterprise java stuff etc etc, a lot of which has been documented on this blog...

Now to the point of this rather lengthy reminiscence. In November of 2007 I quit a great Java related gig to give the OSX world a shot (OSX is NeXTStep for those that don't know) and to focus on an OSX book for the Pragmatic Programmers. The book is finally beta, you can take a look at it here. I fell like I'm coming home writing a book about Cocoa related technologies. While hardware has come a long way the underlying philosophy of OSX has not changed since the NeXTStep days. It makes developing fun again (at least for me). Who knows if I'll do more java or not, best gig would be a combo, front end OSX, back end Java EE.

You can see some of the beauty possible with Core Animation on Apple's site or of course you could buy the book and mess with the samples. It has been a fun time and I'm really stoked about the transition.

Permalink     3 Comments


What assumptions about the reader do you make in your new book and is there any Xcode 3 material?

Posted by Robert Nicholson on February 11, 2008 at 11:19 AM MST #

Hi Robert,

Thanks for the comment. The assumptions are that you are familiar with Cocoa. If you are a total newbie at Cocoa (congrats and welcome BTW) then you might find some of the content hard to follow because I make assumptions that you know some of the commonly used design patterns/idioms from Cocoa. But even so you can still get a lot out of the book, and the code works even if you don't know AppKit :)

On XCode 3.0 stuff, I purposefully do not go into detail on XCode in the book, but the use I make of it is very simple, basically except for the project mgt stuff (which is straightforward) you could run all the examples from within emacs if you were so inclined :)

HTH, and if you have any other questions feel free to post back or ping me with an email.

Posted by Bill Dudney on February 11, 2008 at 11:45 AM MST #

I just finished my book on AppFuse for SourceBeat and I've been playing with Cocoa and the PDF's macbook has. I still think Kernighan and Ritchie's C book is the best one I own. I'm a Java guy too and old. Kudos on the book. I want to write enterprise desktop software for the mac to help sell mac to large business. I'm working for the state of NC now and the whole facility is using Windows 2000. I'm trying to set up a JBoss env for them. They have Linux servers and use Microsoft for everything else. It's horrible. Anyhow, do you think there's a market out there for me to write Mac enterprise software and still feed the family? And, do you think the Cocoa env is where it's at now for Mac stuff? I have a buddy, Eugene Ciurana and he raves about Objective-C.


Posted by David Whitehurst on March 27, 2008 at 12:24 PM MDT #

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