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1.1) What do I need to start writing Macintosh software?




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This article is from the Mac Programming FAQ, by Jon Watte h+@austin.metrowerks.com with numerous contributions by others.

1.1) What do I need to start writing Macintosh software?

A Mac, a lot of time, and a few hundred $. Although you can develop
software on a Classic-type machine, it is not to be attempted by the
weak of heart or stressed of time. If you're doing paid work and/or
work for a company, a Quadra-class machine is a must; remember that your
time costs your employer much more than just your salary. A PowerMac is
highly preferable. 16 MB is a minimum to run at all comfortably (40 MB
recommended), and Virtual Memory (including RamDoubler, unfortunately)
is not suited for development work. Similarly, if you don't have at
least 80 MB free on your hard disk you need to buy more space. You will
also need a CD-ROM drive.

You need a development system such as CodeWarrior, MPW Pro, Symantec C++
8.0 or Prograph, you need at least some of the New Inside Mac books
(Toolbox Essentials, Files, Memory come to mind) and a good entry-level
third-party book may help.

Once you are up to speed on the general layout of the Mac and its
toolboxes, you should call APDA and order the monthly developer mailing,
which will give you a CD chock full of documentation, utilities and
system software once a month. You will also, obviously, need a CD
player; Apple's own CD600 is a very good buy at the time of this
writing. If you don't have the dough for the monthly mailing
($250/year) you can order a _develop_ subscription; this quarterly
magazine ($30-$50/year) comes with a CD containing most Inside Mac
documentation. Another good product to order is the MacOS SDK, which
for $99 gives you a CD with every API in existence up to and including
the 7.5 Mac Toolbox additions. It's somewhat redundant if you already
have the Developer CD subscription. <apda@appplelink.apple.com> Apple's
Developer Web has almost all of the contents of the Developer CD online.
<http://www.info.apple.com/dev>

If you don't know how to program, go learn your language of choice
BEFORE attempting a "real" Mac application. Programming is a discipline
often requiring different thought processes than your normal day job. A
beginning book, like Lippman: The C++ Primer, one of the Teach Yourself
C++ books, or the primers available on the CodeWarrior CD, might help.

An indispensable Mac programming tool is the Macintosh Programmer's
Toolbox Reference (MPTA), an up-to-date hypertext reference guide
containing reference material on the New Inside Mac-documented portions
of the Toolbox with lightning-fast look-up and mostly correct usage
hints and code snippets. MPTA can be found on the Developer CD, and is
also offered on a seperate $99 CD. <apda@applelink.apple.com>

Think Reference version 2.0.1, precursor to MPTA, contains reference
material on many parts of the Mac toolbox with lightning-fast look-up
and mostly correct usage hints and code snippets. While it does not
cover any post-System 7 system additions, nor the modern "universal"
headers format, it does include information on the standard C/C++
libraries. Available wherever fine Symantec products are sold -
<apda@applelink.apple.com> for one.

 

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