This article is from the Mac Programming FAQ, by Jon Watte firstname.lastname@example.org with numerous contributions by others.
Currently, the three most widely used are CodeWarrior (CW), MPW, and
Symantec C++, probably in that order, though I don't have any
statistics. The latest version of any one of these is adequate for Mac
CodeWarrior: In early 1994, CodeWarrior came out of nowhere and grabbed
a large share of the market visibility because they had the fastest
compiler and they generated PowerPC code as well as 68K code. Today,
CodeWarrior has the smoothest development environment and most complete
C++ implementation, supporting both templates and exceptions. CW/6
includes C, C++, and Object Pascal support, and can generate x86
binaries. Among hobbyists, CW seems to be the most popular because of
it's low price, ultra-fast compile time, and support that no other
company on the planet can match. See comp.sys.mac.programmer.codewarrior
for more information and CodeWarrior-related praise. Contact
MPW: The grandaddy of all Mac development environments, descended from
the original Mac development environment based on a Lisa. MPW is an
extremely flexible, powerful, Unix-like command line environment with
makefile, multiple windows and split-pane support. Many development
tools are MPW-based. MPW Pro comes with C, C++, Pascal, assemblers for
both 68k and PowerMac, various other useful tools, and the C++-based
framework MacApp for a reasonable price. MPW has in the past been
extremely slow, but shows signs of redemption. Contact
Symantec C++: This is the eighth-generation descendant of the C
environment favored by Mac developers for over five years. Symantec C++
8.0 is a complete, scriptable, modular development environment including
C, C++, and soon, a PowerPC assembler. The C++ implementation supports
templates. A development version of a PowerPC C++ compiler supporting
exceptions and RTTI is available at Symantec's devtools site. SC++ 8.0
doesn't at this time support 68k Mac development. For that purpose,
you're required to use the old, decrepit TPM development environment,
which is included. Contact <email@example.com>.
There are also at least two Fortran compilers, at least three SmallTalk
implementations (ObjectWorks, SmallTalk/V and SmallTalkAgents) and
others. There are ways of stripping SmallTalk apps so they're smaller
and faster as standalone apps than in the environment.
Languge Systems has Object Pascal and Fortran for PowerMac. Absoft has
Fortran and C++ for PowerMac. These all require MPW.
There's also a world-class LISP/CLOS implementation from Apple called
Macintosh Common Lisp. Recently, Apple announced that DigiTool has
licensed MCL with the intent (among other things) to provide a PowerMac
version and other updates.
Zedcor has FutureBasic, which seems to be a very popular... It also
seems to be the only well-supported implementation of BASIC on
CSI has MacForth, of which I only know the name and someone who says
it's pretty good.
There is another good Common Lisp implementation: Procyon Common Lisp.
I don't know if it is actively supported, but Procyon CL is also
available for DOS, OS/2 and Windows (as Allegro CL/PC) and actively
A new possible up-and-coming languge is Apple's Dylan, which is
something of a cross between BASIC, Pascal, and C. C-based code can be
used directly from Dylan, but Dylan can't yet be used directly from C.
The Apple Dylan environment is rumored to be as far beyond MPW as MPW is
beyond thick bundles of FORTRAN punch cards.