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Introducing Objective-C

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This chapter is from the book
This chapter offers an introduction to the Objective-C programming language, where you will learn the basics of using variables, doing arithmetic, and building algorithms with larger blocks of code involving conditionals, looping, and the use of objects such as strings.

It used to be that developers who wrote code in Objective-C were a small, elite group. These programmers wrote code for the Mac, building applications for a desktop OS that had very small market share and even smaller profit potential.

Today, thanks to the increasing popularity of the iPhone, iPod Touch, and the iPad, Objective-C’s popularity is on the rise. Everyone from hobbyists to scientists to commercial developers and consultants are building applications for iOS using Objective-C.

During this hour you will be introduced to the Objective-C programming language, learn the basics of using variables, doing arithmetic, and building algorithms with larger blocks of code involving conditionals, looping, and the use of objects such as strings.

Overview and History of Objective-C

At its core, Objective-C is an ANSI standard version of the C programming language. Wrapped around this ANSI C core is a Smalltalk-inspired set of extensions that give the language its object-oriented capabilities, as well as several other enhancements that you don’t get from the regular version of C.

Brad Cox and Tom Love created the Objective-C programming language in the early 1980s in an effort to get people to write cleaner, more modular, and clearly separated code. Contrary to popular belief, Objective-C wasn’t invented by, nor is it exclusively owned by, Apple. It’s actually an open standard; in the past, implementations of the Objective-C compiler existed that even ran on Windows.

If you have had any experience with C, learning Objective-C should be a breeze. Most developers find that learning the Objective-C syntax takes very little time at all, and the rest of the learning curve is devoted to learning about all the tools and controls available in Cocoa for Mac OS X.

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