Home > Articles > Programming > General Programming/Other Languages

📄 Contents

  1. Why Replace Flash?
  2. Loading the Videos
Like this article? We recommend Designing the Cocoa Application

Loading the Videos

Once the main user interface is loaded, the important thing is playing the videos. This application opens movie files a lot, so I've written a convenience method for it:

- (QTMovie*)openMovie: (NSString*)fileName
    NSNumber *yes = [NSNumber numberWithBool: YES];
    NSDictionary *attributes = 
        [NSDictionary dictionaryWithObjectsAndKeys:
                    fileName, QTMovieFileNameAttribute,
                    yes, QTMovieOpenForPlaybackAttribute, nil];
    NSError *error;
    QTMovie *movie = [[QTMovie alloc] initWithAttributes: attributes
                                                   error: &error];
    if (error)
        [window willPresentError: error];
    return movie;

This method creates a QTMovie instance. You initialize a QTMovie by sending it an initWithAttributes:error: message, with a dictionary as the first argument, describing the properties of the movie.

If you're not familiar with the Foundation framework, you might not be aware of the dictionaryWithObjectsAndKeys: constructor for NSDictionary. This incredibly useful variadic method takes a NULL-terminated list of objects as arguments. These are object-key pairs.

The first key that we set in the attributes dictionary is the filename, which is obviously needed. The second is less obvious. Setting the QTMovieOpenForPlaybackAttribute key means that we're disabling any of the editing functionality of QuickTime. This step is very important on OS X 10.6.

Snow Leopard ships with two versions of QuickTime: QuickTime 7 and QuickTime X. QuickTime 7, which also shipped with OS X 10.5, is an incremental improvement to the QuickTime code that has been under development for the best part of two decades. Unfortunately, this code isn't even remotely 64-bit clean. If you use the QTKit in a 64-bit application with QuickTime 7, another (32-bit) process is spawned, which does the real decoding work and passes the decoded frames back to your main application.

In contrast, QuickTime X is a new 64-bit framework with some other nice features, such as GPU-based acceleration for playback. Unfortunately, it doesn't support editing at all. Unless you explicitly request a playback-only movie, you get the older QuickTime 7 code paths.

Presenting in Full-Screen Mode

One thing that the Flash version of the application can't do is play videos in full-screen mode, which is quite easy with recent versions of OS X. If you wanted full-screen drawing in OS X 10.4 and earlier, you had to use some low-level Core Graphics functions to create a full-screen drawing context. OS X 10.5 added some methods that allow you to tell an NSView to take up the entire screen.

In the video view, we have a button labeled Full Screen that's connected to the -fullScreen: action in our object. This action is quite simple:

- (IBAction)fullScreen: (id)sender
    if (isFullScreen)
    isFullScreen = YES;
    [videoView.animator enterFullScreenMode: [window screen]
                                withOptions: nil];
    [sender setTitle: @"Exit Full Screen"];
    [sender setAction: @selector(exitFullScreen:)];

The action first checks whether we're already in full-screen mode. The videoView instance variable is the NSView from the nib file that contains the movie view and controls for playing lessons. We tell the instance variable to enter full-screen mode on the screen that currently contains the window. If you have multiple monitors connected and you want to display on the other monitor, you can simply drag the window between them before entering full-screen mode. Alternatively, you might want to use an explicit screen number. (Keynote does this for the presenter display, for example.)

Although we're using the animator proxy, it doesn't actually do anything—we hope that this problem will be fixed in a future version of OS X. Meanwhile, you must handle the animation explicitly if you want a nice, smooth transition. You can do this by resizing the window to the screen area when you enter full-screen mode.

Next, we modify the button, making two changes:

  • We change the title to "Exit Full Screen." The OS X human interface guidelines recommend that each button be labeled with the action that will be performed when the user presses the button. We could have a button labeled "toggle full screen" or similar, but it's a bit more friendly to say exactly what will happen.
  • The other change is to the action message that will be sent when the button is pressed. The next press of the button will send an -exitFullScreen: message to this object. That method looks very similar to -fullScreen:, but performs the inverse operation.

Was It Worth the Trouble?

This application isn't particularly polished. It was written quite quickly, as an example of some of the things that you can do in Cocoa. But it has several feature that the Flash version lacks, such as the ability to jump to specific points in each lesson and to play the videos in full-screen mode. Spending a few hours polishing the visual appearance of the application would easily result in something significantly better than the Flash version.

Of course, the downside is that the Cocoa app is limited to OS X. Because this application uses Core Animation, it won't run with GNUstep (yet) on other platforms.

Whether it's worth writing a dedicated Mac version of your application depends on how much effort it takes relative to the benefit you gain. The effort involved in creating this app was quite small—the application exists to present videos. The videos are the important bit, and they're the same on all platforms. Of course, in this case, you're unlikely to be watching videos about Cocoa while programming on a Windows machine….

InformIT Promotional Mailings & Special Offers

I would like to receive exclusive offers and hear about products from InformIT and its family of brands. I can unsubscribe at any time.


Pearson Education, Inc., 221 River Street, Hoboken, New Jersey 07030, (Pearson) presents this site to provide information about products and services that can be purchased through this site.

This privacy notice provides an overview of our commitment to privacy and describes how we collect, protect, use and share personal information collected through this site. Please note that other Pearson websites and online products and services have their own separate privacy policies.

Collection and Use of Information

To conduct business and deliver products and services, Pearson collects and uses personal information in several ways in connection with this site, including:

Questions and Inquiries

For inquiries and questions, we collect the inquiry or question, together with name, contact details (email address, phone number and mailing address) and any other additional information voluntarily submitted to us through a Contact Us form or an email. We use this information to address the inquiry and respond to the question.

Online Store

For orders and purchases placed through our online store on this site, we collect order details, name, institution name and address (if applicable), email address, phone number, shipping and billing addresses, credit/debit card information, shipping options and any instructions. We use this information to complete transactions, fulfill orders, communicate with individuals placing orders or visiting the online store, and for related purposes.


Pearson may offer opportunities to provide feedback or participate in surveys, including surveys evaluating Pearson products, services or sites. Participation is voluntary. Pearson collects information requested in the survey questions and uses the information to evaluate, support, maintain and improve products, services or sites, develop new products and services, conduct educational research and for other purposes specified in the survey.

Contests and Drawings

Occasionally, we may sponsor a contest or drawing. Participation is optional. Pearson collects name, contact information and other information specified on the entry form for the contest or drawing to conduct the contest or drawing. Pearson may collect additional personal information from the winners of a contest or drawing in order to award the prize and for tax reporting purposes, as required by law.


If you have elected to receive email newsletters or promotional mailings and special offers but want to unsubscribe, simply email information@informit.com.

Service Announcements

On rare occasions it is necessary to send out a strictly service related announcement. For instance, if our service is temporarily suspended for maintenance we might send users an email. Generally, users may not opt-out of these communications, though they can deactivate their account information. However, these communications are not promotional in nature.

Customer Service

We communicate with users on a regular basis to provide requested services and in regard to issues relating to their account we reply via email or phone in accordance with the users' wishes when a user submits their information through our Contact Us form.

Other Collection and Use of Information

Application and System Logs

Pearson automatically collects log data to help ensure the delivery, availability and security of this site. Log data may include technical information about how a user or visitor connected to this site, such as browser type, type of computer/device, operating system, internet service provider and IP address. We use this information for support purposes and to monitor the health of the site, identify problems, improve service, detect unauthorized access and fraudulent activity, prevent and respond to security incidents and appropriately scale computing resources.

Web Analytics

Pearson may use third party web trend analytical services, including Google Analytics, to collect visitor information, such as IP addresses, browser types, referring pages, pages visited and time spent on a particular site. While these analytical services collect and report information on an anonymous basis, they may use cookies to gather web trend information. The information gathered may enable Pearson (but not the third party web trend services) to link information with application and system log data. Pearson uses this information for system administration and to identify problems, improve service, detect unauthorized access and fraudulent activity, prevent and respond to security incidents, appropriately scale computing resources and otherwise support and deliver this site and its services.

Cookies and Related Technologies

This site uses cookies and similar technologies to personalize content, measure traffic patterns, control security, track use and access of information on this site, and provide interest-based messages and advertising. Users can manage and block the use of cookies through their browser. Disabling or blocking certain cookies may limit the functionality of this site.

Do Not Track

This site currently does not respond to Do Not Track signals.


Pearson uses appropriate physical, administrative and technical security measures to protect personal information from unauthorized access, use and disclosure.


This site is not directed to children under the age of 13.


Pearson may send or direct marketing communications to users, provided that

  • Pearson will not use personal information collected or processed as a K-12 school service provider for the purpose of directed or targeted advertising.
  • Such marketing is consistent with applicable law and Pearson's legal obligations.
  • Pearson will not knowingly direct or send marketing communications to an individual who has expressed a preference not to receive marketing.
  • Where required by applicable law, express or implied consent to marketing exists and has not been withdrawn.

Pearson may provide personal information to a third party service provider on a restricted basis to provide marketing solely on behalf of Pearson or an affiliate or customer for whom Pearson is a service provider. Marketing preferences may be changed at any time.

Correcting/Updating Personal Information

If a user's personally identifiable information changes (such as your postal address or email address), we provide a way to correct or update that user's personal data provided to us. This can be done on the Account page. If a user no longer desires our service and desires to delete his or her account, please contact us at customer-service@informit.com and we will process the deletion of a user's account.


Users can always make an informed choice as to whether they should proceed with certain services offered by InformIT. If you choose to remove yourself from our mailing list(s) simply visit the following page and uncheck any communication you no longer want to receive: www.informit.com/u.aspx.

Sale of Personal Information

Pearson does not rent or sell personal information in exchange for any payment of money.

While Pearson does not sell personal information, as defined in Nevada law, Nevada residents may email a request for no sale of their personal information to NevadaDesignatedRequest@pearson.com.

Supplemental Privacy Statement for California Residents

California residents should read our Supplemental privacy statement for California residents in conjunction with this Privacy Notice. The Supplemental privacy statement for California residents explains Pearson's commitment to comply with California law and applies to personal information of California residents collected in connection with this site and the Services.

Sharing and Disclosure

Pearson may disclose personal information, as follows:

  • As required by law.
  • With the consent of the individual (or their parent, if the individual is a minor)
  • In response to a subpoena, court order or legal process, to the extent permitted or required by law
  • To protect the security and safety of individuals, data, assets and systems, consistent with applicable law
  • In connection the sale, joint venture or other transfer of some or all of its company or assets, subject to the provisions of this Privacy Notice
  • To investigate or address actual or suspected fraud or other illegal activities
  • To exercise its legal rights, including enforcement of the Terms of Use for this site or another contract
  • To affiliated Pearson companies and other companies and organizations who perform work for Pearson and are obligated to protect the privacy of personal information consistent with this Privacy Notice
  • To a school, organization, company or government agency, where Pearson collects or processes the personal information in a school setting or on behalf of such organization, company or government agency.


This web site contains links to other sites. Please be aware that we are not responsible for the privacy practices of such other sites. We encourage our users to be aware when they leave our site and to read the privacy statements of each and every web site that collects Personal Information. This privacy statement applies solely to information collected by this web site.

Requests and Contact

Please contact us about this Privacy Notice or if you have any requests or questions relating to the privacy of your personal information.

Changes to this Privacy Notice

We may revise this Privacy Notice through an updated posting. We will identify the effective date of the revision in the posting. Often, updates are made to provide greater clarity or to comply with changes in regulatory requirements. If the updates involve material changes to the collection, protection, use or disclosure of Personal Information, Pearson will provide notice of the change through a conspicuous notice on this site or other appropriate way. Continued use of the site after the effective date of a posted revision evidences acceptance. Please contact us if you have questions or concerns about the Privacy Notice or any objection to any revisions.

Last Update: November 17, 2020