6 Beginner Resources For Learning Mac Programming

macprogramming 10   6 Beginner Resources For Learning Mac ProgrammingI’m determined to learn computer programming in my lifetime. Yes, it’s all a foreign language to me, but I so admire the work that developers do. I think they should receive Emmy awards or something. Many of them certainly don’t get the recognition (or financial backing) they deserve.

If you’re like me and are curious about learning Mac programming, you might be surprised to discover the amount of free resources to get you started.

Mac Automation Made Simple

macprogramming 9   6 Beginner Resources For Learning Mac ProgrammingFirst off, if you’re totally new to programming, you should consider checking out Ben Waldie’s podcast series titled Mac Automation Made Simple (iTunes Store link.) His tutorials focus on AppleScript and Apple’s Automator program, both of which come installed with Mac OS X.

Waldie’s series includes great introductory topics for learning Mac programming, such as: Introducing AppleScript and Script Editor, Extending Automator with Third-Party Actions, Creating an Automator PDF Workflow, and Creating a Microsoft Word 2008 Automator Workflow.

AppleScript is probably one of the most basic programming languages that new users can learn. Start with the first chapter of theĀ Apple Training series to introduce yourself to the program and the language.

Automator, on the other hand, requires no coding language. It’s a program for non-programmers, but it does help if you can think like a programmer, in terms of setting up logical workflows to achieve desired automations on your computer. If you’re an absolute beginner with no prior experience with say JavaScript, definitely start out with Apple’s Automator. My own Automator’s tutorial, Resizing Files Using Automator, will introduce you to the program.

Apple’s Developers Tools

macprogramming 7   6 Beginner Resources For Learning Mac Programming

Apple itself provides a wealth of resources for programming. It’s part of the reason for so many iPhone apps and other applications being produced. After you sign up on their Developers Tools site, you can download PDF guides for learning languages like C, Objective-C, X-code, and Cocoa.

You can download a free copy of X-code (which includes the iPhone SDK) Interface Builder for free. These programs, along with Dashcode, also come installed on the Mac OS X installation disc, but they don’t install automatically.

iPhone Application Programming

iPhoneappcourse   6 Beginner Resources For Learning Mac ProgrammingWith the popularity of iPhone apps, Standard University, I believe, was one of the first educational institutions to produce a course on iPhone development. The entire course is available as a video tutorial podcast series (iTunes Store link.)

It takes some time to work through, but it covers the tools and APIs required to build applications for the iPhone platform using the iPhone SDK. Handouts for the course, in the form of PDF’s, are included with the podcasts.

Topics include: Introduction to Mac OS X and Cocoa Touch, Using Objective-C, View Controller Basics, Table Views, How to Build an iPhone App That Doesn’t Suck, Debugging Tips, Optimzing OpenGL for iPhone, and Unit Testing.

Hello World

macprogramming 3   6 Beginner Resources For Learning Mac Programming

Nearly all courses will start off with a simple Hello World tutorial. After you download Apple’s coding applications, linked above, you might want to start out with this tutorial, An Absolute Beginner’s Guide to iPhone Development, to quickly introduce yourself to coding.

While learning Mac programming is not as simple as adding and dropping files, it’s not rocket science. It can be learned.

If you are a beginning developer, let us know how you got started.

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Too bad I need an Apple computer for doing iPhone development.

akshay kankanmeli

truly an awesome post,i really it…
but why is it that this article hasn’t been checked for spelling mistakes??

Bakari Chavanu

akshay, what spelling mistakes are you referring to?

akshay kankanmel

wow u people do read comments…
the first bold heading says “Mac Automation Mad Simple”
i think it should have been “Mac Automation Made Simple”…

Bakari Chavanu

And that is what you call “spelling mistakes?” I believe it’s called a typo. The title is used again in the next paragraph without a typo. But anyway, I apologize that a few words out a 500-word article, written for a site that doesn’t cost you or others a dime to read is a cause for comment.

akshay kankanmel

with ALL due respect sir, i did not have any such intention…
i’m sorry if i offended u…
please keep writing more such fantastic articles, i really like them a lot…

Bakari Chavanu

Akshay, I wasn’t really offended. I just try to remind readers from time to time that the free content they receive online comes through the hard work and time of content producers. I and the editors of this site strive to make MUO a truly professional site, but we’re not perfect and occasionally because we produce so much content we will miss mistakes. But I felt as if the mistake you called us out on is not major enough to warrant comment. But apology accepted. And thank you for being a loyal reader.

Andrea Galli

NIce post, but if you want to talk about Mac programming I think you should at least mention Cocoa, Carbon and object-oriented programming in general. There are plenty of resources for beginners.

Automator can hardly be considered a programming interface, and so is AppleScript, in my opinion.


I totally agree with you Andrea. Cocoa wasn’t mentioned at all and automator isn’t programming, that’s why they call it automator.

Bakari Chavanu

Andrea, you’re right, Automator and AppleScript are not programming interfaces but they both are about as close to what most of us will ever get down in terms of Mac automation. But your point is well taken.


“Comments with abusive content, sarcastic grammar nitpicking, self-promotion will not be published” should be:
“Comments with abusive content, sarcastic grammar nitpicking, or self-promotion will not be published”.


Patrick, for that reason I find this site really hard to read as it doesn’t flow and simple words are left out which is common for writers who know English as a second language.

keyur patel

nice article, thanks