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macprogramming_10I’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_9First 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 the 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

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

iPhoneappcourseWith 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


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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