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March 29, 2009

On xCode and posting more often

SO I want to actually post in this blog, you know, what blogs are meant for...

At the same time, I haven't done much solvengineer related stuff.

I've been trying to write an eHow article every day to get some extra cash. At the same time, I am learning programming on the Mac. Luckily I have my wife's iBook G4 with OSX 10.5 (from my inlaws). I upgraded the RAM on the ole' iBook and it runs the Leopard and xCode like a champ.

Now, this xCode is a tricky beast. On the surface it looked like .NET. You build the interface, link it to code, compile and run. Sounded familiar...And Objective C, I mean, that's based on C which I knew...this gotta be easy, after all Macs are always user friendly.

Well it's actually not easy, not for me. I had to study Objective C, using a book I downloaded from the Apple developer support website. In the process I realized that my knowledge of OOP was superficial and rarely put into practice. Making classes in VBA and C# and the instantiating them is child's play compared to the things a 'real programmer' does, especially one using Objective C. I never bothered to go deeper and truly understand inheritance and categories and protocols (or whatever these thinsg are called in C++, I am using the Objective C terms). But now after finishing the Objective C book I feel I have some grasp of all this OOP principles and their usage in ObjC .

However, that's only half of the story. I need to also learn how to make my code work on the iPhone. For that, I need to figure out how to use this Cocoa Touch set of libraries, and integrate it all with an interface in xCode.

I've been following the book "Beginnning iPhone Development",  but I am getting too impatient to read every chapter. Some stuff I don't need for the iPhone app I have in mind, such as Location services, Camera or Rotation Orientation.

So, I'm skipping some chapters and focusing on others. At the same time, until now I have been writing all the example codes from the book myself, but I noticed it hasn't given me a deeper understanding of the language and environment. Thus what I am trying to do is write my own little programs based on the examples in the book, but either simplified or with elements from different chapters thrown in the mix.  I've also gotten a lot of answers from the book's website forums, at iphonedevbook.com.

I am currently trying to build a simple graphical app on my own. Yesterday I tried integrating a view with the view controller and and Quartz drawing and a button action, and was greeted with 6 errors. I feel though that if I work through this app and get it to work, I will have understood many of the mechanisms I need to implement for my final goal , which is to develop an iPhone game.

As a side note, I already built the game engine, or a good chunk of it, in Processing. Figuring the physics was really easy compared to figuring out xCode. Which makes sense, since this is the kind of programming I have focused on for years. However, in order to be a successful scientific programmer I think one must really understand programming and make use of its powers, while being able to roll out full-fledged commercial applications. Anything else is kind of half-assed. Sure you can do a lot of scientific programming in MATLAB without touching OOP, but you'll always be tied to that particular IDE rather than making your programs widely available. (and possibly making some money in the process)


So, that's where I am, I wanted to write shorter posts and write more often...I feel drained of blogging juice now, but I hope to continue with some short updates on my xCode developing and with some tips as well.



March 28, 2009


So I started learning the ropes of iPhone development. To say the least, it is a very slow and frustrating process. I'm reading the "Beginning iPhone Development" book and also read the Apple official ObjectiveC book. But I still can't make anything on my own in xCode and Cocoa touch!

More rants to follow!

eHow Widget!

I have started with eHow and I wrote a bunch of articles already. Some are relevant to the scope of this website. So I placed an eHow widget with my five featured articles. It is to the left of this blog, in case you haven't seen it yet.

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