Get your marshmallow’s, its time to dive into cocoa

XcodeMany tech-heads know that while having a good operating system is, well…good, it is extremely important to cultivate a high quality developer base, and give back to them. That doesn’t just mean having a stranglehold on the market, as Microsoft does now, people develop for windows, because its windows:If windows didn’t have the mass market share it does, developers would go somewhere else. Why? Developing for windows is by no means easy, there aren’t great developer tools, and you have to avoid getting your, legitimate program quarantined by a user’s security system. MS has developers because users have MS.

The Mac is now proof of why the MS approach just doesn’t work at a high level. While the mac doesn’t have anywhere near the Goliath market share of Microsoft, it is an excellent space to develop for. There are a number of reasons for this:

Firstly, developer tools, the mac has some of the best developer tools on the planet. Every single Mac shipped today comes with access to Xcode , the same development kit that apple itself writes it’s applications with. Xcode works with almost every programming language, integrates deeply with the Mac, provides debugging features, and even comes with “code-snippets”, which take care of large swathes of application development for the developer, Xcode even has easy to use “application-converts”, that with a few check-boxes and a couple of lines of code, make any application 64 bit and multi-core enabled. And the cost of this great development system: Nothing. Xcode is free to every mac user.

That’s not it though, by no means. Every mac also get’s shipped with Quartz-Composer, a visual-code less framework for building mind-blowing applications for the mac. Want to create a visual RSS reader that displays your feeds in a customized view (want your feeds to spiral onto the screen, wan’t them to come up like old-skool terminal commands, you got it!), you can have it! In fact, quartz-composer can build many applications without a single line of code, and can even integrate with web API’s.

The Mac also provides a slick, easy to use, completely OS X integrated framework to build Apps on. Cocoa (did i mention everything i’ve mentioned, including cocoa, is free, for those not impressed by that, similar developer tools on windows, or on the mac just a few years ago, could cost thousands apon thousands). Cocoa take’s care of vast amounts of Dev-work for you, Cocoa makes sure that your app slides neatly into every Mac user’s experience, so that users can automate and script to your application, and access it as a tool from anywhere in the OS.

With leopard, the “core” api’s in the Mac OS become more polished and complete. Right now is a great time to get into Mac OS X Dev.

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