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Book review: Programming iOS 4

“Programming iOS 4” by Matt Neuburg is the best book about iOS SDK out there.

If you find yourself lost in the official Apple documentation, this book can be your final glimmer of hope.
The book is intended for intermediate programmers that already has some notions about OOP and, at least, a little of experience with C.

The book is divided in 6 section:

  • The first section begins with a providential revise of basic C syntax (trust me, you need it, especially if you too accustomed to an high-level language). The other chapters in this section are dedicated to a basic OOP introduction and finally to an in-depth analysis of obj-c syntax.
  • The second section is an introduction to XCode. It explores the tools for debugging, getting documentation and design the GUI for the app. Next it explains how to get a developer certificate to sign apps and run them on real devices, and what are the procedures to follow if you want to get published in the App store.
  • The third sections is about Cocoa. It shows the basic types used around the framework and how to manually manage the memory (in iOS 5 the new mechanism, ARC, allows a semi-automatic management). Then it illustrates the major design-patterns you need to understand, once you got them it’s all downhill.
  • The 4th part it’s all dedicated to views and animations. My suggestion it’s to skip that on first reading of the book because it’s really tough to get for a novice.
  • The 5th part presents the basic controllers. You really need to understand this part before starting to write apps. However I have to admit the ViewControllers are covered best in other books I read before.
  • The 6th part is definitely the worst. It explores some common frameworks in the sdk, but often it’s very superficial and useless. I suggest to completely skip this section and read about frameworks in their official documentation.
  • The last part is indeed one of most useful: it covers basic networking, threads and asynchronous programming, json and xml parsing.

Definitely a must have for every iOS programmer, I can’t wait for the next edition.

Score: 4/5