sugoll (sugoll) wrote,
sugoll
sugoll

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Development environments

As a programmer, I'm a very low-level tools user. Software development tools have been getting more and more complex and powerful over the past few decades, and it's mostly passed me by. There's a lot that people take for granted in a development environment (I know, because my company's product doesn't support all of Microsoft's VisualStudio features, and they complain about this), but I never use that stuff. Usually, I don't get more advanced than the occasional use of breakpoints. I do almost all of my debugging with print statements. Really.

I'm not sure why this is. I think it's because, most of the time, the more powerful debugging environments haven't been available to me. University was adb or sdb. Sun's debugger got better over time, but it was still very basic, when our development environment moved away from C and into Perl and Oracle SQL. At home, I was using Minix and then Linux, with bits of Java, then Perl again, and mainly stayed away from anything C-intensive at home. At work now, the debugging's split fifty-fifty between what our own compilers produce (and hence what our own, somewhat basic debuggers support), and debugging the compilers themselves (which are built with .Net compilers, but which are command-line utilities, and invoked with a huge range of internal options by the also-command-line driver programs).

All of which means that, while a generation of Windows programmers have grown up with VisualC++ etc., I've jumped around from system to system, and always got into the debugging with what I knew already ("print statements will get you there eventually") without taking the time to learn the local development tools. Probably not a cost-effective approach, but that's where I'm at.

Anyhoo, the point of this is that, presently, I'm trying to get into Xcode, the development environment on the Mac. Why? Because I currently have a need to provide some basic functionality to others on a Mac, and while I'm happy with doing it all via a shell-script, that's not really a viable option for the recipients. Hence, I want to learn how to produce an honest-to-God Mac application, and Xcode is the way to go.

I've been reading through the docs and playing around, and so far, my impression is: wibble.

There's a bucket of application frameworks. Class modeller, Data modeller, Interface Builder, Predicate Builder, and a whole host of documentation, but not a lot that actually tells you how you connect these things together to make a damn application (the Quick Tour is the best I've found so far, and I'll be reading the Cocoa tutorial next). Oh, and the Wikipedia article on Objective-C will be very useful. Because I like C, and I really, really dislike C++ (object-oriented programming has never really worked, IMO), so an alternative OO variant on the tool fills me with joy...


Anyway, it's interesting, but it's driving me up the wall trying to make sense of it all.
Tags: computers, mac
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