Official Forum for Programming in Objective-C (the iPhone Programming Language) - Stephen Kochan
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Author Topic: Next edition  (Read 14669 times)
skochan
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« Reply #15 on: April 09, 2010, 03:46:03 PM »

Thanks, I had actually contacted Mike Ash a while back (before I knew he had already committed to his current project).  I will reach out to Matt Gallagher. 

Cheers,

Steve
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Phillip Anthony
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« Reply #16 on: April 11, 2010, 11:32:36 AM »

Steve,

I know you are getting inundated with suggestions for your next edition, but PLEASE, don't overlook the fact that there are a lot of future Obj-C programmer's who will realize the significance of your book as the invaluable stepping-stone to mastering Obj-C that it presently is.  The subtitle to your book is 'A complete introduction to the Objective-C language ...', with emphasis on 'introduction'.  Most novice's, whether they realize it or not, will benefit immensely from a book of this nature if the author utilizes the K.I.S.S philosophy: Keep It Simple Steve. 

I'm all for a more advanced Obj-C book written by you.  Your writing style is impeccable and your knowledge of the subject is second to none. And trust me, I have nearly all the books you recommend at the back of your book.  I know the rage these days is iPhone and now iPad app programming, but the basics must be understood completely before a person can really see the 'light'  of what they are aspiring to do.  Whet their appetite for more advanced knowledge, sure, but again, this is an introduction and the best one to my knowledge on the market.

If you are going to add advanced content to your next book, I think a lot of us would benefit from a good chapter on using the Xcode Debugger.  A lot of books make mention of the value of using the Debugger, but few take the time to demo its value via a robust example.  At the moment, I am reading Fritz Anderson's 'Xcode 3 Unleashed'.  Mr. Anderson makes EXTENSIVE use of the debugger and  I have learned a great deal from this powerful tool via his book.  I won't belabor the value of this invaluable tool.

If you do write an advanced Obj-C book, it would gladded my soul should you chose to create a working calculator and a graphing application both with GUI that we can build on.  The graphing app would be an invaluable tool in both its utility and design. 

So, to be clear, i would love for you to write a fresh book on advanced Objective-C programming, but please keep your present book as an introduction to the language.  Many future Obj-C programmer's will Thank You! for it.

Best,
Phillip Anthony
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skochan
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« Reply #17 on: April 11, 2010, 11:39:23 AM »

Phillip,

Not to worry.  I always have and always will keep in mind that this is an introductory text.   Most of my ideas are centered around explaining in more detail topics that readers have found confusing or perhaps could use a diagram or just  a more thorough explanation.  Also,  Part II can be made to be a bit more iPhone-oriented, but that doesn't mean introducing anything like Interface Builder or more advanced topics.  It may mean discussing the iPhone's file system, for example, in Chapter 16.  These ideas do not change my approach or the book's orientation or organization.  The main goal is to teach Objective-C, not UI's, and certainly not iPhone application development.

The intermediate or advanced level book, if I decide to write one, is where the more advanced concepts would be taught.

Thanks for your input!

Cheers,

Steve
« Last Edit: April 11, 2010, 11:41:20 AM by skochan » Logged
jocko757
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« Reply #18 on: April 13, 2010, 10:26:56 AM »

Steve,

     On page 15, in the paragraph above figure 2.8 (Xcode Debugger Console window), your write:

"If this window doesn't automatically appear, go to the main menu bar and select Console from the Run menu."

I spent 2 months doing just that, because my Console window didn't automatically appear.  I just found out that if you go into the Preferences menu of Xcode, under the Debugging tab, you can select "Show Console" on start.  That knowledge would have saved me a lot of mouse clicks.

So my suggestion would be to sneak a line in the text letting newbies like me know about that option.  Smiley

Thanks for writing a great book.

Jack
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skochan
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« Reply #19 on: April 13, 2010, 10:36:26 AM »

Thanks Jack,

Yes, someone also pointed that out to me.  I'm not a power user (e.g.,  I don't use a lot of keyboard shortcuts, or bother to learn them).  Once I learn what I need to get by, I usually remain blissfully ignorant of what I don't know!   

With that said, the preference you mention is certainly useful, and I will definitely mention it in the text.

Cheers,

Steve
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wkinser
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« Reply #20 on: May 09, 2010, 04:42:47 AM »

For me, the biggest thing lacking in the 2nd edition is a more thorough glossary that lists all the terms you use in the book. I know why you chose to delay the explanations in the text until later chapters, but at least maybe include them in the glossary? There are a few C-isms like "routine" that are used early and often, but not really explained until much later. I like your glossary definitions as they are (model of concision), but maybe just add the entries to cover the terms you use. For newbies (and I imagine there are many), almost everything is new, and this would be helpful.

As someone else mentioned, maybe less emphasis on fractions? While I understand that using them in your examples is more about the concepts rather than the actual fractions, I found that each time they showed up I wanted to scream. By the end I was in fraction vertigo.

Maybe cut the iPhone SDK section, and write a separate book on that? There are many other books now that cover just that. Also, the SDK is a moving target, while your book serves more as a reference for beginners.

Also, the answers to exercises really should be in the book, I think. I read your explanation on why you chose to leave them out, but anyone reading the book will know about this forum anyway. If teachers are concerned about cheating, then they should just create new exercises. By leaving out the answers in the printed book, there is a tacit admission that teachers have preference over the general readers. When I do the exercises, I just want a quick confirmation that I was right; if not, then the forum is a great place to find out why.

Speaking of which, I think the greatest resource that you provide is this forum and your presence in this forum. Immensely helpful, and I hope that never changes. Also, nice plug from Conway and Hillegass in their new book. Can't think of a better recommendation. (They stole your carFactory = class, car = instance metaphor! Hope you get royalties on those.)

Thanks for listening!

William
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skochan
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« Reply #21 on: May 09, 2010, 07:20:37 AM »

William,

Thanks for all the input.

Some feedback:

Glossary: I'll try to expand it based on your suggestions.
iPhone app:  I  wanted to start the bridge from the Objective-C book to an SDK book/training course.  It seems like a nice way to show how all the work on the Fraction and Calculator classes can be used in a real iPhone application.    The calculator is more about programming the logic than it is about the UI, IB, etc.  Other SDK books typically don't focus much on programming; it's more about the mechanics.
Answers: I don't want to encourage the readers to get easy answers by simply flipping to the back of the book and saying "Oh yeah, that's how I would have done it."  In fact, that's also why I don't provide "official" answers here.  The only way to learn this stuff is by doing.  I'm hoping people will "do" the exercises.
Hillegass plug:  Yes, that is appreciated.  They have their own objective-c book scheduled for release at the end of the year.  We'll see if the plug survives!  Smiley

Cheers,

Steve
« Last Edit: May 09, 2010, 07:23:28 AM by skochan » Logged
chocolate365
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« Reply #22 on: June 17, 2010, 04:39:40 PM »

Hi Steve,

I recently had eye surgery and had to remain sedentary during my recovery, so I decided to take the opportunity to devote myself to learning Obj-C. I'd been tinkering with other books off and on for months, without much success. They all seem to begin with "Hello World!", then jump right off a cliff into things that make no sense.

Your book was a wonderful surprise!  Things that had previously been confusing were explained so clearly. I practically flew through the book and having it now as reference, I'm moving on to others (Big Nerd Ranch, specifically).

For a future edition, please consider moving the chapter on memory management closer to the beginning of the book and, as someone mentioned earlier, expand more on the use of the stack and the heap. This will go a long way toward making the use of pointers easier to understand.

The other thing that I really had to think too hard about (yes, I know, I shouldn't be so lazy) is how to divide the code up into separate source and header files. I know you deliberately avoided that issue early on for simplicity's sake, but once you get into properties, categories and protocols, a more explicit explanation would be helpful. And in situations where there is flexibility on how to do it, tell us what the de facto standard is, i.e., what is considered good style.

Thanks for a wonderful learning experience.

And thank you, thank you, thank you for no "Hello World!" programs!!





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skochan
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« Reply #23 on: June 17, 2010, 07:07:23 PM »

Quote
And thank you, thank you, thank you for no "Hello World!" programs!!

Smiley
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BrianX
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« Reply #24 on: July 20, 2010, 11:50:24 AM »

How about a bit of information on how to compile from the command line using GNUstep Foundation for Linux or Windows/MinGW users? Most of the book is pretty much platform-independent, but anyone who isn't using a Mac is sort of on their own as far as bootstrapping a development environment.
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MorphingDragon
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« Reply #25 on: July 20, 2010, 08:41:55 PM »

How about a bit of information on how to compile from the command line using GNUstep Foundation for Linux or Windows/MinGW users? Most of the book is pretty much platform-independent, but anyone who isn't using a Mac is sort of on their own as far as bootstrapping a development environment.

Such a topic would probably be better suited for an "Advanced Book". The C# book that's required reading at my Uni contains a chapter on Mono, which just confuses a lot of beginners. When trying to learn and master something new, adding C++ style "gotchas" is more hindering than productive.

---

You mentioned on MacRumors (I got a temporary ban for being overtly sarcastic) that you were thinking on adding a section on the blocks runtime? If you do, could you also include some GCD basics? Apple's docs are a bit confusing.
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BrianX
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« Reply #26 on: July 23, 2010, 10:07:43 AM »

Such a topic would probably be better suited for an "Advanced Book". The C# book that's required reading at my Uni contains a chapter on Mono, which just confuses a lot of beginners. When trying to learn and master something new, adding C++ style "gotchas" is more hindering than productive.

...maybe? I guess where I'm coming from on this is that given the scope of the book, except for the iPhone chapter, Xcode is sort of secondary. I mean, there's really no need for going over all the ins and outs of Project Center and Gorm, but an appendix that includes the basics like boilerplate makefiles and the necessary compiler options would seem to be sufficient, and enough out of the way not to interfere with the overall flow of the book.
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skochan
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« Reply #27 on: July 23, 2010, 12:10:01 PM »

The first edition of my book did include more information about running programs under GNUStep and MinGW (I believe I posted some of those pages here on the forum somewhere).  The first part of the 1st edition also assumed a "generic" objective-C compiler, using Object and not NSObject as the root object.  Back then, I was hoping Objective-C would catch on and be used more across platforms.  That didn't happen, so for the second edition, I made the book more Mac-oriented right from the start.   I'm not likely to go back unless i do in fact see Objective-C gain acceptance as a language used across platforms.

Cheers,

Steve Kochan
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wkinser
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« Reply #28 on: November 04, 2010, 07:51:33 PM »

I saw that the 3rd edition is due out soon (Feb), and I can't wait to see it. Is there a beta or a "rough cuts" version available? I checked the publisher's site, but didn't see anything.

Also, are you planning any more books? We need more books like yours. Maybe a Cocoa Touch book as a follow-up to Objective-C, or a Cocoa Touch to Cocoa book for those extending their iOS knowledge with OS X development? I would imagine there would be a market for that now with the Mac App Store.
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