Wednesday, 17 September 2008

Book review: Xcode 3 Unleashed

Book: Xcode 3 Unleashed
Author: Fritz Anderson
Publisher: SAMS 2008
ISBN: 978-0321552631
Pages: 534
Links: Amazon | Safari | Publisher
This is a fairly well-paced introduction to the world of Xcode 3. It's suitably up-to-date (relevant for Leopard development using Xcode 3.0 , it works fine with Xcode 3.1; very little has changed). This means that it will probably have dated within a year, though.

It's well a produced book, printed in full colour with a large number of screenshots and an accessible writing style. The layout has been carefully prepared, with clear and useful warning and tip callouts. This makes it easy to follow.

Anderson begins with a whirlwind tour of the development of an application in Xcode. It is an interesting tutorial. However, it only serves to give you an idea of the available features without really explaining how to use them. You get a cursory look at: developing in C, using the debugger, making libraries, using Cocoa (a frankly too-fast romp through Objective C coding and making apps for the mac, this is too much for the book really - it's such a big and complex topic), using version control (Subversion in this case), plists, bundles, unit tests, documentation and more.

Phew! After that's over you have an idea what's going on, but no great understanding of how to put it into practice in your own Xcode projects.

The second part is a far-too-brief "detailed" description of the IDE. This covers just simple project navigation, the build system (for make veterans), debugging, and some of Apple's cool profiling instrumentation mojo. I'd've hoped that this second part would be about twice the size of the tutorial section. However, it's about half the size.

This book is a good introduction to using Xcode, but ultimately leaves you with as many questions as the answers it provides.


  • Full colour, many screenshots
  • Good writing style
  • Good broad overview of development with Xcode
  • Not in-depth on any topic
  • Fairly unless index
I'd recommend this as a fast-paced introductory text for an experienced programmer who knows nothing about Xcode. But it will only whet your appetite. You'll probably need another more in-depth tutorial afterwards to really get under the hood of Xcode.

Recommended with reservations

1 comment:

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