Ry's Objective-C Tutorial

TL;DR: An especially good tutorial for Objective-C from RyPress, which covers all the basics, without being too basic.

Over the years, I've used a few languages, starting with Pascal and Delphi then Java and C#, amongst others. Objective-C was always an oddball language because of its syntax and industry usage. It felt like C, but then there were the square brackets everywhere! However, in a lot of ways it was a long way ahead of its time: message passing and forwarding, protocols, dynamic typing, categories. Even back in 1996 when we did it at University, it felt different, and yet a lot more powerful than the current languages of the time (C, C++ and Java for me back then).

Since 2002, I've been firmly in the C# camp, which has evolved from a basic Delphi-like language (with squiggly brackets) into a well designed, fully formed language with a huge class library. Objective-C hadn't moved much until Apple released iOS, and when I first looked into iOS development, it felt old - its core ways of working hadn't moved with the times, manual memory management being one of the major things I wasn't willing to go back to.

Since then, Apple has done some fantastic work making it a more modern language, but without breaking the original spirit of the language. Properties, dot notation, ARC, blocks and literals go a long way to making me like the language.

A lot of it is the compiler writing code for you, eg:

{% codeblock lang:objc %}
id object1 = [someArray objectAtIndex:0];
{% endcodeblock %}


{% codeblock lang:objc %}
id object1 = someArray[0];
{% endcodeblock %}

But thats what the compiler should be there for - to make your life easier and safer, and to force you to write less (or no) boiler plate code. Ruby and Rails got this right in a big way, with rails at times feeling like it's own language.

Most of my mobile work, however, is in MonoTouch and Mono for Android, which is all C#-based. However, most samples for iOS development are in Objective-C, being able to at least read Objective-C code is (or should be) a requisite requirement for anyone doing iOS development with any tool - XCode, MonoTouch, RobyMotion, and even Phonegap.

The same goes for Android development: if you want to be effective, learn to read Java (thankfully, thats quite easy for C# developers).

Matt Gemmell linked to an especially good tutorial for Objective-C from RyPress, which covers all the basics, without being too basic.

If you are doing iOS development in any language, it's well worth reading and understanding.

Nic Wise

Nic Wise

Auckland, NZ