Some Recent History

Matt West
Hello. I’m Matt West. I’m a programmer living in West Yorkshire in the UK. I am learning how to write applications for the iPhone and iPod Touch, but I want to explain why I want to do that, and how I came to begin that.

An iPod Shuffle

A few years ago I was fortunate enough to receive a first generation iPod Shuffle as a gift. This was the third MP3 player I had had, but the two earlier ones were awful to use. The Shuffle’s good physical design, ease-of-use, and reliability first turned me on to Apple products.

Around that same time I came across Rails and attended RailsConf in London and saw first hand how people with Mac computers were a happy bunch. So I bought a MacBook, and have enjoyed using it since then.

Cocoa training course

Spurred on by the inspirational writing of Mac developers such as Wil Shipley and Daniel Jalkut, I began learning Cocoa but found it quite tough to learn in snatched moments out of life with my wife and our two young children. I would not say Cocoa is hard, it is a graceful framework. But there is a lot to learn when starting out in Mac development. So I took a week off work (unusual for a contractor I know) in November 2007 to attend the brilliant Cocoa development course run by Paul and Liz Lynch down in beautiful Old Beaconsfield in Buckinghamshire. The course was a week long, and very intense – there was just me attending. Paul is a good lecturer, and is very knowledgeable and approachable so makes for a good tutor. I cross-examined him at every stage of the day, every day (the poor man!). Thanks Paul. I recommend this course; I found out about it through seeing the ads on the ADC mailing list.

Leopard Tech Talk

In December I went to the Leopard Tech Talk in Edinburgh, Scotland. It was really nice to meet up with a few people from the very useful and always thought-provoking MacSB mailing list / group.

Even though many people are excited about Core Animation, my favourite Leopard feature is the super-fast Spotlight search facility to launch applications, look up words in the dictionary, oh and search for things too. Under Tiger, I used to use LaunchBar and QuickSilver to launch applications using keyboard shortcuts. I have not bothered to install those apps, because I just use Spotlight. It is possible to integrate in to Spotlight by writing an importer for your app. This is called by Spotlight when a user searches for something. Like so much of Mac programming, it nostalgically reminds me of coding for the Palm OS; you would write a routine in your Palm app to respond to a Find launch code.

iPhone Development

By the beginning of 2008 I had a small Mac application in development but hadn’t got as far as I’d like to with it. Then I was delighted when Apple announced the SDK for the iPhone and iPod Touch. So I have been busy since then. I must admit its a bit of a struggle because I am still doing Enterprise Java systems for a living during the day.

So I am going to abandon my family once again for a week by going to this year’s Apple WWDC. I am over the moon about it. It will be my first time to California.

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Some Recent History

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