Programming iOS 4 by Matt Neuburg

Upshot: If you want to get into iOS Programming from the ground up ‘the hard way’ (without NimbleKit / PhoneGap, etc) then this is the book for you. Pros: This is a soup to nuts 1200+ page book. Cons: This is a soup to nuts 1200+ page book. Seriously: Look at the table of contents.

Programming iOS 4 by Matt Neuburg, simply takes my breath away. I wish that Matt published it a couple years ago when I started my rocky journey that took detours into NimbleKit, web apps, Kernighan & Ritchie’s C Programming 2nd ed (aka K&R2), as well as a couple other books on the subject.

I started with the early draft of this book and will probably keep referring to the 1200+ pages of the 1st edition —according to my iPad with the fonts way small— for quite some time.

If you want to know what to expect from this book, then start with chapter 1. Matt guides you through the thorny edges of K&R2, pointing out the gotchas along the way. The only caution I have for beginners is not to get lost in K&R2, which is a VERY DENSE book which pre-supposes that you have a programming background (in FORTRAN, PASCAL, etc). The rest of Programming iOS 4 DOES refer back to K&R2 from time to time, and this is the ONLY outside book that Matt refers back to. For good reason.

But stick with it— and, even if you are already versed in programming, but new to iOS— there will be a lot of content that will acquaint you with Objective C, the current IDE for iOS projects, XCode 4.x; as well as the more advanced topics like Cocoatouch & the frameworks that are used in iOS (local data storage restrictions, etc). And, like the first sections for the beginners, Matt has filled the sections with ‘why you wouldn’t do this’, warnings, and gotchas.

Some of the bleeding edge technologies like Game Center & iAds are not covered, but what do you expect? As Matt says in the epilogue: “This book must come to an end, but your exploration of iOS will go on and on. Matt even helpfully outlines the areas of which Game Center is one.

For a 1200+ pages of zero-to-app deployment this is well worth the price admission. Highly recommended. For those in doubt, I suggest you skim the table of contents on the product page to see if this book is for you.

Reading environment: ePub on iPad, iPhone, Firefox ePubReader plugin on MacBook Pro.

Disclosure: I received access to the early release as well as ‘final’ edition of this eBook from O’Reilly for review purposes.