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Thread: Development on the Mac!

  1. #1

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    Development on the Mac!

    Hi folks. Please bear with me on this one...

    I have been getting increasingly frustrated with Windows, it's become bloated, overly complicated and with the release of 10 it's now more of a data mining application than an operating system. Now I have nothing to hide, I don't watch porn and I don't launder money, but I want to be able to choose when I share data, and now with Windows that means turning it on or not.

    I've been using my MacBook more and more recently, partly because I love Logic Pro for recording and Final Cut is a great movie editor. However every morning I get up and turn on my Windows box because that's just what I do, it's habit. If I replaced this PC with a Mac there would be no difference to my average day, in fact in a lot of ways it would be made easier. The only thing that makes me think twice is Visual Studio which is a fantastic IDE.

    I only code for myself these days, I have some 30+ years behind me as a VB developer, but I like to keep up with the times and I'll often get an idea in my head and work on it for days. I would miss VB, but maybe it's time to start learning something else.

    There is the Parallels option that would mean I can run Windows on the Mac therefore solving the problem completely, but it's $80 a year for the pro version with VS support and I really, really dislike yearly subscriptions for software.

    So, what is available as an IDE on the Mac? I have Xcode but I'm never going to move to C, I would sooner ingest my testicles. Xcode now includes Swift, but it's a case sensitive language which I would really struggle with. I've thought about Python but I would like to include phone apps in my dabbling. C# would be great for me, but I believe it's a VS language only?

    Obviously I can write any code in notepad if I really wanted to, I only need a compiler to test run, but that really isn't an option is it. A helpful intuitive IDE really is necessary.

    I know this is a VB forum, it feels a little disrespectful to ask these questions here, and I'm sorry for doing so but this is pretty much the only development forum I use, and I hope there are some helpful cross machine developers out there that can share some knowledge and perhaps offer some advice.

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    Re: Development on the Mac!

    I have little to contribute, but:

    Quote Originally Posted by tclancey View Post
    There is the Parallels option that would mean I can run Windows on the Mac therefore solving the problem completely, but it's $80 a year for the pro version with VS support and I really, really dislike yearly subscriptions for software.
    ... how does this address any of your concerns?

    Anything you create on a VM there still isn't going to run on the Mac, and all of the "Windows negatives" you see are still there within the VM.

  3. #3
    Super Moderator Shaggy Hiker's Avatar
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    Re: Development on the Mac!

    Well, there's Xamarin, which was recently bought by MS and is now included in VS. Prior to that, a seat license with Xamarin was expensive enough that you wouldn't consider it lightly. Now, you can have it for free. The downside is that you're going to feel like you ingested your testicles, as you put it.

    MS makes beautiful, effective IDEs. They haven't had a chance to do anything with Xamarin, so you get it pretty much as is, which is a beautiful, defective IDE. A small difference in spelling, a big difference in experience. I'm currently cursing my way through Xamarin. The Brits around here have a phrase "used it in anger", which Americans might translate to "used seriously", except that when it comes to Xamarin, if you get to the point where you are productive with it....you will most definitely have used it in anger by anybodies definition of the term.

    So, there's the most half-hearted recommendation I hope you'll ever get.

    As for Win10, you can turn off all that junk...or not. The thing is, most people use that stuff anyways and don't know it. Cortana is the Windows version of Siri and whatever Google calls their version. They work by gleaning as much information as they can from every aspect of your interaction with the system and synthesizing that into information. If you use a smart phone, and to some extent even if you use a flip phone, you are giving away far more than Win10 is collecting. The big thing with Win10 is that it made the news. MS bashing is pretty old. It was in full swing by 1992, and was probably around in the 80s, so when MS did what Apple had been doing for a decade....everybody screamed. Why didn't they scream about Apple doing the same thing? They did...quietly, such as the thing about Apple storing travel logs, but for the most part, Apple has always had its fans, and a large number of them have been VERY forgiving. I followed the trade press in the dark days (for Apple) of the 90s. The Apple magazines were mostly a mix of articles bashing MS for being unstable and articles explaining how to keep your Mac from crashing regularly (to sum it up: Once you get it stable, NEVER attach ANYTHING). Once Apple abandoned OS8...they floundered, and came out stronger than before, but the fan base is still there. Back then, nobody was allowed to criticize Apple if they wanted to get published, and now...it still seems cliquish, to me.
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    Re: Development on the Mac!

    The Mac community is without doubt another consideration, for the most part they seem to be a bit "up themselves", I already know getting help can be jarring to say the least, but I have a strong disposition and I'm prepared to put my toff face on when needed!

    I know you can turn a load of stuff off in Windows 10, but they turn it all back on again with updates. Trawling through the registry after every update just to set Acrobat as the default pdf viewer is getting boring.
    To be honest I'd be behind MS if they let the devs work on the code for a year, dredge out all the sludge, dead code and duplicated rubbish, and stopped the data mining. But that isn't going to happen!

    I'm not making a political stand, I just want an OS that works and isn't full of crap. And OS X feels better at the moment.

    Dilettante - doens't matter, if I write an app using VS under Parallels, I'll run the app in Windows under Parallels. I'm not looking for a holy grail!

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    Re: Development on the Mac!

    As far as I know Xamarin doesn't do a thing for Mac, just iOS. But I stopped looking at it quite a while back too so things might be different now. I doubt it though, desktops were never its target.

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    Super Moderator Shaggy Hiker's Avatar
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    Re: Development on the Mac!

    One thing about Apple that I'm not quite clear on is the licensing. I assume that you can write applications for yourself for free using whatever (I know nothing about the IDE, but there's that Swift language), but if you want to distribute it you pay. I'm not sure if that's true. You may have to pay just to write. Somebody on here probably knows.

    I've abandoned Apple because I REALLY need an external SD card for any app I write or am likely to write, which pretty much rules out Apple products. I can't say that I understand their decision on that point, but they've always been pretty consistent.
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    Super Moderator Shaggy Hiker's Avatar
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    Re: Development on the Mac!

    Quote Originally Posted by dilettante View Post
    As far as I know Xamarin doesn't do a thing for Mac, just iOS. But I stopped looking at it quite a while back too so things might be different now. I doubt it though, desktops were never its target.
    Good point. I know so little about the Apple environment that I always figured iOS ran on all their hardware. I guess it's MacOS and iOS, right?
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    Fanatic Member esposito's Avatar
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    Re: Development on the Mac!

    Quote Originally Posted by Shaggy Hiker View Post
    Good point. I know so little about the Apple environment that I always figured iOS ran on all their hardware. I guess it's MacOS and iOS, right?
    For the moment the exact name of the Mac operating system is just OS X but Apple said they are going to rename it macOS shortly.
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    Re: Development on the Mac!

    XCode is the IDE for Mac. If you don't like Obj-C (which certainly has its issues), you ought to have a look at Swift. It's much more sane than Obj-C.

    As an alternative, there's Xamarin. dilettante's wrong, it has libraries for creating Mac applications. I'm not sure if you have to buy Visual Studio to get access to Xamarin for Mac. The Xamarin IDE is Xamarin Studio, probably have a look at it and poke around. VB is supported, but in my experience not very well. You'll do much better with C#.

    (The reason you can do both iOS and Mac OS with Xamarin's probably convenience. The Mac OS GUI framework is Cocoa, and the iOS GUI framework is CocoaTouch. They're very similar, and share many APIs. So 90% of the effort of creating CocoaTouch (which became Xamarin.iOS) was probably creating 90% of a Cocoa wrapper.)

    If your problem with C is "seriously, forget manual memory management, no one has the time to waste on that", you'll be glad to know both C# and Swift have automatic memory management and, if you WANT to use pointers, you have to work a little harder to get at them.

    If your problem with C is "seriously, who can read curly braces", I'm afraid no one can help you, there's not a fairly common GUI solution for writing Mac applications for people with a brace allergy.

    RE: Shaggy Hiker's #6, Apple licensing is very much like Windows licensing.

    • If you download free XCode, you can write applications that you can distribute yourself. They will be unsigned, so default Mac OS security will make it difficult for people to install them.
    • If you don't like that, you can buy a developer certificate from a certificate authority and sign your application. This costs (I think) about $100/year. Last I checked, there were two CAs and MS owns a major stake in one of them. Neat, that.
    • Alternatively, you could get a $99/year Apple Developer subscription. That's what's required to distribute in the Mac App Store. This subscription comes with certificates that will sign your app and streamline the installation process. And, as a side benefit, Apple does the payment processing, hosting, etc. for you (for a cut of the sale price.)

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    Fanatic Member esposito's Avatar
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    Re: Development on the Mac!

    Quote Originally Posted by Sitten Spynne View Post
    ...there's not a fairly common GUI solution for writing Mac applications for people with a brace allergy.[/list]
    I disagree. I develop (Mac) OS X and Windows software with Delphi FireMonkey. The Object Pascal language does not contain any curly braces and the Delphi Firemonkey GUI is very similar to Visual Studio.

    By the way, if you are looking for a free/open source development tool to create cross-platform applications, you may want to take a look at Lazarus, which is based on the Object Pascal language:

    http://www.lazarus-ide.org
    Last edited by esposito; Jul 14th, 2016 at 10:53 AM.
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    Re: Development on the Mac!

    Oh. That's good to know! Borland Turbo Pascal was one of my earliest programming languages, and Pascal's always had a special place in my heart.

    I guess I left out, due to personal bias, Java. Though it's definitely a curly braces language. But for all MS talks about .NET being cross-platform, Java's always delivered where MS's policy always had the footnote, "If you want to write a CLR for Linux, we won't sue you." I don't like Java. As a language, it's lagged behind C# in features by a fairly wide margin. I also found its toolchains and IDE very temperamental every time I had to touch them. But it's there, it's free, and it works, which practically guarantees it'll be present forever.

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