My Mac Adventures, Part 1

I have been marketing SwordSearcher Bible Software for around ten years now. Throughout that time, there has been a common theme of email I receive on a regular basis: “will this work on my Mac?” — with variations such as “why isn’t there a Mac version?” or “do you hate Mac users?” (yes, seriously!). My response has always been the same: programming for a Mac is different from programming on Windows, and, I have never owned a Mac.

Well, sometimes I am a little slow to realize something. (Just sometimes.) In this case, what has taken me such a long time to realize is that there are people out there who want to buy my software for their Mac! Since this has finally dawned on me, I have decided to begin the adventure of programming for a Mac.

The new Mac Mini provided me with the perfect starting point. It is a nice, small “Mac in a box” that works with my existing monitor, keyboard, and mouse. A simple USB switch is all that I needed to be able to press a button and go between my Mac and my Windows PC.

I’ve been using this for some time now, and I have to admit that I am impressed by what Apple is offering now. Apple’s operating system, Mac OS X, is an extremely robust environment. Yes, it has it’s “lickable” interface (I say that because the well-rendered buttons and other objects of the GUI are so shiny and nice and shaped like hard candy — it makes you want to lick them). But underneath that shiny hood is an extremely powerful, bullet-proof Unix operating system. With OS X, Apple has turned the Mac from just a fancy user interface unsuited for power users, into a power user’s dream. All you have to do is open up a terminal window, and you have a fully functioning Unix command line with all the power and configurability that you could ever want.

Apple is doing something now that they should have done a long time ago: giving developers good development tools. And I mean giving. Everything I need to write software for Mac OS X is included free of charge. Apple has finally realized that they will never grow their market share without getting people to write software for their platform! The bottom line is that my Mac cost me just as much as my last Delphi upgrade — and the Mac comes with everything I need to program.

I have spent the last month or so getting up to speed with Mac development, using Cocoa/Objective-C. And I have found that while Apple’s tools (XCode and Interface Builder) are not quite equal to Delphi on Windows, they are sufficient and suited for the task of quickly building a working application.

So anyway, this is my first log entry in my Mac Adventures. I have committed to developing SwordSearcher for the Mac and I will try to keep this log up to date on my progress, and will probably post technical musings on XCode and rant about things I don’t like on the Mac from time to time :-) . SwordSearcher Mac will be designed from the ground-up to be a Mac program — it will not be a mere “port” of the Windows version. If all goes as planned, I should have SwordSearcher for Mac available at the end of 2005 or the beginning of 2006. If you are a Mac user interested in beta testing, drop me an email and I will let you know once a test version is available.

This does not mean that I am abandoning the Windows version of SwordSearcher. They will be developed simultaneously and I will be releasing updates to the Windows version indefinitely.

Learning new things is fun.

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