Xcode 3 Unleashed, Part II

September 10, 2008

This post is a continuation of Part I of the book review of Xcode 3 Unleashed, by Fritz Anderson.

Unlike the first section of the book, in the second half all topics are self-contained, that is, they are not tied into one example. This section begins with an in-depth look at working with Xcode projects. You’ll learn about code specific features such as code completion to folding/hiding blocks of code; class related activities such as a class browser and class modeler (visual representation of hierarchies); and optional layouts of content within Xcode, including the default, all-in-one and condensed.

The chapter "Xcode for make veterans" is an interesting exploration of the build system (a front-end for gcc), with the content specifically targeted to those who come from a development background (e.g. C) who are used to working with make files.

One chapter that stood out for me was "More About Debugging," the reason being, the timeliness of reading this chapter couldn’t of been better. The debugging features in Xcode are rather intuitive, however, when you want more than a highlevel step-through and viewing of variables, you need to dig a little deeper into the capabilities of Xcode. One good example is how to use data formatters, which allow viewing of complex data that would not otherwise be visible.

Another interesting chapter covers how to work with projects that were not originally built using Xcode. The example in the chapter "A Legacy Project" revolves around an open source project, TesseractOCR, this application converts an image (TIFF file of scanned text) and generates a text file as the output. An interesting project, in and of itself.

This section also includes coverage of the Shark profiling tool as well as a look at Instruments, a tool released with Xcode 3 that offers an impressive set of "instruments" for monitoring everything from file activity to process heap (think memory leaks) to network activity.

Here is a listing of the Table of Contents for Part II of the book:

Part II: Xcode Tasks

Chapter 20: Navigating an Xcode Projec
Chapter 21: Xcode for make Veterans
Chapter 22: More About Debugging
Chapter 23: Xcode and Speed
Chapter 24: A Legacy Project
Chapter 25: Shark and the CHUD Tool
Chapter 26: Instruments
Chapter 27: Closing Snippet

In the next post I’ll take a look at some of the highlights of the book, as well as point out a few suggestions where I think the book could be improved up in a future edition.

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