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Getting Started with Apple Technologies

Welcome to the Apple platform! This page is designed to introduce you to key Apple technologies and technical topics, and to provide guidance on how to find and use the many resources Apple makes available to developers.

Mac OS X and the Apple platform

For end users, the Mac is an extremely stable, highly graphical, and easy-to-use platform where “everything just works.” The story for developers is very similar. The Unix foundation of Mac OS X—along with its powerful native application environments, modern Java implementation, cutting-edge development tools, and support of open source and open standards—make it a powerful, stable, and versatile development environment, capable of supporting development for multiple deployment targets. The performance, style, and innovation of Apple hardware technologies like the Power Mac G5 complete the picture, and distinguish the Apple platform as ideal for developers, systems administrators, media creators, and other technical professionals.

  • To learn more about Mac OS X technologies, head to the Mac OS X page, where you’ll find links to many other resources. For a quick visual overview of Mac OS X, take a look at the System Architecture page.
  • For an overview of application development using the Apple platform, including cross-platform development and Apple development tools, read An Introduction to Mac OS X Development Technologies.
  • For a technical review of Mac OS X, see the Mac OS X Technology Overview, a description of the technologies in Mac OS X and how best to use them to build great products.
  • For information and specifications on Apple hardware products such as the Power Mac G5, PowerBook portable computers, and the Xserve and Xserve RAID rack-mounted server technologies, visit Apple's hardware page.
  • To jump right into learning about specific Apple technologies and developer topics, see the list of “Getting Started” documents below. These documents provide quick orientation and expert advice on the best learning path for those new to a technology.

The Apple Developer Connection

The Apple Developer Connection (ADC) is the centerpiece of the Apple developer community. You can join ADC for free as an Online member and receive benefits that include ADC communications and free developer tools, or you can become a Select or Premier member and get access to much more, including pre-release software and hardware discounts. Qualifying students have the option of Student membership.

The most important event of the year for ADC members is the annual Apple Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC), where Apple shares new directions for the Apple platform with its developers, provides hands-on guidance and assistance, and gathers feedback. It's an information-packed week covering current and soon-to-be-released technologies, and thousands of developers from around the world gather to network with each other, problem solve, and learn.

Using the ADC Website

The ADC website (you’re on it now) is a key part of the Apple Developer Connection, providing a wide variety of powerful resources and information:

  • For the latest news and information as well as a wide variety of related links about specific technologies or technical topics, you should begin with the "Topics" pages collection, the complete list of which you can find on the ADC Home page listed under Technical Resources.
  • The ADC Reference Library is powerful development support tool that integrates Apple-authored technical content, including API reference, documentation, and sample code, into a single collection. This unique part of the ADC site includes advanced filtering, sorting, and navigational features that make it easy for you to quickly find the answers and information you need. Get started with it by by reading Making the Most of the ADC Reference Library.
  • The ADC Business Resources collection is aimed at ensuring developers are as successful in the marketplace as they are with their code. This collection includes channel programs, discounted services, promotional opportunities, success stories and business articles, and other valuable resources. It is organized into five sections covering key business topics—The Mac Market, Business Development, Product Development, Distribution, and Promotion—plus the Macintosh Product Guide, an online catalog where developers can promote their products directly to customers.

Getting Started with Specific Apple Technologies

Ready to dive in to learning about a specific technology? ADC provides additional "Getting Started" documents for many of its key technologies and technical topics, each of which provides practical guidance on how to learn the basics, and where to go from there. Here's the complete list:

Additional Resources

Here are some additional valuable resources, which can be bookmarked for easy access:

  • Apple Mailing Lists. More than a hundred Apple hardware and software technologies have dedicated mailing lists, where developers ask questions and interact with each other and Apple staff in areas of specific interest. To find a mailing list, go to the relevant technology (for example, Quartz, or Firewire) and click on the mailing list selection.
  • Xcode Tools. Apple provides the Xcode Tools, a powerful set of native development tools that are included as part of Mac OS X. These provide everything you need to begin developing applications for Mac OS X, including Xcode (Apple's integrated development environment), gcc 4.0, Interface Builder, AppleScript Studio, updated documentation, performance tools, and much more. Developers can stay up-to-date by downloading the latest version of the Xcode Tools from the Apple Developer Connection for free. The latest version of the Xcode Tools require Mac OS X version 10.4 Tiger.
  • The Developer Transition Resource Center. Apple is transitioning from PowerPC to Intel-based Macintosh computers, and the place to find details on making your code ready for the transition is the DTRC. Read how to create universal binaries, port from CodeWarrior to Xcode, what's new in the latest version of Xcode, and how to optimize for the Intel-based architecture.
  • Software Development Kits (SDKs). Apple provides an extensive collection of SDKs for accessing various facilities provided by the Mac OS.
  • Software Downloads. This searchable database of Apple software downloads packages includes software updates, patches, and plug-ins.
  • O'Reilly & Associates. O'Reilly, one of the best respected names in technology publishing, offers special benefits to Apple Developer Connection members, including discounts on selected O'Reilly books and conferences. O'Reilly Mac OS X Center provides O'Reilly Mac books, and Macintosh programming articles and links to other sites and products. The O'Reilly MacDevCenter provides articles, sample code and other information on Macintosh development, and open source development.

Updated: 2006-04-05