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Programming Challenges for Mac Developers

pudge posted more than 10 years ago | from the i-dev-you-dev-we-all-dev dept.

Programming 47

Carlos Camacho writes "iDevGames, a Macintosh Game Developer's Site has started issuing small programming challenges to Mac developers. The first challenge just wrapped up and the result is two nifty apps. The source code for both apps, and all apps entered into the programming challenges, will be released as open source. The next challenge has added an extra day, so developers have 72 hours. The focus is on creating an application to demonstrate 'A* pathfinding.'"

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FP (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8447505)

can someone help me out with a hand-job?

Re:FP (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8447791)

what? is your momma on vacation?

Re:FP [MOD PARENT DOWN] (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8447943)

You mods can't even mod a stupid off-topic post down? Come on.

Re:FP [MOD PARENT DOWN] (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8448930)

whats up with dat are they cool or are they whack?

sounds like they are to lazy to do it themselves (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8447851)

Is 48-hours too short? Would 72 hours be better? Or is 48-hours about right? Please vote. If you don't mind, I would like to announce the next challenge. (At some point, I will take everyone's suggestions for other Challenges.)

OK, here is the challenge:
* You may use ObjectiveC, C, C++, or Java only
* Create an application to demonstrate how A* Pathfinding works.
* You don't need to use fancy sprites. Simple circles, or stick figures is of course fine.
* Your world can be 2D, 2.5D, or 3D.

Outside of the main objective, there are many extras you can put into your app to set it apart from others. I won't mention them because it is great to see people discover them on their own. The goal is this challenge is that we will be able to show newbies how A* works, and give them code to learn from.


Kinda sounds like they are wanting to get other people to do their work.

Re:sounds like they are to lazy to do it themselve (4, Insightful)

mrgeometry (689087) | more than 10 years ago | (#8448002)

Perhaps they are hoping to get a variety of examples so newbies can see more than one implementation? Also, perhaps they want to give their readers something "fun" to do... I can see how some people would enjoy having a little mini-challenge every now and then, and they will enter the contest; and other people are too busy or would rather spend their free time in other ways, and so they won't enter the contest... And that's fine.

zach

Re:sounds like they are to lazy to do it themselve (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8460400)


Kinda sounds like they are wanting to get other people to do their work.

That's rather like calling Slashdot lazy for trying to get their readers to write news articles for them. It completely misses the point of the site.

iDG is a community of Mac game developers. Some of them are hobbyists. Some of them are professionals. The developers there encourage each other, help each other out, compete against each other on small challenges like this one, or larger ones like the uDevGame contest which attracted $27,000 in donated prizes to encourage Mac game developers.

The 48- and 72-hour challenges are an experiment introduced very recently. Developers at the site wanted a fun, low-key alternative to the intense 3-month contest we run every year. The contest may also allow the site to collect smaller, less intimidating code examples than the ones generated by the 3-month contest.

The editor/founder of iDevGames works very hard to run the site and serve the developer community. Lazy is the last word you'd use to describe him. Nor has he any use for an A* algorithm.

Stop throwing rocks at things you don't understand.

Here's the skinny (2, Informative)

ABaumann (748617) | more than 10 years ago | (#8447985)

First Contest: Develop a Cocoa program that will calculate the distance between two spots on the globe. (given latitude and longitude. ) There were only two submissions. Second Contest: Develop a graphical representation of the A* algorithm using Java, C, or Objective-C. (This one will be 72 hours.) No prizes, only bragging rights... for a site that noone even goes to. Yipee! Have fun.

Re:Here's the skinny (1)

Chris Burkhardt (613953) | more than 10 years ago | (#8475033)

I go to that site :)

Meh. (3, Insightful)

Daleks (226923) | more than 10 years ago | (#8448028)

People need to think about their headlines before they submit them. I thought this was about the difficulties Mac programmers face in today's world.

Re:Meh. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8448341)


That headline would have been "Programming Challenges of Mac Developers", not for.

Re:Meh. (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8448486)

or maybe "A Programming Challenge for Mac Developers That Might Give a Shit"

Re:Meh. (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8450221)


or quite possibly Fuck You, Bastard Troll

bleh?! (1, Flamebait)

Linwood (652814) | more than 10 years ago | (#8448317)

I'll tell ya the hardships of mac programming, as a newbie (myself) trying to figure out that you have to hold ctrl or shift or cmd and drag a line from one MDI window to another on your acctual forms to make it 'connect' .. thats hard.. I've been reading this damn Cocoa book for a month and i still have no idea how anyone would ever learn to do anything 'radical' or new without explicit instructions of the odd interface of Xcode and its buddy Interface builder. but i'm just a newb so i'm prolly riding on -1 Troll or something, anyways, back to finding out how many combintations there are for menu items, such as cmd-backspace-shift-ctrl just to save a file.. woot! and somehow.. i still like the ol' mac.. it's like drugs, fun for the end-user, hard as hell for the chemist.

Re:bleh?! (5, Informative)

Entropy2016 (751922) | more than 10 years ago | (#8448630)

Just in case you didn't already know, the general consensus is that Aaron Hillegass's "Cocoa Programming for Mac OSX" is the best Cocoa book out there.

Just as important as the the Cocoa book, is bookmarking the Apple Developer Documentation in Safari

file:///Developer/Documentation/Cocoa/Reference/ Ap plicationKit/ObjC_classic/index.html#//apple_ref/d oc/uid/20001093

file:///Developer/Documentation/Cocoa/Reference/ Fo undation/ObjC_classic/index.html#//apple_ref/doc/u id/20001091

I wasted money on a couple other books before I found that one.
If you're still having trouble learning, just ask someone for the source code to a finished app that isn't too big and study it. (If you're really desperate, I've got some code you can study).
- - - - -
Caffeine is not a substitute for sleep

Re:bleh?! (4, Informative)

YouHaveSnail (202852) | more than 10 years ago | (#8449135)

Another good thing to do is to get your hands on a Cocoa class browser. Here's one:

http://homepage2.nifty.com/hoshi-takanori/cocoa- br owser/

Seems like a pretty obvious concept, so I'd be surprised if there aren't others. In any case, it can be handy.

Re:bleh?! (2, Informative)

transient (232842) | more than 10 years ago | (#8452047)

There's a class browser built-in to Xcode. Select "Show Class Browser" from the Project menu, or press cmd-shift-c.

Re:bleh?! (1)

cosmo7 (325616) | more than 10 years ago | (#8462091)

Cocoa browser is more nicerer, as it shows the documentation, not just the header, and is hyperlinked.

Of course the real hidden XCode easter egg is to switch on the ultra-fast compiler by holding down the command key and typing "quicker".

Re:bleh?! (1)

transient (232842) | more than 10 years ago | (#8463137)

That trick works even better if you hold down command-shift-option instead of just command.

Re:bleh?! (2, Informative)

BorgCopyeditor (590345) | more than 10 years ago | (#8458536)

the general consensus is that Aaron Hillegass's "Cocoa Programming for Mac OSX" is the best Cocoa book out there.

That's probably right, but once you've finished it and digested it, so to speak, which probably won't take more than a couple of weeks, the next must-have is Anguish, Buck, and Yacktman: Cocoa Programming. Very in-depth reference guide with some excellent explanations of why Cocoa features work the way they do. Hillegass and Cheeseman are always saying "just do it this way, trust me," which is pretty unsatisfying when you're trying to figure out how to make your own apps do things that you want. That said, Cheeseman's book is the best all-around reference (though it's set up as one massive, continuous project) on Cocoa application "design" (showing you how to package your app, set up resource files, localization, etc.). Anyway, my $0.02 as an owner, reader, and user of all three books.

Safari (2, Insightful)

nacturation (646836) | more than 10 years ago | (#8448393)

Too bad their site doesn't display the body text in Safari. If they're a Mac site, they just *might* want to fix that one.

Re:Safari (2, Interesting)

orn (34773) | more than 10 years ago | (#8448721)

Too bad their site doesn't display the body text in Safari. If they're a Mac site, they just *might* want to fix that one.

Maybe that will be their third programming challenge. :)

This is a great idea. Contests to build up the amount of open source out there are cool. What's needed is a general purpose ladder and scoring system so you can actually rank coders. Very cool. :) Well, geeky, anyway.

Re:Safari (2, Informative)

Have Blue (616) | more than 10 years ago | (#8449565)

I don't know what crack-ass Safari you're running, but it works fine on both my Macs.

Re:Safari (1)

nacturation (646836) | more than 10 years ago | (#8450202)

Hm... must be something funny with my machine then. Doesn't work on any browser on my system. Works great on Windows though. :)

Re:Safari (1)

rotomas (759728) | more than 10 years ago | (#8485155)

I would like a copy of crack-ass Safari for archival purposes. Does anyone have a link for download?

Programming challenges for Mac Developers... (4, Funny)

dagar17 (579917) | more than 10 years ago | (#8448646)

prefixing every software package name with an i

Re:Programming challenges for Mac Developers... (2, Funny)

zbrimhall (741562) | more than 10 years ago | (#8449418)

prefixing every software package name with an i

NSTextField myRantTextField = [[NSTextField alloc] init];

[myRantTextField setStringValue: @"iReally wanted to barf the first time iSaw such a schizophrenic language."];
[myRantTextField selectText: self];

Re:Programming challenges for Mac Developers... (1)

cosmo7 (325616) | more than 10 years ago | (#8462104)

With that statically allocated NSTextfield your compiler will barf first.

Re:Programming challenges for Mac Developers... (1, Funny)

zbrimhall (741562) | more than 10 years ago | (#8467259)

With that statically allocated NSTextfield your compiler will barf first. Ack! So should I hang my head in shame for the lame joke or the silly error?

Re:Programming challenges for Mac Developers... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8450226)

Mac troll classes:

iHBT
iHAND
iFOAD

Re:Programming challenges for Mac Developers... (3, Funny)

TonyMillion (545370) | more than 10 years ago | (#8450369)

One day I'm going to release a piece of software just called 'i'.

That should confuse the hell out of everyone...

'oh I use i'
'uh i what?'
'just i'.

Re:Programming challenges for Mac Developers... (1)

pknoll (215959) | more than 10 years ago | (#8456611)

I'll work on adapting i as an enterprise solution.

ei is the wave of the future.

Mac Developers on the farm (1)

BeerCat (685972) | more than 10 years ago | (#8457288)

And of course, the recursive version that leads to an exclamation of surprise...


eieio

I'd like to suggest a challenge (3, Insightful)

Yarn (75) | more than 10 years ago | (#8450524)

Get working on porting OpenOffice.org to Aqua! The current ETA is 2005

It'd save me *so* much time having to run around ensuring people don't have illegal copies of MS Office on their macs.

At least with my PC users:
a) The OpenOffice.org interface isn't glaringly different
b) They can't just copy the MS office folder between machines.

Re:I'd like to suggest a challenge (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8453436)

Get working on porting OpenOffice.org to Aqua! The current ETA is 2005


Please know what you're talking about before you shoot your mouth off. The reason for the delay is that the new API's aren't even completed yet, so there's no way for the team to even start.

Re:I'd like to suggest a challenge (1)

geoffspear (692508) | more than 10 years ago | (#8453846)

They could port the old version, so there'd be something before 2005 (or 2006, which was what I understood to be the ETA for the OS X version).

Of course, since the site posting these challenges is a gave developers' site, this entire thread is pretty much off topic.

Re:I'd like to suggest a challenge (1)

rixstep (611236) | more than 10 years ago | (#8464867)

Get working on porting OpenOffice.org to Aqua! The current ETA is 2005

Apple are coming out with their own product. It will be called either iWord, iWrite, iDesk, iOffice, or iWork.

I suggested iSoar, but they didn't want it.

Re:I'd like to suggest a challenge (1)

lordholm (649770) | more than 10 years ago | (#8468212)

What is wrong with TeX???

Re:I'd like to suggest a challenge (1)

mrgeometry (689087) | more than 10 years ago | (#8471857)

Nothing wrong with TeX as a word processor replacement. Or, not much, anyway. As a math grad student, I use TeX a fair amount, and word processors next to never.

As a spreadsheet, though, TeX is a little awkward...

zach

Recommended Cocoa references (4, Informative)

logicat2001 (706979) | more than 10 years ago | (#8454264)

Aaron Hillegass's most excellent Cocoa introduction Cocoa Programming for Mac OS X [bignerdranch.com]

When you're done with that one, skip on over and check out my defacto Cocoa bible, Cocoa Programming [cocoaprogramming.net] . Just a fantastic book, application design reference and compilation of knowlege from many years of working with these frameworks.

O'Reilly's Cocoa in a Nutshell [oreilly.com] , the API listing you've been yearning for.

Always remember to include Apple's own Cocoa developer pages. [apple.com]

A* on Mac? I wrote that four years ago! (1)

hraefn (627340) | more than 10 years ago | (#8459472)

Cool, I'll have to submit my old college AI homework. Hope it still compiles.

Re:A* on Mac? I wrote that four years ago! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8468860)

No you didn't. :-) In all likelihood the version of "A*" you wrote assumed that your heuristic was monotonic. And $10 says that neither of the apps that "won" this "contest" actually implemented real (nonomonotonic) A* either.

A* is a complex beast, with lots and lots of pointers you have to keep track of, and an ugly updating procedure which often requires exotic data structures to do efficiently. The college textbook version we teach is a little baby version which assumes monotonicity to keep things simple.

What's A* pathfinding? (1)

maysonl (642042) | more than 10 years ago | (#8473445)

pardon my ignorance.

Re:What's A* pathfinding? (1)

pjt33 (739471) | more than 10 years ago | (#8474596)

Dijkstra with heuristics, basically. Google a-star algorithm.

Re:What's A* pathfinding? (2, Informative)

Chris Burkhardt (613953) | more than 10 years ago | (#8474979)

It is a pathfinding/movement algorithm commonly used in the AI of computer games. For example, if a unit on a 2D grid map needs to move from one point to another, the A* algorithm can be used to find a path around any obstacles, etc..

Re:What's A* pathfinding? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8481475)

Seems like a lot of made up terminology for something that is an obvious solution to the problem. If you have the 'heuristic' (i.e. an estimate of downstream cost), that is. If you don't A* doesn't help you... but the solution without the 'heuristic' isn't tough anyway.

Is all AI this much B.S. There is nothing remotely related to intelligence in this algorithm.

I guess it's true when they say disciplines that are real sciences don't have to put the word 'science' in their name.

Programming Challenge, presented by Guinness Draft (2, Funny)

AvantLegion (595806) | more than 10 years ago | (#8492443)

ME: I'm behind on my CompSci homework
FRIEND: Behind on your homework? Brilliant!
ME: No, not brilliant. Hey, I've got an idea.
FRIEND: Brilliant!! ME: Hear the idea first! OK, so I've got an assignment due on A* pathfinding. Sooo, I'm gonna hold a programming competition and have everyone submit A* pathfinding programs to ME!
FRIEND: Get unsuspecting programmers to write your homework for you?? .............. BRILLIANT!!

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