Wilcox Development Solutions Blog

Corefoundation and documentation

June 22, 2004

Today I used the Core Foundation for the first time in, well, ever. Again, the state of Apple’s documentation is apparent - the reference material is pretty good, but if you want to learn how to use CFString for example, you’re not going to find step-by-step instructions (ala Inside Mac) on how to do these things. I remember before OS X 10.0 came out, a bunch of us at the Rochester Apple CIDER OS X SIG read the some preliminary documentation (aloud) once - but OS X was so new, and CoreFoundation didn’t work on OS 9, that it really wasn’t much help to me now, 4 or 5 years later.

My impression of the Core Foundation is that it’s also quite huge, having to do with all manner of things, from strings to URLs to networking to internationalization issues. But again, you have reference materials, and you have sample code - not exactly plethora of information Inside Mac volumes had.

Being able to use the APIs from samples and maybe being able to figure out what to do by browsing reference manual functions is not the same as the understanding of an API that Inside Mac gave you. I guess that’s all we have to go on though. Pity.

I’m not exactly saying Apple’s documentation is bad, I’d like to think it’s pretty good as a matter of fact, as long as you know the APIs already. For someone learning a Carbon API set (do they still call them Managers?) that existed in the OS 9 days, I would probably point them to the relevant Inside Mac volume and a copy of the appropriate Reference Guide, and let them go at it - with a stern warning to check the reference guide to make sure the functions still remained the same.

Back to the CoreFoundation. It would be very interesting to see a CoreFoundation session at a conference like ADHOC, or even in a mag like MacTech. I do suspect there will be some sessions at WWDC, but alas, not for me this year.