[MonoTouch] Newbie Guidance

Terry Westley monotouch at sabonrai.com
Fri Aug 21 23:01:23 EDT 2009

The experience of one newbie:

I'm a long-time developer (C#/Windows most recently, lots of real-time
bare metal and Unix prior to that) who recently decided to build some
iPhone apps for my own education, entertainment and because nobody was
building apps I wanted or the way I wanted.

So I bought a Mac, downloaded the SDK, bought a couple books, read
others through Books 24x7, did lots of Google searches, and started
coding an app with Objective-C and the iPhone SDK. I found that I hate
Objective-C (apparently, I'm the only programmer in the world who
couldn't learn Objective-C in a few hours), love the capabilities of
the iPhone SDK framework, and am totally mystified by the whole UI
event mechanism: outlets, actions, inlets, whatever. I tried coding
the app with and without Interface Builder and found it pretty much
equally hard for different reasons. Any which way, I was making *very*
slow progress.
Then I learned about MonoTouch and signed up for the beta. MonoDevelop
is a bit of a step back from Visual Studio (but then I find Xcode and
Eclipse also a step back from VS), but MonoTouch and its developers
and supporters are really fabulous. I'm way ahead on my app since
starting over with MonoTouch than where I'd be with Xcode, IB, and

I suppose the hardest thing about MonoTouch should be whether to use
an iPhone SDK capability or a .Net capability. For some reason, that
mostly hasn't been a problem for me. If I have to do anything iPhone-
or UI-specific that I don't yet know about, I read the Apple iPhone
developer guides and class references while, of course, checking the
MonoTouch docs to see what's implemented. My tiny bit of Objective-C
coding has been really helpful with this. Anything that can be done
C#-style improves my productivity (and attitude). I especially admire
how MonoTouch developers integrated the type system and events and
implemented Obj-C delegates.

Currently, I don't use Interface Builder. I find that using
MonoDevelop and writing the code directly is less complex. With Xcode
and Objective-C, I never liked having IB do magical stuff for me for
which I couldn't read the code.

--Terry (Mac, iPhone SDK, MonoDevelop, MonoTouch newbie) Westley

On Fri, Aug 21, 2009 at 8:15 PM, Tim Scott<tscott at lunaversesoftware.com> wrote:
> I have installed MonoTouch and successfully developed my first app using the
> Hello World tutorial.  It went pretty well.  But now I’m struggling to find
> a way forward.  I should mention that, while I’m an experienced .NET dev, I
> have no Apple, Unix, or Mono experience.
> I downloaded the samples.  I have studied the one with the “pre made”
> solution file.  I have not found how to “make” the files for the others.  I
> suspect that the “makefile” files have something to do with this.  Should I
> just create blank solutions/projects and add all the files manually?
> Studying the one sample has not helped me.  It is a very great leap from the
> simple Hello World app.  I simply do not follow how controllers, views,
> windows, data sources, delegates, etc all come together to create a
> functioning app.  I am familiar with the MVC pattern, but I cannot intuit
> how it is implemented in this framework by looking at this one sample.
> Are there some tutorials I am not seeing that would help me move to the next
> step with MonoTouch?  Maybe if I can look at the other samples, that would
> help. Or should I learn with Objective C first in order to understand the
> framework?  I would guess that there are many learning resources available
> for that.
> Thanks for your feedback.
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