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Cocoa is a programming API for Mac OS X.

Cocoa from a User's Perspective

Mac OS X applications are mostly written using either the Cocoa or Carbon frameworks. Programs written using Cocoa can take advantage of a number of system-wide features that Carbon applications cannot. These include built-in spell checking, services, the font panel and many other features.

Cocoa from a Programmer's Perspective

Cocoa is based on the APIs used by the NeXTSTEP operating system. It became a key part of Mac OS X's design when Apple acquired NeXT corporation. Cocoa is designed to be used by applications written in the Objective-C programming language, although it can also be used with Java.

Fundamentally Cocoa incorporates these components:

  • AppKit - Interface based objects including buttons, windows and textfields
  • Foundation - Non-interface objects arrays, networking and strings

It also links to and can use thousands of other Apple and 3rd party frameworks. These include:

See Also

Cocoa FAQ - frequently asked questions about Cocoa development.

Cocoa at - Full documentation available.

CocoaDev - Cocoa wiki and forums

Cocoa Dev Central - Cocoa tutorials