MUGShots — CocoaHeads

Nicholas Pyers
14 August, 2008
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Over recent months I have been taking MUG Shots of “traditional” Macintosh User Groups that are primarily aimed at at the average end user of the Macintosh but this month we are going to visit a couple of specialised Groups — the CocoaHead chapters of Australia.

The CocoaHeads provide a forum for developers using Apple Computer’s Cocoa Framework for programming on Mac OS X. In plain English this means they provide a place to discuss how to write programs for the Macintosh. Initially this was just for developing applications for the Macintosh, but now they also cover development for the iPhone (and iPod touch) as the tools used are very similar.

CocoaHeads have chapters all over the world, including three at present in Australia — Brisbane, Melbourne and Sydney. (If you are interested in starting your own local CocoaHead chapter, visit the CocoaHeads web site to find out how easy it is to set up up a chapter)

The Brisbane chapter has just formed in recent weeks and will be holding its meetings on the first Monday of every month at the Toowong Library, Sherwood Road, Toowong with the doors opening at 6.30pm for a 7pm start.

Melbourne’s chapter is now just over a year old and its meetings are held in the RMIT Swanston St Library located in Building 8, Level 5 of the RMIT City Campus on the third Thursday of each month from 6pm until 9pm. After the presentation, members head across the road to a local tavern, The Bunker, for drinks and socialising.

The Sydney chapter has just reformed and recently met at the James Squire Brewhouse, which is located at the wharf at the end of King Street, Sydney with the session beginning at 7:30pm.

All chapters tend to follow a similar format for their meetings. There is a “meet ‘n’ greet” period to mingle with others before the Main Presentation, which usually has one or two sessions lasting about 45 minutes each which cover some aspect of programming in Cocoa or even other programing languages, followed by an informal question and answer session. Then they head off to a local pub or cafe for food and drinks (or if they meet in a pub, they just head straight to the bar).

CocoaHeads meetings aren’t just for the techno-geek — they can be a great opportunity for people to find out what new applications are coming out for the Mac, iPhone and iPod touch, plus sometimes the opportunity to become involved in beta-testing of new products.

I also see more and more people heading to a CocoaHeads meeting to either find out just how easy it is to program for the iPhone themselves or to simply find a decent coder to write a custom application they want to have on the iPhone.

Each chapter maintains its own web site, a Google group for discussions during the month and an IRC channel for instant messaging.

There are currently no annual fees to belong to an Australian chapter of CocoaHeads, nor any entry fees to their meetings.

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