Programming Tutorials

What is Cocoa? A brief history of Cocoa.

By: Aaron Hillegass in Cocoa Tutorials on 2010-09-03  

Cocoa is a set of frameworks and APIs (Application Programming Interfaces) that are used to develop applications for Apple's macOS operating system. It provides developers with a rich set of tools and components for building modern, high-performance desktop applications.

Cocoa has its roots in the NeXTSTEP operating system, which was developed by NeXT Computer Inc. in the late 1980s. NeXTSTEP was based on the Mach kernel and provided a highly advanced object-oriented development environment, complete with a GUI toolkit, advanced development tools, and object-oriented programming languages.

When NeXT was acquired by Apple in 1996, the NeXTSTEP technology was incorporated into Apple's existing development platform, and the result was the creation of macOS. Cocoa is the primary framework for developing macOS applications and is built on top of Apple's Objective-C programming language.

In recent years, Apple has introduced Swift as a new programming language for macOS and iOS development, and Cocoa has been updated to support both Objective-C and Swift. Today, Cocoa is an essential part of the macOS development ecosystem and is widely used by developers to build everything from simple utility applications to complex, multi-platform software.

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