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What is Masters of the Void?

Illustrated version of Xcode's icon

Masters of the Void is a tutorial for Macintosh users interested in learning to program their Macintosh using Xcode and the C programming language. It assumes no prior knowledge of programming.

This tutorial started out in ’99 as a series of e-mails for a couple of friends, and was released as a web site to serve as a foundation for all those Cocoa tutorials that assume you already know how to program. Now in its 5th revised edition, it aims to be an easy starting point for people itching to learn programming.


Computers really only understand ones and zeroes. Since it would be rather unwieldy to write your programs using only ones and zeroes, there are programming languages like C which are a more memorable text representation of a program, usually referred to as source code.

To write a program, one needs a text editor, and to translate this text representation of a program into actual ones and zeroes that the computer can run directly, we need a compiler. On the Mac, you usually use a program called Xcode, which is a text editor that integrates a compiler called clang (like “C-language”).

You can get Xcode from the Mac App Store, for free. This is the full version of Xcode, but you will not be able to sell your finished application on the Mac App Store until you buy a one-year Mac Developer membership from Apple’s Developer Site.

MotV xcode in mac app store

Xcode has a few extra things it installs when you first run it. So after you have downloaded Xcode (it is a bit big, over 12 GB last time I checked), just find “Xcode” in Launch Pad and click it. It will ask you to install some stuff, just let it do that.

MotV startup install sequence

This tutorial is for Xcode 10. Xcode changes a lot between versions, so make sure you have the newest version or it might be hard to follow along.

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