Big Nerd Ranch has my profound respect. Consider that my personal bias when reading on.
This is a very fast review as I have only had the 2nd edition for 24 hours.
I have the first edition also, and pondered the value of getting the second edition. I slammed into a wall in the first edition and could not make the transition from straight C to Objective-C. As someone who knew functional and procedural programming already, the syntax of Objective-C confused me. Seeing classes on both sides of the assignment operator in the early pages of Part III just didn’t fit my mental model of how things should work. I gave up for a while.
Last night I bought the second edition and went straight to Part III, and found the material much clearer and more easily understandable. The second edition is a better ramp up to Objective-C. If you tried the first edition, and got stuck, the second edition is well worth exploring.
When I hit a wall in the first edition, I looked at the Stanford courses, which helped my understand MVC but still didn’t click. Next, I tried Lynda.com Objective-C Essential Training, and that was a huge help. Especially chapters 5 and 6, which cover Objective-C terminology and memory management. It is hard to separate things too cleanly, but I believe that the Lynda.com chapters 5 and 6 and the rewritten early pages of Part III in the second edition might just be the mixture of ingredients that get me to grok Objective-C once and for all. Lynda.com was helpful because it showed Objective-C syntax compared to most other C based languages, which I already could follow. But the videos don’t have the kind of wisdom found in the Big Nerd Ranch Guide.
I know I might sound like a shill here. I’m not. (Which is just what a shill would say! Damn you recursion!) I’m a hobbyist programmer who enjoys learning. I’m posting this in case someone like myself is wondering, is the second edition much different than the first? Its worth it just to get the Xcode 5 screenshots and the polish that a version 2 provides. Once I work though the examples in the second edition, I’ll come back and edit this message with more details.