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An Introduction to the Language and Tools The Syntax Memory Management Tools Debugging XCode Keyboard Shortcuts and more...

for the iPhone and iPad
By Ben Ellingson and Matthew McCullough
The keyword @interface can distract developers coming from some languages such as Java, suggesting this is a mere contract. However, @interface is indeed the keyword for defining the properties and method signatures of a concrete class in Obj-C.

Hot Tip

An IntroductIon to the LAnguAge And tooLs

Objective-C is the primary language used to create applications for Apple’s Mac OS X and iOS (iPhone and iPad) platforms. Objective-C was created by Brad Cox and Tom Love in the early 1980s. In 1988, Objective-C was licensed by NeXT, a company founded and helmed by Steve Jobs during his absence from Apple. Apple acquired NeXT in 1996, bringing Objective-C to the Macintosh platform. Objective-C is an object oriented superset of ANSI C. Its object syntax is derived from Smalltalk. It supports single inheritance, implementation of multiple interfaces via the @protocol syntax, and the redefinition and augmentation of (open) classes via categories. Apple’s iPhone SDK for the iOS mobile operating system offers developers a rich set of Objective-C APIs. This free SDK, which includes the Xcode IDE, is used to create applications for the iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch.
the syntAx

Objective-C interfaces are created using the @protocol declaration. Any class can implement multiple interfaces. Interfaces are typically declared in a .h header file and can be included via #import statements in the .h header file of other classes.
// Mappable.h: Declare the Mappable @protocol @protocol Mappable - (double) latitude; - (double) longitude; @end // Location.h: Specify that Location class implements the Mappable // @protocol #import “Mappable.h” @interface Location : NSObject <Mappable> { } @end // Location.m: Provide implementations for the Mappable methods @implementation Location - (double) latitude { return 46.553666; } - (double) longitude { return -87.40551; } @end


Class Declaration
Objective-C classes typically include an interface .h and an implementation .m pair of files. The .h file contains property and method declarations. The .m file contains method implementations.

Primitive Data Types
As a superset of ANSI C, Objective-C supports its same primitive data types.
int float Integral numbers without decimal points Numbers with decimal points

objective-c for the iPhone and iPad

Example .h interface file
#import <Foundation/Foundation.h> @interface Speaker : NSObject { NSInteger *ID; NSString *name; } @property NSInteger *ID; @property(nonatomic,retain) NSString *name; - (void) doSomething: (NSString *) value anotherValue: (int) value2; @end

Example .m implementation file
#import “Speaker.h” @implementation Speaker @synthesize ID,name; - (void) doSomething: (NSString *) value anotherValue: (int) value2 { // do something } @end

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Class inheritance is specified in the .h interface file with the syntax: @interface <MyClass> : <ParentClass>. The following example tells the compiler that the Employee class inherits from (extends) the Person class.
// Employee.h file @interface Employee : Person { } @end

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@property Attributes Property attributes specify behaviors of generated getter and setter methods. The external parameter name becomes a formal part of the method name. @interface Book : NSObject { NSString *title. @end // use the @synthesize declaration in the . //Single variable @end Methods Methods are declared in the . NSString *author.0 added the ability to invoke property accessor methods (getters/setters) using “. method target method name parameter value Object Initialization Object instances are created in two steps. // do something derived-class specific } Notice that the object variable declarations are preceded by * symbol. nonatomic indicates that the assignment operation does not check for thread access protection. // use of @property declaration for the title variable is equivalent to // declaring a “setTitle” mutator and “title” accessor method. } @end Multiple variables may be included in a single @synthesize declaration. NSString *name1 = @”Bob”. [self setAuthor: @”Herman Melville”].(int) pages { return pages.(void) setPages: (int) p { pages = p. Each parameter includes both an external name. First.dzone. // Using dot notation calls the book instance’s setAuthor method book. with a call to alloc and second. Instance Variables Class instance variables are declared within a curly braced {} section of the . // equivalent to [book setAuthor: @”Herman Melville”]. Method Invocation Syntax Method invocations are written using square bracket [] notation.m: Implement methods in the implementation file @implementation Book . nonatomic) NSString *title. . // Book. and a local variable name. author. The most common values used are (retain. // Book. which may be necessary in multi-threaded environments.(int) pages. with a call to init. These properties are mutable and can be assigned in an advanced technique called “swizzling”.m implementation file // to automatically implement setter and getter methods. Common Object Data Types NSObject NSString NSArray NSMutableArray NSDictionary NSMutableDictionary NSSet NSData NSURL Root class of the object hierarchy String value Collection of elements. // name2 is a dynamically typed NSString object id name2 = @”Bob”. www.h file. may include duplicates Variable sized array Key-value pair collection Variable sized key-value pair collection Unordered collection of distinct elements Byte buffer URL resource Multi Parameter Methods Multi-Parameter methods are more verbose than other languages. andAuthor: (NSString *) // invoke a method with multiple parameters [self addBookWithTitle: @”Moby Dick” andAuthor: @”Herman Melville”].(void) setPages: (int) p.author = @”Herman Melville”.h header file and implemented in the . Inc. Dynamic Typing Objective-C supports dynamic typing via the id keyword. if ([name1 isEqualToString:name2]) { // do something } Properties using @property and @synthesize Objective-C 2. @implementation Book @synthesize title.m implementation file. retain indicates that the [retain] method should be called on the newly assigned value object. nonatomic). Method Declaration Syntax Method type return type (class or instance) parameter type method name parameter name . @end // Book. // declare a method with multiple parameters . DZone. //Multiple variables @synthesize pages. } . // Invoke methods on the “super” property to execute parent class // behavior. Most commonly. See the memory management section for further explanation. Alternatively. the self attribute is used to execute a method on the enclosing object.(void) setPages: (int) p. Attribute declarations are placed in parenthesis () after the @property declaration. int pages. | [book setPages: 100].0 added property declaration syntax in order to reduce verbose coding of getter and setter methods.(void) addBookWithTitle: (NSString *) aTitle anAuthor. a method that overrides a parent class method will likely call // the parent class method . a class may include multiple @synthesize declarations. This indicates that the reference is a pointer to an object and is required for all object variable declarations.” notation. } @end Self and Super Properties Objective-C objects include a self property and a super property.2 objective-c for the iPhone and iPad double char BOOL Same as float with twice the accuracy or size Store a single character such as the letter ‘a’ Boolean values with the constants YES or NO Using Dot Notation Method Invocation Objective-C 2. } @property (retain.h: Variables declared in a header file @interface Book : NSObject { NSString *title.com . fixed size. readonly may be specified to indicate the property’s value can not be set. data type.(void) doSomething: (NSString *)value { [super doSomething: value].h: Declare methods in the header file @interface Book : NSObject { } .

// Book.3 objective-c for the iPhone and iPad // example of 2 step object initialization Book *book = [[Book alloc] init]. you will often implement the init or an initWith method. it is sent a dealloc message.x).0 includes garbage collection. @”Two”.m implementation files. Using NSDictionary #import Statements statements are required to declare the classes and frameworks used by your class. // Retain count reaches 0.@”Two”. // string comparison if ([value isEqualToString:value2]) { // do something } NSURL *url = [NSURL URLWithString:@”http://www.h> NSDictionary *di = [NSDictionary dictionaryWithObjectsAndKeys: @”One”. #import // import a class #import “Book.@”bar”]. the retain count is incremented by 1 When the “release” message is sent to an object.[NSNumber numberWithInt:2]. [author release].date = [[NSDate alloc] init]. Control Flow // basic for loop for (int x=0. prefixed with new. // Constructor method declaration + (Book *) createBook: (NSString *) aTitle withAuthor: (NSString *) anAuthor.h” // import a framework #import <MapKit/MapKit. Do not call dealloc directly. You relinquish object ownership by calling release or autorelease. iOS apps must manage memory by following a set of object ownership rules. } dealloc Method When an object’s retain count reaches 0. [di2 setObject:@”One” forKey:[NSNumber numberWithInt:1]]. 10). the retain count is decremented by 1 When the retain count reaches 0. [values2 addObject:@”One”]. Notice that nil termination is required NSArray *values = [NSArray arrayWithObjects:@”One”.@”Two”. } return self.g.txt”]. or containing copy. // create a string literal via the “@” symbol NSString *value = @”foo bar”. default: break.nil]. } @end NSLog / NSString Formatters Formatters are character sequences used for variable substitution in strings. instead of C language CFStrings. Memory Management Objective-C 2. %@ for objects %d for integers %f for floats // Logs “Bob is 10 years old” NSLog(@”%@ is %d years old”.google. NSString *value4 = [NSString stringWithContentsOfFile: @”file. However. case 2: // do other thing break. it is deallocated // alloc sets the retain count to 1 Book *book = [[Book alloc] init]. | www. When an object is created it has a retain count of 1 When the “retain” message is sent to an object. Inc.(id) init { self = [super init]. // Release message decrements the retain count.m: Implementation overrides the “init” method to assign a default // date value @implementation Event .com . // Get the array size int count = [values count]. } // for-in loop NSArray *values = [NSArray arrayWithObjects:@”One”. BOOL condition2 = NO. switch (x) { case 1: // do something break. x < 10. NSString *value2 = [NSString stringWithFormat:@”foo %@”. @”Bob”. Book will be deallocated [book release].m: Implement release of member variables .(void) dealloc { [title release]. [super dealloc].nil].dzone. // Invoke a class constructor Book *book2 = [Book createBook: @”Moby Dick” withAuthor: @”Herman Melville”].. // do something. while (condition == YES) { // doSomething } // if / else statements BOOL condition1 = NO. // Event.@”Three”.. which will call release on the instances retained variables. This is a standard init pattern found in Objective-C. garbage collection is not available for iOS apps. Also notice the method uses a dynamic id return type. // Create a variable sized array NSMutableArray *values2 = [[NSMutableArray alloc] init]. Each object has a retain count which indicates the number of objects with an ownership interest in that object. Strings Objective-C string literals are prefixed with an “@” symbol (e. NSMutableDictionary *di2 = [[NSMutableDictionary alloc] init]. Class Constructors Classes often include constructor methods as a convenience.h header and . // equivalent to Book *book2 = [Book alloc]. if (condition1) { // do something } else if(condition2) { // do other thing } else { // do something else } // switch statement int x = 1. if (self != nil) { self. #import statements can be included at the top of both .com”]. Ownership of an object is automatically taken when you call a method beginning with alloc. NSString *value3 = [NSString stringWithContentsOfURL:url]. The method type is + to indicate that it is a class (static) method. book2 = [book init]. This creates instances of the NSString class. In order to perform specific object initialization steps. Data Structures Using NSArray // Create a fixed size array. Notice the syntax used around the self property in the following example. // Access a value NSString *value = [values objectAtIndex:0].[NSNumber numberWithInt:1]. } Autorelease Pools An autorelease pool (NSAutoreleasePool) contains references to DZone. You will provide implementations of the dealloc method. @”Hello World”). NSString *one = [di objectForKey: [NSNumber numberWithInt:1]]. for(NSString *value in values) { // do something } // while loop BOOL condition = YES.nil]. x++) { NSLog(@”x is: %d”. Ownership is manually expressed by calling the retain method.

however. NSArray *files = [fileManager contentsOfDirectoryAtPath:docDir error:nil]. Xcode has a long history but has been given a dramatic set of feature additions in the modern iPhone and iPad releases. } @end // call a method defined in the BookPlusPurchaseInfo category Book *book = [Book createBook:@”Moby Dick” withAuthor:@”Herman Melvile”]. Categories can not add instance variables to a class. Selectors Selectors create method identifiers using the SEL datatype. it sends a release message to all objects in the pool.com/iphone tooLs Xcode The IDE included in the iOS SDK is named Xcode.apple.4 objective-c for the iPhone and iPad objects that have received an autorelease message. This directory is a sand-boxed portion of the file system. However. first select Device from the aforementioned toolbar menu. It is the DZone. NSArray *retailers = [book findRetailers]. including detection of common user-coded memory leaks and quick-fixing of other syntax and coding mistakes. These features make writing Objective-C in the Xcode IDE a delight and a favorite of developers everywhere. Plain text editors and command line Make files can be used to produce iOS applications. Categories are not subclasses. Clicking on the icon will reveal a panel detailing the warnings and errors.(NSArray *) findRetailers. Selectors. The simulator will receive the compiled application and launch it. When the autorelease pool is deallocated. choose the Simulator target from the main Xcode toolbar. NSUserDomainMask.h adds purchase related methods to the Book class #import “Book. primary tool in the suite of utilities that ship with the SDK. First.dzone. BOOL exists = [fileManager fileExistsAtPath: filePath]. // Does the file exist? NSString *filePath = [NSString stringWithFormat:@”%@/MyFile. Building and Deploying can be done in one seamless step by pressing the Command and Enter keys.m implements the purchase related methods #import “BookPlusPurchaseInfo. YES) lastObject]. Deploying an application to the simulator has two simple steps. or ⌘B. Categories Categories are a powerful language feature which allows you to add methods to an existing class without subclassing. // Get the path to a iOS App’s “Documents” directory NSString *docDir = [NSSearchPathForDirectoriesInDomains(NSDocumentDirectory. @end // BookPlusPurchaseInfo. To deploy to an iPhone or iPad. | www.com . // call autorelease on allocated instance to add it to the autorelease pool Book *book = [[[Book alloc] init] autorelease]. it is less fine grained and may allow an application to hold onto more memory than it really needs. for (NSString *file in files) { NSLog(file). Once the code is in a valid-syntax state.docDir]. // Action is a reference to the “doSomething” method SEL action = @selector(doSomething). along with NSObject’s method performSelector: withObject: enable a class to choose the desired message to be invoked at runtime. Working With Files iOS applications have access to files in an app-specific home directory. } // Create a directory NSString *subDir = [NSString stringWithFormat:@”%@/MySubDir”. but it can not access any files outside of it. // List the contents of a directory NSFileManager *fileManager = [NSFileManager defaultManager]. Be watchful of which types and size of objects you use with autorelease. An app can read and write files within this its own hierarchy. // The message sender need not know the type of target object // or the message that will be called via the “action” SEL [target performSelector: action withObject:nil ].txt”. they will appear as a yellow or red icon in the lower right corner of the IDE. right click on the element beneath the Target node of the Groups and Files tree and choose Get Info. Second. Generally. Categories are useful to extend the features of existing classes and to split the implementation of large classes into several files. If there are code errors. Inc. // BookPlusPurchaseInfo. compile it by choosing Build  Build from the menus. // Execute a method using a SEL selector and the performSelector method id target = [[Book alloc] init].(NSArray *) findRetailers { return [NSArray arrayWithObjects:@”Book World”. A value can be assigned to a SEL typed variable via the @selector() directive.docDir]. Choose the Properties tab and ensure the Identifier matches the name or pattern you established with Apple for your Provisioning Profile at http://developer. [fileManager createDirectoryAtPath:subDir attributes:nil]. Xcode offers compelling features such as syntax highlighting and code completion.h” @implementation Book (PurchaseInfo) .nil]. do not use methods in a category to extend existing methods except when you wish to globally erase and redefine the original method.h” @interface Book (PurchaseInfo) . Using an autorelease pool may simplify memory management.

Its name clearly expresses its use for designing Objective-C NIBs and XIBs. gyroscope. and is where all logging output. The bottommost panel is called the console.5 objective-c for the iPhone and iPad Organizer The Organizer window provides a list of favorite projects. Settings. The lack of camera is somewhat mitigated by a supply of several stock photos in the Photo application. A blue arrow indicates a breakpoint is set and active. which can be invoked via ⌘ + R. which are the binary and XML form of user interface definition files on the Mac. NIBs. Hot Tip During the debugging and testing phase of development. click the Arguments tab. it has a few shortcomings such as the lack of a camera. CA. Contacts and Safari programs. The harsh absence of a gyroscope is minimized only by the shake and rotate gestures possible through the Hardware menu. Debugging The Xcode platform provides a robust debugger and supplementary mechanisms for stepping through code. Cupertino. Breakpoints are easily set by single clicking in the gutter next to any line of code. activate Zombies to place “markers” in deallocated memory. It can be opened from Xcode via ⌘+^+O. USA. namely. This is accomplished in three simple steps: • Double-click the name of any node beneath the Executables group of an Xcode project. thereby providing a stack trace in the console if any invalid attempts are made to access the freed memory. While the Simulator offers a great desktop testing experience that requires no purchase of hardware. These are the applications that offer API connectivity from the source code of your application. The modes are toggled via the Hardware  Device menu. the Photos. And last. the omission of a true GPS simulator is performed by GPS calls always resolving to 1 Infinite Loop. variables can be inspected and the stack examined via the key combination ⌘ + ⇧ + Y. Simulator Once a breakpoint is hit. Accordingly. or GPS facilities. For a broader set of programs and more realistic mobile horsepower www. • In the dialog that opens. Camera. iPhone and iPhone 4 simulation modes. is routed.dzone. streams the current device console log to screen and displays details of past crash logs. After saving changes. New elements can be added to a design canvas in a dragand-drop WYSIWYG approach via the Library panel.com . myIntCount). which can be accessed via the ⌘ + ⇧ +L key combination. | The Simulator ships with a limited number of core applications. enumerates your attached iOS devices. the design’s behavior can be immediately tested through the Simulate Interface command. Inc. which both installs the application and launches it. written via calls such as NSLog(@“My counter is: %d”. In the Xcode section. community) primarily as a class-instance designer and property value setter. The iPhone and iPad Simulator is another distinct application in the iPhone SDK that communicates and integrates with the Xcode IDE and with Interface Builder. though graphically designed. actually instantiate the objects declared via the tool when called upon via code. and iPad. click the + button and create a new variable named “NSZombieEnabled” with its value set to “YES”. Interface Builder A tool as powerful as Xcode is Interface Builder. iPhone. • In the lower “Variables to be set” region. The iPhone Simulator offers iPad. we saw how to deploy our application to the Simulator. it may help to think of IB (as it is known in the DZone.

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USA consultancy.g. ality has allocated exclusively to expecte irably.com and http://twitter. The Google Toolbox for Mac provides several useful enhancements to OCUnit and is the testing solution currently recommended by ThoughtWorks for the iOS platform.) All are ML shar limit than rs add elopers As a user of Amazon’s EC2 cloud computing platform. Com bora ■ ■ ■ Aldon ge. com ref car Web applications have always been deployed on servers connected to what is now deemed the ‘cloud’. The web pag s alte Nested es like was onc use HTML ble. Tags standard a very loos g Ajax HTML ML as is disp can tech ely-defi thei ization. architects and decision makers.6 objective-c for the iPhone and iPad CPUs. the demands and technology used on such servers has changed substantially in recent years.mulle-kybernetik. ce pre-in blem with ymen (i. in any form or by means electronic. Inc. rm a The various resources consumed by webperiodically.” says PC Magazine. ated occur based tion autom as they the term” cycle. Redu Autom ory.h and . Server-s the ima alt attribute ribes whe output likew ge is describe re the ima mechan from CLOUD COMPUTING PLATFORMS AND ide languag t-side ise unavaila ge file ism. During Ben’s 13 years of development experience. d. And it shows not only how to take advantage of the Foundation framework’s rich built-in library of classes but also how to use the iPhone SDK to develop programs designed for the iPhone/iPad platform.blogspot. He is the creator of nofluffjuststuff. He writes frequently on software and presenting at his blog: http://ambientideas. Commercial apps that you’ve purchased from the iTunes App Store cannot be installed on the Simulator for DRM reasons and the vast difference in CPU architecture of x86 desktops and ARM mobile devices.mccullough/objectivec ABout the Authors Ben Ellingson is a software engineer and consultant. WAR es al Depe ge t a few explain text) and to “fix” the are solu duc Web application deployment untillibrari yearsenvironmen similar t ago was packa Minim be nden ns to pro all targe rity all depe used CI can ticular con le that alize y i-patter they tend es. with an softw riente loping ine task-o e Deve Mainl es you emphasis oncodelines providers.com/iphone/index.com/books/objective-c #82 Get More Refcardz! Visit refcardz. All rights reserved.001 10/08/09 Copyright © 2010 DZone. ineffect ) Build eve t..http://developer.678.com/p/google-toolbox-for-mac/ OCMock . support as the grap foundation The src of all hical and Java ten attribute and the also recein JavaScri user interfac web develop desc as the e in clien ment. (e.dzone. d deploEAR) each lar pro pattern tterns Pay only what you consume in tagge or cies reposit particu tions that e ed via t nden anti-pa For each (e.http://developer. or transmitted.

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