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iOS 5 Programming Cookbook

Cover of iOS 5 Programming Cookbook by Vandad Nahavandipoor Published by O'Reilly Media, Inc.
  1. iOS 5 Programming Cookbook
    1. SPECIAL OFFER: Upgrade this ebook with O’Reilly
    2. A Note Regarding Supplemental Files
    3. Preface
      1. Audience
      2. Organization of This Book
      3. Additional Resources
      4. Conventions Used in This Book
      5. Using Code Examples
      6. We’d Like to Hear from You
      7. Safari® Books Online
      8. Acknowledgments
    4. 1. The Basics
      1. 1.0. Introduction
      2. 1.1. Creating a Simple iOS App in Xcode
      3. 1.2. Understanding Interface Builder
      4. 1.3. Compiling iOS Apps
      5. 1.4. Running iOS Apps on the Simulator
      6. 1.5. Running iOS Apps on iOS Devices
      7. 1.6. Packaging iOS Apps for Distribution
      8. 1.7. Declaring Variables in Objective-C
      9. 1.8. Allocating and Making Use of Strings
      10. 1.9. Comparing Values in Objective-C with an If Statement
      11. 1.10. Implementing Loops with For Statements
      12. 1.11. Implementing While Loops
      13. 1.12. Creating Custom Classes
      14. 1.13. Defining Functionality for Classes
      15. 1.14. Defining Two or More Methods with the Same Name
      16. 1.15. Allocating and Initializing Objects
      17. 1.16. Adding Properties to Classes
      18. 1.17. Moving From Manual Reference Counting to Automatic Reference Counting
      19. 1.18. Typecasting with Automatic Reference Counting
      20. 1.19. Delegating Tasks with Protocols
      21. 1.20. Determining Whether Instance or Class Methods Are Available
      22. 1.21. Determining Whether a Class Is Available at Runtime
      23. 1.22. Allocating and Making Use of Numbers
      24. 1.23. Allocating and Making Use of Arrays
      25. 1.24. Allocating and Making Use of Dictionaries
      26. 1.25. Allocating and Making Use of Sets
      27. 1.26. Creating Bundles
      28. 1.27. Loading Data From the Main Bundle
      29. 1.28. Loading Data From Other Bundles
      30. 1.29. Sending Notifications with NSNotificationCenter
      31. 1.30. Listening for Notifications Sent From NSNotificationCenter
    5. 2. Implementing Controllers and Views
      1. 2.0. Introduction
      2. 2.1. Displaying Alerts with UIAlertView
      3. 2.2. Creating and Using Switches with UISwitch
      4. 2.3. Picking Values with UIPickerView
      5. 2.4. Picking the Date and Time with UIDatePicker
      6. 2.5. Implementing Range Pickers with UISlider
      7. 2.6. Grouping Compact Options with UISegmentedControl
      8. 2.7. Presenting and Managing Views with UIViewController
      9. 2.8. Implementing Navigation with UINavigationController
      10. 2.9. Manipulating a Navigation Controller’s Array of View Controllers
      11. 2.10. Displaying an Image on a Navigation Bar
      12. 2.11. Adding Buttons to Navigation Bars Using UIBarButtonItem
      13. 2.12. Presenting Multiple View Controllers with UITabBarController
      14. 2.13. Displaying Static Text with UILabel
      15. 2.14. Accepting User Text Input with UITextField
      16. 2.15. Displaying Long Lines of Text with UITextView
      17. 2.16. Adding Buttons to the User Interface with UIButton
      18. 2.17. Displaying Images with UIImageView
      19. 2.18. Creating Scrollable Content with UIScrollView
      20. 2.19. Loading Web Pages with UIWebView
      21. 2.20. Presenting Master-Detail Views with UISplitViewController
      22. 2.21. Enabling Paging with UIPageViewController
      23. 2.22. Displaying Popovers with UIPopoverController
      24. 2.23. Displaying Progress with UIProgressView
      25. 2.24. Listening and Reacting to Keyboard Notifications
    6. 3. Constructing and Using Table Views
      1. 3.0. Introduction
      2. 3.1. Instantiating a Table View
      3. 3.2. Assigning a Delegate to a Table View
      4. 3.3. Populating a Table View with Data
      5. 3.4. Receiving and Handling Table View Events
      6. 3.5. Using Different Types of Accessories in a Table View Cell
      7. 3.6. Creating Custom Table View Cell Accessories
      8. 3.7. Displaying Hierarchical Data in Table Views
      9. 3.8. Enabling Swipe Deletion of Table View Cells
      10. 3.9. Constructing Headers and Footers in Table Views
      11. 3.10. Displaying Context Menus on Table Views Cells
      12. 3.11. Moving Cells and Sections in Table Views
      13. 3.12. Deleting Cells and Sections From Table Views
    7. 4. Storyboards
      1. 4.0. Introduction
      2. 4.1. Creating a Project with Storyboards
      3. 4.2. Adding a Navigation Controller to a Storyboard
      4. 4.3. Passing Data From One Screen to Another
      5. 4.4. Adding a Storyboard to an Existing Project
    8. 5. Concurrency
      1. 5.0. Introduction
      2. 5.1. Constructing Block Objects
      3. 5.2. Accessing Variables in Block Objects
      4. 5.3. Invoking Block Objects
      5. 5.4. Dispatching Tasks to Grand Central Dispatch
      6. 5.5. Performing UI-Related Tasks with GCD
      7. 5.6. Performing Non-UI Related Tasks Synchronously with GCD
      8. 5.7. Performing Non-UI Related Tasks Asynchronously with GCD
      9. 5.8. Performing Tasks After a Delay with GCD
      10. 5.9. Performing a Task Only Once with GCD
      11. 5.10. Grouping Tasks Together with GCD
      12. 5.11. Constructing Your Own Dispatch Queues with GCD
      13. 5.12. Running Tasks Synchronously with Operations
      14. 5.13. Running Tasks Asynchronously with Operations
      15. 5.14. Creating Dependency Between Operations
      16. 5.15. Creating Timers
      17. 5.16. Creating Concurrency with Threads
      18. 5.17. Invoking Background Methods
      19. 5.18. Exiting Threads and Timers
    9. 6. Core Location and Maps
      1. 6.0. Introduction
      2. 6.1. Creating a Map View
      3. 6.2. Handling the Events of a Map View
      4. 6.3. Pinpointing the Location of a Device
      5. 6.4. Displaying Pins on a Map View
      6. 6.5. Displaying Pins with Different Colors on a Map View
      7. 6.6. Displaying Custom Pins on a Map View
      8. 6.7. Converting Meaningful Addresses to Longitude and Latitude
      9. 6.8. Converting Longitude and Latitude to a Meaningful Address
    10. 7. Implementing Gesture Recognizers
      1. 7.0. Introduction
      2. 7.1. Detecting Swipe Gestures
      3. 7.2. Detecting Rotation Gestures
      4. 7.3. Detecting Panning and Dragging Gestures
      5. 7.4. Detecting Long Press Gestures
      6. 7.5. Detecting Tap Gestures
      7. 7.6. Detecting Pinch Gestures
    11. 8. Networking, JSON, XML, and Twitter
      1. 8.0. Introduction
      2. 8.1. Downloading Asynchronously with NSURLConnection
      3. 8.2. Handling Timeouts in Asynchronous Connections
      4. 8.3. Downloading Synchronously with NSURLConnection
      5. 8.4. Modifying a URL Request with NSMutableURLRequest
      6. 8.5. Sending HTTP GET Requests with NSURLConnection
      7. 8.6. Sending HTTP POST Requests with NSURLConnection
      8. 8.7. Sending HTTP DELETE Requests with NSURLConnection
      9. 8.8. Sending HTTP PUT Requests with NSURLConnection
      10. 8.9. Serializing Arrays and Dictionaries into JSON
      11. 8.10. Deserializing JSON into Arrays and Dictionaries
      12. 8.11. Integrating Twitter Functionality into Your Apps
      13. 8.12. Parsing XML with NSXMLParser
    12. 9. Audio and Video
      1. 9.0. Introduction
      2. 9.1. Playing Audio Files
      3. 9.2. Handling Interruptions While Playing Audio
      4. 9.3. Recording Audio
      5. 9.4. Handling Interruptions While Recording Audio
      6. 9.5. Playing Audio Over Other Active Sounds
      7. 9.6. Playing Video Files
      8. 9.7. Capturing Thumbnails From a Video File
      9. 9.8. Accessing the Music Library
    13. 10. Address Book
      1. 10.0. Introduction
      2. 10.1. Retrieving a Reference to an Address Book
      3. 10.2. Retrieving All the People in the Address Book
      4. 10.3. Retrieving Properties of Address Book Entries
      5. 10.4. Inserting a Person Entry into the Address Book
      6. 10.5. Inserting a Group Entry into the Address Book
      7. 10.6. Adding Persons to Groups
      8. 10.7. Searching the Address Book
      9. 10.8. Retrieving and Setting a Person’s Address Book Image
    14. 11. Camera and the Photo Library
      1. 11.0. Introduction
      2. 11.1. Detecting and Probing the Camera
      3. 11.2. Taking Photos with the Camera
      4. 11.3. Taking Videos with the Camera
      5. 11.4. Storing Photos in the Photo Library
      6. 11.5. Storing Videos in the Photo Library
      7. 11.6. Retrieving Photos and Videos From the Photo Library
      8. 11.7. Retrieving Assets From the Assets Library
      9. 11.8. Editing Videos on an iOS Device
    15. 12. Multitasking
      1. 12.0. Introduction
      2. 12.1. Detecting the Availability of Multitasking
      3. 12.2. Completing a Long-Running Task in the Background
      4. 12.3. Receiving Local Notifications in the Background
      5. 12.4. Playing Audio in the Background
      6. 12.5. Handling Location Changes in the Background
      7. 12.6. Saving and Loading the State of Multitasking iOS Apps
      8. 12.7. Handling Network Connections in the Background
      9. 12.8. Handling Notifications Delivered to a Waking App
      10. 12.9. Responding to Changes in App Settings
      11. 12.10. Opting Out of Multitasking
    16. 13. Core Data
      1. 13.0. Introduction
      2. 13.1. Creating a Core Data Model with Xcode
      3. 13.2. Generating Class Files for Core Data Entities
      4. 13.3. Creating and Saving Data Using Core Data
      5. 13.4. Reading Data From Core Data
      6. 13.5. Deleting Data From Core Data
      7. 13.6. Sorting Data in Core Data
      8. 13.7. Boosting Data Access in Table Views
      9. 13.8. Implementing Relationships in Core Data
    17. 14. Dates, Calendars, and Events
      1. 14.0. Introduction
      2. 14.1. Retrieving the List of Calendars
      3. 14.2. Adding Events to Calendars
      4. 14.3. Accessing the Contents of Calendars
      5. 14.4. Removing Events From Calendars
      6. 14.5. Adding Recurring Events to Calendars
      7. 14.6. Retrieving the Attendees of an Event
      8. 14.7. Adding Alarms to Calendars
      9. 14.8. Handling Event Changed Notifications
      10. 14.9. Presenting Event View Controllers
      11. 14.10. Presenting Event Edit View Controllers
    18. 15. Graphics and Animations
      1. 15.0. Introduction
      2. 15.1. Enumerating and Loading Fonts
      3. 15.2. Drawing Text
      4. 15.3. Constructing, Setting, and Using Colors
      5. 15.4. Drawing Images
      6. 15.5. Drawing Lines
      7. 15.6. Constructing Paths
      8. 15.7. Drawing Rectangles
      9. 15.8. Adding Shadows to Shapes
      10. 15.9. Drawing Gradients
      11. 15.10. Displacing Shapes Drawn on Graphic Contexts
      12. 15.11. Scaling Shapes Drawn on Graphic Contexts
      13. 15.12. Rotating Shapes Drawn on Graphic Contexts
      14. 15.13. Animating and Moving Views
      15. 15.14. Animating and Scaling Views
      16. 15.15. Animating and Rotating Views
    19. 16. Core Motion
      1. 16.0. Introduction
      2. 16.1. Detecting the Availability of an Accelerometer
      3. 16.2. Detecting the Availability of a Gyroscope
      4. 16.3. Retrieving Accelerometer Data
      5. 16.4. Detecting Shakes on an iOS Device
      6. 16.5. Retrieving Gyroscope Data
    20. 17. iCloud
      1. 17.0. Introduction
      2. 17.1. Setting Up Your App for iCloud
      3. 17.2. Storing and Synchronizing Dictionaries in iCloud
      4. 17.3. Creating and Managing Folders for Apps in iCloud
      5. 17.4. Searching for Files and Folders in iCloud
      6. 17.5. Storing User Documents in iCloud
      7. 17.6. Managing the State of Documents in iCloud
      8. 17.7. Handling Conflicts in iCloud Documents
    21. Index
    22. About the Author
    23. Colophon
    24. SPECIAL OFFER: Upgrade this ebook with O’Reilly

1.16. Adding Properties to Classes


You want to add properties to your classes so that you can take advantage of dot notation to access those values, as opposed to using methods on your classes.


Define properties in your classes using the @property keyword.


Anything addressed via dot notation is a property. Properties are shortcuts to methods. What do I mean? Well, let’s have a look at an example:

NSObject *myObject = [[NSObject alloc] init];
myObject.accessibilityHint = @"Some string";

You can see that we allocated and initialized an object of type NSObject and used dot notation to access a property called accessibilityHint in that object. Where did accessibilityHint come from?

It’s quite simple. A property is defined using the @property keyword. In fact, if you hold down the Command key on your keyboard in Xcode, and simply click on the accessibilityHint property in the example that we just saw, you will be redirected to the NSObject.h file where you will see this:

@property(nonatomic, copy) NSString *accessibilityHint;

But what are properties? Well, when we define a property, we tell the compiler that we will write a setter and a getter method for this property. If somebody tries to set a value in this property, the runtime will execute our setter method. If somebody tries to read from the property, the runtime will execute the getter method.

Let’s see this in detail. In Recipe 1.12 we saw how we create classes. We created a class called Person. In Recipe 1.13 we learned how to add methods to our classes, so let’s combine the two to learn more about properties. Let’s go to the Person.h file and define a property called firstName:

#import <Foundation/Foundation.h>

@interface Person : NSObject

@property (nonatomic, strong) NSString *firstName;


Now try to compile your program by pressing Command+Shift+R. Note that the LLVM Compiler will give you two warnings:

warning: property 'firstName' requires method 'firstName' to be defined - 
      use @synthesize, @dynamic or provide a method implementation [3]
warning: property 'firstName' requires method 'setFirstName:' to be defined - 
use @synthesize, @dynamic or provide a method implementation [3]


You will learn all about new Automatic Reference Counting keywords, such as strong, in Recipe 1.17.

A nonatomic property is a property that is not meant to be accessed and changed by multiple threads at the same time. Such a property or variable is not thread-safe. A thread-safe (atomic) variable will prevent multiple threads from writing to it at the same time, or a thread from reading it while another thread is writing to it. For performance reasons and the overhead that is involved in order to handle such variables, atomic variables are not present by default in iOS.

It’s obvious that the property has been created, but the compiler doesn’t know what to do in case somebody tries to read this property or assign a value it. For this reason, we have to write a setter and a getter method. The compiler is clearly telling us that the setter method should be called setFirstName: and the getter method should be called firstName. Fortunately, we don’t have to write these two methods for properties manually. We can use the @synthesize keyword in the .m file to let the compiler generate the setter and the getter methods for our properties automatically:

#import "Person.h"

@implementation Person
@synthesize firstName;

- (id)init
  self = [super init];
  if (self) {
    // Initialization code here.

  return self;


Now we can go ahead and use our Person class. Here is an example:

#import "SomeOtherClass.h"
#import "Person.h"

@implementation SomeOtherClass

- (void) makeNewPerson{

  Person *newPerson = [[Person alloc] init];
  newPerson.firstName = @"Andrew";
  NSLog(@"First name = %@", newPerson.firstName);
  NSLog(@"First name = %@", [newPerson firstName]);



The example code prints the first name of newPerson twice, first using its firstName property and then by calling the firstName getter method on that object. Both will point to the same method, which @synthesize created for us in the Person.m file.


In an older version of the Objective-C runtime, for @property to work, we also had to define an instance variable. An instance variable is a variable whose memory management is done by the programmer herself. Instance variables are also not exposed to classes outside the scope of the class that defines them (that is, they are not exposed to any class that simply imports the class with the instance variable). Instance variables are normally called ivars by professional Objective-C developers (ivar is pronounced I-WAR, with the V pronounced as a W).

With the new runtime, we don’t have to define ivars anymore. We simply define the property and the LLVM compiler defines the ivar for us. If you are using the GCC compiler, which is rather unlikely, you will see big differences from how the LLVM compiler treats ivars. For instance, in GCC 4.2, an ivar is not accessible to any subclass of a class, whereas if you are using LLVM Compiler, a subclass of a class can use its superclass’s ivars. So make sure you are using Apple’s latest compiler, which is LLVM. If a property is read-only, the only way that property’s value can change is for the class that defines that property to use the ivar of that property to change the property’s value.

If you want to fiddle around with setter and getter methods, you are free to do so. Even if you have used @synthesize to allow the compiler to generate the setter and getter methods of a property for you, you can still go ahead and override those methods. For instance, in this example, I change the setFirstName: setter method of the firstName property of the Person:

#import "Person.h"

@implementation Person
@synthesize firstName;

- (void) setFirstName:(NSString *)paramFirstName{
  firstName = [paramFirstName stringByAppendingString:@" Jr"];

- (id)init
  self = [super init];
  if (self) {
    // Initialization code here.

  return self;


I have overridden the setter method of my firstName property to add a “ Jr” suffix to any string that I am told to assign to the firstName property. So when the setter and getters are invoked, as before:

Person *newPerson = [[Person alloc] init];
newPerson.firstName = @"Andrew";
NSLog(@"First name = %@", newPerson.firstName);
NSLog(@"First name = %@", [newPerson firstName]);

We will get the following printed out to the console window:

First name = Andrew Jr
First name = Andrew Jr

If you want to define a read-only property, all you have to do is to define your property using the @readonly keyword, like so:

@property (nonatomic, strong, readonly) NSString *lastName;

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