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Effective Objective-C 2.0: 52 Specific Ways to Improve Your iOS and OS X Programs

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Effective Objective-C 2.0: 52 Specific Ways to Improve Your iOS and OS X Programs


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  • 50 high-performance techniques for seasoned Objective-C developers: fully harness Objective-C’s expressive power to write better code!
  • Objective-C insider Matt Halloway brings together powerful best practices, patterns, and shortcuts not found anywhere else
  • Includes expert solutions and sample code for both iOS and Mac OS X
  • Helps students avoid common mistakes that lead to entangled, unmaintainable code
  • Shows how to make the most of Grand Central Dispatch and other key system libraries
  • Guides students to a far deeper understanding of the language and runtime
  • Follows the enormously popular “Effective” format proven in Scott Meyers’ classic Effective C++


  • Copyright 2013
  • Dimensions: 7" x 9-1/8"
  • Edition: 1st
  • Book
  • ISBN-10: 0-321-91701-4
  • ISBN-13: 978-0-321-91701-0

Write Truly Great iOS and OS X Code with Objective-C 2.0!

Effective Objective-C 2.0 will help you harness all of Objective-C’s expressive power to write OS X or iOS code that works superbly well in production environments. Using the concise, scenario-driven style pioneered in Scott Meyers’ best-selling Effective C++, Matt Galloway brings together 52 Objective-C best practices, tips, shortcuts, and realistic code examples that are available nowhere else.

Through real-world examples, Galloway uncovers little-known Objective-C quirks, pitfalls, and intricacies that powerfully impact code behavior and performance. You’ll learn how to choose the most efficient and effective way to accomplish key tasks when multiple options exist, and how to write code that’s easier to understand, maintain, and improve. Galloway goes far beyond the core language, helping you integrate and leverage key Foundation framework classes and modern system libraries, such as Grand Central Dispatch.

Coverage includes

  • Optimizing interactions and relationships between Objective-C objects
  • Mastering interface and API design: writing classes that feel “right at home”
  • Using protocols and categories to write maintainable, bug-resistant code
  • Avoiding memory leaks that can still occur even with Automatic Reference Counting (ARC)
  • Writing modular, powerful code with Blocks and Grand Central Dispatch
  • Leveraging differences between Objective-C protocols and multiple inheritance in other languages
  • Improving code by more effectively using arrays, dictionaries, and sets
  • Uncovering surprising power in the Cocoa and Cocoa Touch frameworks

Sample Content

Online Sample Chapter

Accustoming Yourself to Objective-C

Sample Pages

Download the sample pages (includes Chapter 1 and Index)

Table of Contents

Preface         xi

Acknowledgments         xv

About the Author         xvii

Chapter 1: Accustoming Yourself to Objective-C          1

Item 1: Familiarize Yourself with Objective-C’s Roots  1

Item 2: Minimize Importing Headers in Headers  4

Item 3: Prefer Literal Syntax over the Equivalent Methods  8

Item 4: Prefer Typed Constants to Preprocessor #define  12

Item 5: Use Enumerations for States, Options, and Status Codes  17

Chapter 2: Objects, Messaging, and the Runtime         25

Item 6: Understand Properties  25

Item 7: Access Instance Variables Primarily Directly When Accessing Them Internally  33

Item 8: Understand Object Equality  36

Item 9: Use the Class Cluster Pattern to Hide Implementation Detail  42

Item 10: Use Associated Objects to Attach Custom Data to Existing Classes  47

Item 11: Understand the Role of objc_msgSend  50

Item 12: Understand Message Forwarding  54

Item 13: Consider Method Swizzling to Debug Opaque Methods  62

Item 14: Understand What a Class Object Is  66

Chapter 3: Interface and API Design         73

Item 15: Use Prefix Names to Avoid Namespace Clashes  73

Item 16: Have a Designated Initializer  78

Item 17: Implement the description Method  84

Item 18: Prefer Immutable Objects  89

Item 19: Use Clear and Consistent Naming  95

Item 20: Prefix Private Method Names  102

Item 21: Understand the Objective-C Error Model  104

Item 22: Understand the NSCopying Protocol  109

Chapter 4: Protocols and Categories         115

Item 23: Use Delegate and Data Source Protocols for Interobject Communication  115

Item 24: Use Categories to Break Class Implementations into Manageable Segments  123

Item 25: Always Prefix Category Names on Third-Party Classes  127

Item 26: Avoid Properties in Categories  130

Item 27: Use the Class-Continuation Category to Hide Implementation Detail  133

Item 28: Use a Protocol to Provide Anonymous Objects  140

Chapter 5: Memory Management         145

Item 29: Understand Reference Counting  145

Item 30: Use ARC to Make Reference Counting Easier  153

Item 31: Release References and Clean Up Observation State Only in dealloc  162

Item 32: Beware of Memory Management with Exception-Safe Code  165

Item 33: Use Weak References to Avoid Retain Cycles  168

Item 34: Use Autorelease Pool Blocks to Reduce High-Memory Waterline  173

Item 35: Use Zombies to Help Debug Memory-Management Problems  177

Item 36: Avoid Using retainCount  183

Chapter 6: Blocks and Grand Central Dispatch          187

Item 37: Understand Blocks  188

Item 38: Create typedefs for Common Block Types  194

Item 39: Use Handler Blocks to Reduce Code Separation  197

Item 40: Avoid Retain Cycles Introduced by Blocks Referencing the Object Owning Them  203

Item 41: Prefer Dispatch Queues to Locks for Synchronization  208

Item 42: Prefer GCD to performSelector and Friends  213

Item 43: Know When to Use GCD and When to Use Operation Queues  217

Item 44: Use Dispatch Groups to Take Advantage of Platform Scaling  220

Item 45: Use dispatch_once for Thread-Safe Single-Time Code Execution  225

Item 46: Avoid dispatch_get_current_queue  226

Chapter 7: The System Frameworks         233

Item 47: Familiarize Yourself with the System Frameworks  233

Item 48: Prefer Block Enumeration to for Loops  236

Item 49: Use Toll-Free Bridging for Collections with Custom Memory-Management Semantics  243

Item 50: Use NSCache Instead of NSDictionary for Caches  248

Item 51: Keep initialize and load Implementations Lean  252

Item 52: Remember that NSTimer Retains Its Target  258

Index          265


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