cprg-190 day one

Posted on May 08, 2013 ios sait

instructor: kris hopkins kris.hopkins@sait.ca

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Acronym soup:

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xcodeproj - This is the xcode project.

Why is there NS in front of log? Objective C was created by the company NeXT. NeXT first introduced their object-oriented operating system, called NeXTSTEP, in the late 80s. Many of the classes you will see in Objective-C still have NS in front of them as a reference to Next Step.

Why is there a symbol @ in front of the string we are logging? Objective-C is a strict superset of C. This means you can compile any C code in an Objective-C project. In Objective-C we never use C Strings, we always use object oriented strings, called NSStrings. The @ symbol is a heads up to the compiler that what is coming next is an Objective-C NSString and not a C string.

Objective-C Primitive Data Types

There are 5 primitive datatypes in Objective-C:

  1. int - integer
  2. float - floating point number
  3. double - double precision floating point number
  4. char - a single character
  5. BOOL - YES or NO

Everything else is a Class data type.

Objective-C Variables

  • variables are used to identify a value.
  • variables are always strongly typed.
  • every variable must be one data type only and must be declared.
  int myInt;
  myInt = 5;
  int myInt = 5;

Format Specifiers

  • %d - int
  • %f - float, double
  • %c - char
  • %@ - any object e.g NSString

  • Note that when outputting the value for a BOOL data type use %d to get the int value. 0 for NO and 1 for YES


All objects use pointser. A pointer is a variable that holds a reference to an address in memory instead of an actual value. The address in memory holds the actual value that has been assigned.

  NSString * myString = @"Hello";

  NSLog(@"What the what? %@", myString);

Arithmetic Operators

  • ”+” Add
  • ”-“ Subtract
  • “*” Multiply
  • ”/” divide
  • ”%” remainder (modulus)
  • ”=” assignment
  • ”+=” add R to L, then assign to L
  • ”-=” subtract R from L, then assign to L
  • “*=” multiply L by R, then assign to L
  • ”/=” divide R into L, then assign result to L
  • ”%=” L mod B, then assign to L
  • ”++” add 1
  • ”–” subtract

Relational Operators

Work same way they do in other C-based languages.

  • ”==” equal to
  • ”!=” not equal to
  • ”<” less than
  • ”<=” less than or equal to
  • ”>” greater than
  • ”>=” greater than or equal to

Logical Operators

All logical operators work exactly the same way they do in other C-based languages:

  • “&&” and
  •   ” or
  • ”!” not

Custom classes

NSObject is the top level class and parent class of all other classes in Objective-C.

Objective-C classes contain two files. The first is the interface file, identified by the .h suffix. This can also be called the “header” file (h = header). The second is the implementation file, identified by a .m suffix.

The interface file contains a declaration of the elements of a class that other classes can see. The implementation file contains all the actual content for the class.

All of the declarations inside an interface file are contains within the @interface and @end keywords.

All of the content inside an implementation file is contained within the @implementation and @end keywords.


  #import <Foundation/Foundation.h>
  @interface Person : NSObject
  1. Preprocessor statement. Imports the Foundation framework so we have access to the build Objective-C classes such as NSObject.
  2. Shows that this is an interface for Person.
  3. Closes the interface section of the file.


#import "Person.h"
@implementation Person
  1. Import our header file so our implementation file can see it.
  2. begin implementation section of the file, and states the name of the classes.
  3. close the implementation.

@property keyword tells the compiler that we want to create a property. strong and nonatomic keywords have to do with memory management and we’ll talk about them later.

  Person * newPerson = [Person new];

Create a new instance of Person. This is like new Person() in other languages. Instead of “calling a method” we are “sending a message”.

Sending the new message to the Person class will work, but you’ll rarely see it this way. It is much more common to see the instantiation of the object like this:

  Person * newPerson = [[Person alloc] init];

This breaks the new message into two parts. First we allocate memory for our object (alloc), then we initialize it by calling the object’s initialization message (init).

Many objective c classes have many different init messages that do different things and pass in different arguments.

  NSString * newString = [[NSString alloc] initWithFormat:@"%@", @"my text"];

Here is how you set and get our firstName property:

  [newPerson setFirstName:@"Mo"];
  newPerson.firstName = @"Mo";
  [newPerson firstName]

Methods (Messages)

  -(void) doSomething

  -(void) doSomething:(NSString *)firstThing
  • (+) class method
  • (-) instance method
  • (void) return type

  • A colon is required if there is at least one argument.
  • The data type must be stated.
  • We assign a name to each argument.

If you want to be able to call your method from other classes, we need to declare it in our interface (header) file:

Public and Private

Any property declared in the .h file is public. To make it private, put it in an @interface block above the @implementation block in the .m file, like this:

  @interface Person()
  @property (strong, nonatomic) NSString * myPrivateString;

Any method declared in the .h file is public. To make a method private, simple do not declare it in the .h file.

Strong/Weak References

A strong reference to an object is one where the memory is reserved (and the object stays alive) until we don’t need it any more. This is the default.

A weak reference to an object is one where the memory is reserved only until all other strong pointers stop pointing to it strongly.

We will almost always use a strong reference.