ACS SDK and Demo App for iOS
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This open source iOS library allows you to integrate the ACS server backend into your iOS application on iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch.

Except as otherwise noted, the ACS iOS SDK is licensed under the Apache License, Version 2.0 (

Note: The ACS iOS SDK is no longer being developed or maintained. Please consider using the Appcelerator Platform Services SDK for iOS instead (Platform subscription required).

Getting Started

Download the SDK

Grab the ACS iOS SDK from See the DemoApp sample project for an example of storing and retrieving data with the SDK.

Adding ACS to your XCode Project

  1. Create a ACS app from the My Apps page. Then in XCode, create an iOS project and add the following folders from acs-ios-sdk/src/ to your project:


    You can choose to use your own copy of ASIHTTPRequest (v1.8 or above) and FBConnect from facebook-ios-sdk (updated on or after Jan 31, 2011). The only change we made to the ASIHTTPRequest in our copy is in ASIHttpRequest.m:

    - (void)readResponseHeaders
      if ([self responseStatusCode] == 401) {
        // Commented out by ACS
        // [self setAuthenticationNeeded:ASIHTTPAuthenticationNeeded];
      } else if ([self responseStatusCode] == 407) {
        [self setAuthenticationNeeded:ASIProxyAuthenticationNeeded];

    The ACS API server returns HTTP response code 401 in a number of different error situations. However, ASIHttpRequest interprets all 401 responses as Authentication Needed. This can be confusing if you want to show users the exact error that has occurred. For instance: Invalid user email/password, invalid oauth token. We commented out the above line to let the server error message to pass through.

    If you are using your own version of ASIHttpRequest, you can choose to do the same to let server authentication error message pass through.

  2. Add the following frameworks to your project:


    There are two copies of YAJL.framework under acs-ios-sdk/src/:


    We suggest that you add ARMv7s-YAJL-framework to your project, which is the newest version of the YAJL framework, for ARMv7s. If you get any errors when using ARMv7s-YAJL-framework, please switch to the older version YAJL framework (acs-ios-sdk/src/YAJL.framework). The older version of the YAJL framework is also availabe from the following github repo:

  3. Under Other Linker Flags in your target, add:

    -ObjC -all_load
  4. In your code, include the ACS header:

    #import "ACSClient.h"

Now you're ready to go!

Initialization & Authorization

If you choose to use oauth consumer key/secret to authenticate your app with ACS, in your AppDelegate.m, define:

#define ACSCLIENT_OAUTH_CONSUMER_KEY @"your consumer key here"
#define ACSCLIENT_OAUTH_CONSUMER_SECRET @"your consumer secret here"

and initialize ACS with the key/secret:

[ACSClient initializeWithOauthConsumerKey:ACSCLIENT_OAUTH_CONSUMER_KEY consumerSecret:ACSCLIENT_OAUTH_CONSUMER_SECRET customAppIds:nil];

Or, if you choose to use app key to authenticate your app, in your AppDelegate.m, define:

#define ACSCLIENT_APP_KEY @"your app key here"

and initialize ACS with the app key:

[ACSClient initializeWithAppKey:ACSCLIENT_APP_KEY customAppIds:nil];

Once ACS is initialized, you can access it by calling:

[ACSClient defaultACSClient]

Facebook Integration

  1. Create a new Facebook App if you don't have one yet.

  2. Obtain the Facebook App ID from Facebook. You can get the Facebook App ID from Facebook, you will use it later in your project.

  3. Add the Facebook framework to your Xcode project. The ACS iOS SDK currently uses the Facebook SDK version 3.1, which only provides a framework. To use this framework, you must add it to your Xcode project:

    1. In Xcode with your project open, and your target selected go to the Build Phases tab and expand the Link Binary With Libraries item.

    2. Click the Add button (+) located at the bottom of the Link Binary With Libraries section.

    3. In the Choose frameworks and libraries to add: click Add Other.

    4. Select the folder: acs-ios-sdk/src/FacebookSDK.framework.

  4. Add additional iOS frameworks. Some additional frameworks must be linked in your Xcode project.

    1. In Xcode with your project open, and your target selected go to the Build Phases tab and expand the Link Binary With Libraries item.

    2. Click the Add button (+) located at the bottom of the Link Binary With Libraries section.

    3. Select Accounts.framework, AdSupport.framework, and Social.framework and click the Add button.

  5. Add the SQLite dynamic linked library to your Xcode project.

    1. In Xcode with your project open, and your project selected go to the Build Settings tab and expand the Linking item

    2. Add the flag -lsqlite3.0 to the Other Linker Flags item.

  6. Add two Facebook bundles to your project.

    Drag the following two files to your project navigator pane to add them to your project:

  7. Add the Facebook SDK Header files to your project.

    Drag the following folder to your project navigator pane to add it to your project:

  8. Add the Facebook ID to your app's Info.plist file under URL types.

  9. Add the following code to your AppDelegate.m file:

    // pre 4.2
    - (BOOL)application:(UIApplication *)application handleOpenURL:(NSURL *)url
    	return [[[ACSClient defaultACSClient] getFacebook] handleOpenURL:url];
    // 4.2+
    - (BOOL)application:(UIApplication *)application openURL:(NSURL *)url
      sourceApplication:(NSString *)sourceApplication annotation:(id)annotation {
    	return [[[ACSClient defaultACSClient] getFacebook] handleOpenURL:url];

Push Notification

To enable Apple Push Notification service for your application, create an Apple Push Notification certificate and upload the certificate to the ACS server.

Note that Apple push notifications do not work on simulators.

For information about iOS push notifications, see iOS Developer Library: Local and Push Notification Programming Guide.

Create and Upload a Push Notification Certificate

To create an Apple Push Notification certificate, you need to first create an Explicit App ID. The App ID is used to identify where to send the push notification, which is tied to the certificate when you create it. After you create the certificate, export the certificate to PKCS #12 format and upload it to the ACS server. This certificate allows the ACS server to communicate with the Apple Push Notification server to send push notifications to iOS devices.

Register an App ID

  1. Log in to the Apple Developer Member Center as the Team Agent or Admin.
  2. Click the link under Certificates, Identifiers & Profiles.
  3. Click Identifiers, then click the plus sign (+) button near the top-right corner.
  4. Enter a description, which cannot include special characters (including most punctuation).
  5. Select the App ID Prefix to use.
  6. For the App ID Suffix, choose Explicit App ID and enter your Bundle ID. For Titanium applications, this is your Application ID from the tiapp.xml file.
  7. Under App Services, check the Push Notifications checkbox to enable push notifications for this App ID.
  8. Click Continue, Submit, then Done.

Note: You cannot use a Wildcard App ID for an application with push notifications.

Generate an Apple Push Notification Certificate

These directions cover how to generate an Apple Push Notification certificate for both testing (Development) and production (Distribution). Only step #4 differs based on which certificate you create.

  1. Log in to the Apple Developer Member Center as the Team Agent or Admin.
  2. Click the link under Certificates, Identifiers & Profiles.
  3. Click Certificates, then click the plus sign (+) button near the top-right corner.
  4. For testing, select Apple Push Notification service SSL (Sandbox) and for production, select Apple Push Notification service SSL (Production), then click Continue.
  5. Select the App ID that you created previously from the drop-down list, then click Continue.
  6. Follow the directions to create a Certificate Signing Request (CSR). Click Continue.
  7. Upload your CSR and click Generate.
  8. You will be returned to the Certificates page with the status listed as Pending. Wait a moment then refresh the page in your browser.
  9. Even though you are logged in as the Team Agent or Admin, you may need to approve your certificate. Click Approve.
  10. Download the certificate (.cer) file to your computer.
  11. Double-click the file to install it into your keychain.

Export the Certificate

  1. Open your Keychain. Select Applications > Utitlies > Keychain Access.
  2. Under Categories on the left side, click My Certificates.
  3. Right-click the certificate you installed previously and select Export.
  4. In the File Format drop-down, select Personal Information Exchange (.p12).
  5. Click Save.
  6. You are prompted to enter a password for the file. Enter a password, then click Save.

Keychain exports your certificate as a PKCS #12 file that you upload to ACS to enable Apple Push Notification for your application.

Configure the ACS web console

You use the Dashboard (Enterprise applications) or My App (Community applications) to upload your PKCS #12 (.p12) file to ACS and enable Apple Push Notification with your application.

To configure your app for push notifications (Enterprise developers):

  1. Open Dashboard.
  2. Select your application from the drop-down list of applications.
  3. Select the Cloud tab.
  4. Select Settings & Configuration from the left-hand navigation.
  5. Select the iOS Push tab.
  6. Click Choose File in the Push Certificate field.
  7. Locate the PKCS #12 file your exported previously and click Choose.
  8. Enter the certificate's password in the Certificate Password box field.
  9. Click Save Changes.

To configure your app for push notifications (Community developers):

  1. Open My Apps.
  2. Find your application in the list of apps and click the Manage ACS link.
  3. In the Apple iOS Push Certificates section, click Choose File.
  4. Locate the PKCS #12 file your exported previously and click Choose.
  5. Enter the certificate's password in the Certificate Password box field. (A password is required despite the placeholder text indicating it's optional.)
  6. Click Save Changes.

Create a Provisioning Profile

You need to create a provisioning profile to embed in your application. This verifies the integrity of the application based on the information within the profile, such as the App ID and certificate you created previously.

These directions cover how to generate a provisioning profile for Development, Ad Hoc, In House and App Store distribution. If you are distributing as a member of the iOS Developer Enterprise Program, you will have the In House distribution option instead of the App Store option. Only steps #4 and #7 differ based on which profile you create.

  1. Log in to the Apple Developer Member Center as the Team Agent or Admin.
  2. Click the link under Certificates, Identifiers & Profiles.
  3. Click Provision Profiles, then click the plus sign (+) button near the top-right corner.
  4. For testing, select iOS App Development, and for production, select either App Store to distribute to the App Store, Ad Hoc to distribute to a limited number of devices or In House for in house distribution to your company's employees, then click Continue.
  5. Select the App ID you created previously from the drop-down list, then click Continue.
  6. Select a certificate, then click Continue.
  7. For development and ad hoc distributions, select the devices you want to be able to run the app on, then click Continue.
  8. Enter a name for your provisioning profile. You should use a word like "dev", "distribution" or "ad hoc" in the name so that it is clear later what this profile is for. Click Generate.
  9. Click Download to save your provisioning profile file (.mobileprovision) to your computer, then click Done.
  10. Double-click the provisioning profile file to install it to Xcode.

Update your code to register for push notifications

In yourAppDelegate.m, add the following code after initializing ACS in method didFinishLaunchingWithOptions:

- (BOOL)application:(UIApplication *)application didFinishLaunchingWithOptions:(NSDictionary *)launchOptions
	// Initialize the ACSClient with Facebook App Id if you set one
	[ACSClient initializeWithOauthConsumerKey:ACSCLIENT_OAUTH_CONSUMER_KEY consumerSecret:ACSCLIENT_OAUTH_CONSUMER_SECRET customAppIds:[NSDictionary dictionaryWithObject:facebookAppId forKey:@"Facebook"]];


	[[UIApplication sharedApplication] registerForRemoteNotificationTypes:(UIRemoteNotificationTypeSound | UIRemoteNotificationTypeAlert | UIRemoteNotificationTypeBadge)];

	// Code below is optional if you want to handle the notification after the app is launched by push notification
	if (launchOptions != nil)
		NSDictionary* dictionary = [launchOptions objectForKey:UIApplicationLaunchOptionsRemoteNotificationKey];
		if (dictionary != nil)
			NSLog(@"Launched from push notification: %@", dictionary);

    return YES;

Also add the following code to yourAppDelegate.m to receive a device token to pass to ACS:

- (void)application:(UIApplication*)application didRegisterForRemoteNotificationsWithDeviceToken:(NSData*)deviceToken
	NSString* newToken = [deviceToken description];
	newToken = [newToken stringByTrimmingCharactersInSet:[NSCharacterSet characterSetWithCharactersInString:@"<>"]];
	newToken = [newToken stringByReplacingOccurrencesOfString:@" " withString:@""];

	NSLog(@"My token is: %@", newToken);

	// Add to ACS
	[[ACSClient defaultACSClient] setDeviceToken:newToken];

Then refer to the {@link PushNotifications} API reference to see how to subscribe and send push notifications. You can also log on to your ACS App Console to send push notifications to all your subscribed clients.

ACS Model Classes

The SDK defines a list of object model classes that correspond to the server objects under ACS/Models. They are all subclasses of CCObject or CCObjectWithPhoto.

Making API Calls

The ACS iOS SDK provides the CCRequest class with delegate callbacks to make synchronous or asynchronous REST calls to the ACS server easier. CCRequest is a subclass of the ASIHttpRequest class. (For more information on ASIHTTPRequest, see the ASIHTTPRequest web site.)

To instantiate a CCRequest object:

// Use HTTPS by default
-(id)initWithDelegate:(id)requestDelegate httpMethod:(NSString *)httpMethod baseUrl:(NSString *)baseUrl paramDict:(NSDictionary *)paramDict;


// Use HTTP. set protocol to @"http"
-(id)initWithDelegate:(id)requestDelegate httpProtocol:(NSString *)protocol httpMethod:(NSString *)httpMethod baseUrl:(NSString *)baseUrl paramDict:(NSDictionary *)paramDict;


If you want to perform an asynchronous call, pass in the delegate object that implements the CCRequestDelegate methods didSucceed and didFailWithError:

-(void)ccrequest:(CCRequest *)request didSucceed:(CCResponse *)response;

-(void)ccrequest:(CCRequest *)request didFailWithError:(NSError *)error;

If you want to perform a synchronous REST call, you can pass in nil to the delegate parameter.


If the request url is:

Then the baseUrl is:



The possible values are @"GET", @"POST", @"PUT: or @"DELETE"


It is a NSDictionary of parameters and values that will be passed to the baseUrl.


Register a new user:

NSMutableDictionary *paramDict = [NSMutableDictionary dictionaryWithCapacity:5];
[paramDict setObject:@"" forKey:@"email"];
[paramDict setObject:@"John" forKey:@"first_name"];
[paramDict setObject:@"Woo" forKey:@"last_name"];
[paramDict setObject:@"pass" forKey:@"password"];
[paramDict setObject:@"pass" forKey:@"password_confirmation"];
CCRequest *request = [[CCRequest alloc] initWithDelegate:self httpMethod:@"POST" baseUrl:@"users/create.json" paramDict:paramDict];
[request startAsynchronous]; // for asynchronous call and use ASIHttp's shared operation queue

To make an asynchronous request and use your own operation queue, replace the last line with:

[myOperationQueue addOperation:request]; // for asynchronous call and use my own operation queue

Or to make a synchronous call, replace the startAsynchronous call with the following line:

CCResponse *response = [request startSynchronousRequest]; // for synchronous call

Asynchronous call

It is recommended to run all the REST calls asynchronously for better user experience. If you want to be able to identify the request in the callback, you can add custom userInfo to the CCRequest object for your own record.

NSDictionary *userInfo = [NSDictionary dictionaryWithObjectsAndKeys:@"custom", @"type", nil];
[request setUserInfo:userInfo];

Handling Server Responses

The CCResponse object defined in ACS/Network/CCResponse.h contains the response sent back from the ACS server. It has the following objects:

  • response.meta contains the response metadata.
  • response.response is an NSDictionary representation of the raw JSON response.

For example, if the REST call is expected to return an array of {@link Users}, your handler code might look like this:

-(void)ccrequest:(CCRequest *)request didSucceed:(CCResponse *)response
	NSArray *results = [response getObjectsOfType:[CCUser class]];
	for (CCUser *user in results) {
		NSLog(@"user is %@", user)

The getObjectsOfType method is used to extract a list of objects from the response. Refer to ACS/Models for a list of supported class names.

Photo Uploads

To upload a photo, after you have instantiated a CCRequest object, you can use one of the following two methods:

// For uploading directly from photo album using ALAssetLibrary
[request addPhotoALAsset:(ALAsset *)alasset paramDict:(NSDictionary *)paramDict];


// For uploading an UIImage
[request addPhotoUIImage:(UIImage *)image paramDict:(NSDictionary *)paramDict];

If you have more than one photo to send, you can call any of the above methods with a new image. Currently only photo update allows multiple photos upload.

paramDict is optional, if you want the SDK to resize the original photo or lower the image quality for faster uploads, you set the following key/values in the paramDict:

[params setObject:[NSNumber numberWithInt:800] forKey:@"max_size"]; // maximum pixels allowed
[params setObject:[NSNumber numberWithDouble:0.5] forKey:@"jpeg_compression"]; // (0 < jpeg compression <= 1), 1 is the highest quality.

You can also choose to upload a photo synchronously. See Photo Uploads and Resizing for more information.

Photo Downloads

CCPhoto class contains URLs of different sizes of a photo. By default, photos are uploaded asynchronously and each photo comes with a boolean processed attribute to indicate whether the background processing has finished. If you want to access the actual photo, you need to download it from the given URL and if the URL is not available, you have to try again until the processed is NO.

CCPhoto *photo;
[photo getImage:(PhotoSize)photoSize];

It returns the UIImage of the photo requested if it has already been downloaded, otherwise it returns nil and kicks off the download in the background. If the photo size is not available (if you request an incorrect size or the requested size hasn't been processed yet), no background download will be kicked off. In order to get the notification when a download has completed, you need to register to listen to the following notification in your view:

[[NSNotificationCenter defaultCenter] addObserver:self selector:@selector(handleDownloaded:) name:@"DownloadFinished" object:[ACSClient defaultACSClient]];

When the notification is delivered, the userInfo contains the requesting CCPhoto object under key name object, and the size of the photo requested under key name size. Then you can get the actual image by calling:

CCPhoto *photo;
[photo getImage:(NSString *)photoSize;

If you created a photo using default sizes, the photo sizes are:


If you created a photo using custom sizes, the photo sizes are the name of your custom sizes. For details on custom sizes, see Photo Uploads and Resizing.

Troubleshooting & Common Errors

If you hit the following runtime error:

-[NSConcreteMutableData yajl_JSON]: unrecognized selector sent to instance 0x4d87400

Solution: Make sure you have included the YAJL framework. Click on your project's target, select Other Linker Flags and add:

-ObjC -all_load

In Xcode 4, make sure to add the above flags to all the fields under Other Linker Flags:

Enable and Disable Runtime Logging

To enable or disable runtime logging, set the loggingEnabled variable in ACSClient.m:

-(void)initCommon:(NSDictionary *)customAppIds
    //other code

	//true, enable log
	//false, disable log
    self.loggingEnabled = true;

    // other code


This project is open source and provided under the Apache Public License (version 2). Please make sure you see the LICENSE file included in this distribution for more details on the license.

(C) Copyright 2012-2014, Appcelerator Inc. All Rights Reserved.