An API for manipulating Xcode project files.
Objective-C Other
Latest commit 849de69 Nov 10, 2016 @jasperblues jasperblues Merge pull request #87 from JoelGerboreLaser/master
XCGroup: modification to read and write correctly PBXVariantGroupType


An API for manipulating Xcode project files.


Adding Source Files to a Project

XCProject* project = [[XCProject alloc] initWithFilePath:@"MyProject.xcodeproj"];
XCGroup* group = [project groupWithPathFromRoot:@"Main"];
XCClassDefinition* classDefinition = [[XCClassDefinition alloc] initWithName:@"MyNewClass"];
[classDefinition setHeader:@"<some-header-text>"];
[classDefinition setSource:@"<some-impl-text>"];

[group addClass:classDefinition];
[project save];

Duplicating Targets

It will be added to project as well.

XCTarget* target = [project targetWithName:@"SomeTarget"];
XCTarget* duplicated = [target duplicateWithTargetName:@"DuplicatedTarget" productName:@"NewProduct"];

Specifying Source File Belongs to Target

XCSourceFile* sourceFile = [project fileWithName:@"MyNewClass.m"];
XCTarget* examples = [project targetWithName:@"Examples"];
[examples addMember:sourceFile];
[project save];

Adding a Xib File

This time, we'll use a convenience method on XCGroup to specify the targets at the same time:

XCXibDefinition* xibDefinition = [[XCXibDefinition alloc] initWithName:@"MyXibFile" content:@"<xibXml>"];
[group addXib:xibDefinition toTargets:[project targets]];
[project save];

Adding a Framework

XCFrameworkDefinition* frameworkDefinition =
    [[XCFrameworkDefinition alloc] initWithFilePath:@"<framework path>" copyToDestination:NO];
[group addFramework:frameworkDefinition toTargets:[project targets]];
[project save];

Setting copyToDestination to YES, will cause the framework to be first copied to the group's directory within the project, and subsequently linked from there.

Adding an Image Resource

XCSourceFileDefinition* sourceFileDefinition = [[XCSourceFileDefinition alloc]
    initWithName:@"MyImageFile.png" data:[NSData dataWithContentsOfFile:<your image file name>]

[group addSourceFile:sourceFileDefinition];
[project save];

Adding Asset Catalog (ImageSet)

XCSourceFileDefinition* sourceFileDefinition = [XCSourceFileDefinition sourceDefinitionWithAssetCatalogName:<path to asset catalog>];

[group addSourceFile:sourceFileDefinition];
[project save];

Adding a Header

XCSourceFileDefinition* header = [[XCSourceFileDefinition alloc]
    initWithName:@"SomeHeader.h" text:<your header text> type:SourceCodeHeader];

[group addSourceFile:header];
[project save];

Adding a sub-project

subProjectDefinition = [XCSubProjectDefinition withName:@"mySubproject" projPath=@"/Path/To/Subproject" type:XcodeProject];
[group addSubProject:subProjectDefinition toTargets:[project targets]];

Removing a sub-project

[group removeSubProject:subProjectDefinition];  //TODO: project should be able to remove itself from parent.

Configuring targets

We can add/update linker flags, header search paths, C-flags, etc to a target. Here we'll add header search paths:

XCTarget* target = [_project targetWithName:_projectName];
for (NSString* configName in [target configurations])
    XCBuildConfiguration* configuration = [target configurationWithName:configName];
    NSMutableArray* headerPaths = [[NSMutableArray alloc] init];
    [headerPaths addObject:@"$(inherited)"];
    [headerPaths addObject:@"$(SRCROOT)/include"];        
    [configuration addOrReplaceSetting:headerPaths forKey:@"HEADER_SEARCH_PATHS"];

. . . these settings are added by key, as they would appear in a make file. (Xcode provides more human friendly descriptions). To find the key for a given build setting, consult the compiler docs. Common settings are:


###Adding a Library

XCSourceFile * libSourceFile = [project fileWithName:@"libAmazing.a"];

XCTarget* target = [project targetWithName:self.mProject.projectName];
[target addMember:libSourceFile];

for (NSString* configName in [target configurations]) {
    XCProjectBuildConfig* configuration = [target configurationWithName:configName];
    NSMutableArray* headerPaths = [[NSMutableArray alloc] init];
    [headerPaths addObject:@"$(inherited)"];
    [headerPaths addObject:@"$(PROJECT_DIR)/Amazing"];
    [configuration addOrReplaceSetting:headerPaths forKey:@"LIBRARY_SEARCH_PATHS"];

File write behavior

//Creates the reference in the project and writes the contents to disk. If a file already exists at the 
//specified location, its contents will be updated.
[definition setFileOperationStyle:FileOperationStyleOverwrite]; 
//Creates the reference in the project. If a file already exists at the specified location, the contents will 
//not be updated.
[definition setFileOperationStyle:FileOperationStyleAcceptExisting]; 
//Creates the reference in the project, but does not write to disk. The filesystem is expected to be updated 
//through some other means.
[definition setFileOperationStyle:FileOperationStyleReferenceOnly]; 


Open the project in XCode and choose Product/Build. Alternatively install with CocoaPods.

Feature Requests and Contributions

. . . are very welcome.

If you're using the API shoot me an email and tell me what you're doing with it.


  • Xcode-editor has been tested on Xcode 4+. It should also work on earlier versions of Xcode.
  • The AppCode IDE from JetBrains is now supported too!
  • Supports both ARC and MRR modes of memory management.

Who's using it?

  • Apportable : Develop Android applications using Xcode, Objective-C and Cocoa APIs
  • Xamarin: The Calabash automated functional testing for mobile applications.
  • Peckham : A great plugin for managing Xcode imports
  • Level Helper: A RAD framework for developing 2D games on iOS & Android.
  • Text Mate: The missing Text Editor for OSX.


With contributions from:

  • Connor Duggan - lots of bug fixes, maintenance and enhancements.
  • Alexander Smirnov - Cleaned up, generalized and contributed back the changes from the Calabash fork.
  • Zach Drayer - lots of fixes and features to support TextMate.
  • Janine Ohmer - support adding and removing sub-projects (
  • Bogdan Vladu - support adding and removing groups (
  • Chris Ross of Hidden Memory (
  • Paul Taykalo
  • Vladislav Alekseev
  • Felix Schneider - bug fixes.
  • Isak Sky - mutable XCSourceFiles.
  • Derk-Jan Hartman : Adding folder references, by-file compiler flags.
  • StoneSpb : Speed improvements
  • Ce Zheng : Fixes relating to Xcode 7, xcconfig support and others.



Apache License, Version 2.0, January 2004,

  • © 2011 - 2012 Jasper Blues and contributors.