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Objective-Shorthand is a set of categories on Foundation objects that make long things in Objective-C short. Additions are encouraged.

Use Cocoapods to get Objective-Shorthand:

pod 'Objective-Shorthand', '~> 1.0'

What can Objective-Shorthand help with?

Regular Expressions

Objective-Shorthand shortens the code for seeing if a regular expression matches a string from:

NSRegularExpression *regularExpression = [NSRegularExpression regularExpressionWithPattern:regex options:0 error:nil];
NSUInteger numberOfMatches = [regularExpression numberOfMatchesInString:self options:0 range:NSMakeRange(0, self.length)];
BOOL doesMatch = numberOfMatches > 0;


BOOL doesMatch = [string matchesRegex:regex];

A method to find the range of the first match for a given regex is also included:

- (NSRange) rangeOfFirstSubstringMatching:(NSString*)regex;


Using NSJSONSerialization, you have convert your strings to NSData before deserializing them to arrays and dictionaries. Objective-Shorthand simplifies all that.

It provides the same interface as JSONKit, but it works with the built-in Apple JSON serializer behind the scenes. The Ruby community is very good at writing libraries with consistent interfaces, and this is something we need to steal as writers of Objective-C.

To convert from a JSON string to an NSArray or NSDictionary:

- (id) objectFromJSONString;

And to convert from an array or dictionary to an NSString:

- (NSString *)JSONString;


The OS X SDK has a weird API called NSComparisonMethods. Basically, this API provides a wrapper around compare: and uses it define the following methods:

- (BOOL)isEqualTo:(id)object;
- (BOOL)isLessThanOrEqualTo:(id)object;
- (BOOL)isLessThan:(id)object;
- (BOOL)isGreaterThanOrEqualTo:(id)object;
- (BOOL)isGreaterThan:(id)object;
- (BOOL)isNotEqualTo:(id)object;

For some reason, this never made it over to iOS, even though it's tremendously useful. I like these methods because they're way more semantic than the regular compare: method. [object isGreaterThan:otherObject] is way easier to understand than [object compare:otherObject] == NSOrderedDescending.

If the object in question doesn't respond to compare:, an exception will be thrown.

Data Detection Convenience Methods

NSDataDetector can be a handful sometimes. Objective-Shorthand simplifies complex NSDataDetector objects to one line of code on NSString:

- (BOOL) isEmail;
- (BOOL) isURL;
- (BOOL) isPhoneNumber;
- (BOOL) isDate;
- (BOOL) isAddress;

NSArray Convenience Methods

Pulling out the unique elements of an array involves the ever-goofy [array valueForKeyPath:@"@distinctUnionOfObjects.self"]. This is wrapped up inside of the following method:

- (NSArray*) uniquedArray;

You never have to remember how to type that string literal again! Autocomplete Rules Everything Around Me.

There's also -sortedArray which uses the default compare: selector to compare objects:

- (NSArray*) sortedArray;

Objective-Shorthand also includes -reversedArray, -flattenedArray, and -compactedArray, which creates a new array with NSNull objects removed.

Functional Collection Operators

Finally, Objective-Shorthand provides a category on NSArray that provides the normal functional collection operators, like map, select, and any, but with names that are both more semantic and more native to Objective-C.

each is already defined in Foundation, so it is not included.

- (void)enumerateObjectsUsingBlock:(void (^)(id obj, NSUInteger idx, BOOL *stop))block;

The other operators can be found, including select (aka filter) and reject:

- (NSArray*) arrayBySelectingObjectsPassingTest:(BOOL (^)(id object))test;
- (NSArray*) arrayByRejectingObjectsPassingTest:(BOOL (^)(id object))test;

map (aka collect) and reduce (aka inject) are available as well.

- (NSArray*) arrayByTransformingObjectsUsingBlock:(id (^)(id object))block;
- (id) objectByReducingObjectsIntoAccumulator:(id)accumulator usingBlock:(id (^)(id accumulator, id object))block;

sample and match are available.

- (id) firstObjectPassingTest:(BOOL (^)(id object))test;
- (id) randomObject;

And finally, some boolean operators:

- (BOOL) allObjectsPassTest:(BOOL (^)(id object))test;
- (BOOL) anyObjectsPassTest:(BOOL (^)(id object))test;
- (BOOL) noObjectsPassTest:(BOOL (^)(id object))test;

All of the above methods are also included for NSSet and NSDictionary.

String Methods

Thanks to @bgottlob, Objective-Shorthand has some string functions as well.

- (BOOL)contains:(NSString *)testString
- (BOOL)isEqualToStringIgnoringCase:(NSString *)otherString
- (NSString *)stringByRemovingOccurrencesOfString:(NSString *)removeString

Data Conversion

Every single time I need to convert NSStrings to NSData, I have to check Stack Overflow. Never again!

NSString now has -dataRepresentation, and NSData now has -stringRepresentation.


Pull requests are welcome, however, there is a test suite and AppleDoc-compliant documentation for each method. Please make sure that you are not breaking the tests, and if you add new methods, make sure there is test coverage for it and relevant documention is included.

If you have questions, comments, or suggestions, please get in touch. You can find me on Twitter at @khanlou and email at


Objective-Shorthand is a set of categories that make long things in Objective-C short. Additions welcome.







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