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MTLParseAdapter is a small class that lets you easily serialize and deserialize your app's model objects to and from Parse's PFObject class using Mantle.

Why Might You Use This?

Parse's iOS library encourages you to model your data in one of two ways. You can use PFObject as a key-value store, similar to how one would use NSDictionary, but that doesn't lead to particularly readable or maintainable code. Most people just make their own domain objects subclass PFObject, but that's also problematic for a number of reasons:

  • You can't use other libraries/frameworks for model objects that depend on inheritance (such as Mantle's MTLModel).
  • Depending on your app's structure, having your model objects be aware of how to persist to Parse may be a violation of the single responsibility principle. This isn't necessarily a problem, but it's less than ideal.
  • The implementation of Parse's SDK is not open-source, making it more difficult to debug issues that might arise. Minimizing the presence of PFObject in your object graph can help reduce any pain this might cause.
  • If you want to switch to using a different backend, be it a different BaaS or your own servers, removing Parse from your application will necessitate modifications to your client domain objects.

MTLParseAdapter gives you a way to avoid these problems. It allows you to model your domain objects as MTLModel Mantle objects, and serialize them into PFObjects and back as needed.

It is inspired by and built on top of the JSON serialization functionality in Mantle. If your domain objects are already MTLModel subclasses that conform to MTLJSONSerializing, no additional work should be needed to allow MTLParseAdapter to convert your objects to and from PFObjects. If you have used MTLJSONAdapter before, MTLParseAdapter will feel very familiar.


In order to serialize your objects to and from PFObjects, they will need to (a) subclass MTLModel and (b) implement the MTLJSONSerializing protocol. For more information on this, check out the Mantle documentation.

After doing this, you can use MTLParseAdapter to convert your model objects.

User *user = [[User alloc] init];
PFObject *parseObject = [MTLParseAdapter parseObjectFromModel:user error:&error];
PFObject *parseObject; // Fetched via a PFQuery, for instance
User *user = [MTLParseAdapter modelOfClass:User.class 

If your Parse class names are identical to the names of your Objective-C object classes, you can omit the model class when deserializing from PFObject

PFObject *parseObject = [PFObject objectWithClassName:@"User"];
User *user = [MTLParseAdapter modelFromParseObject:parseObject error:&error];

Equivalent methods exist to convert arrays of multiple objects of the same class.

User *user1 = [[User alloc] init];
User *user2 = [[User alloc] init];
NSArray *users = @[user1, user2];
PFObject *parseObject = [MTLParseAdapter parseObjectsFromModels:users error:&error];
PFObject *parseObject1 = [PFObject objectWithClassName:@"User"];
PFObject *parseObject2 = [PFObject objectWithClassName:@"User"];
NSArray *parseObjects = @[parseObject1, parseObject2];
User *user = [MTLParseAdapter modelsOfClass:User.class 

As above, there is also a modelsFromParseObjects: method that infers the Objective-C class of each PFObject based on its parseClassName.


MTLParseAdapter is available through CocoaPods. To install it, simply add the following line to your Podfile:

pod "MTLParseAdapter"

It includes Mantle and Parse as dependencies.


Mike Lazer-Walker



MTLParseAdapter is available under the MIT license. See the LICENSE file for more info.


Convert your Mantle model objects to and from Parse PFObjects