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Ability to save every object to PLIST without any special coding.

branch: master
README.md

AMC

AMC is AutoMagic Coding - very easy to use NSCoding replacement for Mac & iOS Projects. AMC gives you ability to create NSDictionary representation of any supported object, save it in PLIST (or any other PLIST-compatible file format, i.e. JSON) and load again without writing a lot of code.

AMC uses Objective-C Runtime to determine object's properties automatically & Key-Value-Coding to get & set them.

Repo Contents

  • AutoMagicCoding/ - contains all AMC sources, that you need to import to your project.
  • Tests/ - contains all AMC Unit Tests sources.
    • ObjectsForTests/ - contains test classes, that are used in Unit Tests. Good examples how to use AMC.
  • SupportingFiles/ - XCode stuff (Info.plists, xibs, main.m, etc...)
  • AutoMagicCoding.xcodeproj - Mac XCode Project for testing AMC on Mac.
  • AutoMagicCoding-iOS.xcodeproj - iOS XCode Project for testing AMC on iOS.
  • README.md - contains text that you're reading right now. ;)

Supported properties types

  • AMC Enabled Objects.
  • Common Collections (NSArray, NSMutableArray, NSDictionary, NSMutableDictionary)
  • Custom Collections (Mutable/Not-Mutable, that can be used as keyValue(Dictionary) or Ordered(Array) collections )
    • Note: Custom and/or Mutable Collections will not be recognized inside of collections itself. Ordered collections will be treated as NSArray, keyValue collections will be treated as NSDictionary.
  • Common Structures (NSRect/CGRect, NSSize/CGSize, NSPoint/CGPoint).
  • Custom Structures (You will need to write additional code to encode/decode them to/from NSString).

File Format

AMC saves object to NSDictionary, that can be saved to PLIST (or JSON).
Keys simply are ivars names and/or properties names.
One special key ( "class" ) used to hold name of the object's class.
Run unit tests on Mac & go look to your Documents folder - there will be a lot of PLISTs.
They are test objects saved to PLIST files.

Known Issues

  • Structures can't be iVars - they must be used in AMC as properties (Issue #10) .
  • There's some troubles in XCode running Unit Tests on iOS. See Issue #9 for details.

How To Use

  1. Drag'n'Drop NSObject+AutoMagicCoding.h | m to your project. This will add AMC methods to all objects inherited from NSObject.
  2. Import NSObject+AutoMagicCoding.h where you need it.
  3. Reimplement +(BOOL)AMCEnabled and return YES to enable AMC for all instances of your class.
  4. Reimplement -(id)initWithDictionaryRepresentation: and use [super initWithDictionaryRepresentation] inside of it. Ensure that all collections & other fields are created after calling super initWithDictionaryRepresentation. Do your own init routines after.
  5. Use -dictionaryRepresentation to encode your object to NSDictionary & NSObject::objectWithDictionaryRepresentation: to decode.
  6. Additionaly: reimplement -AMCKeysForDictionaryRepresentation to change amount & order of encoded/decoded fields. (See AMCKeysForDictionaryRepresentation below for more info ).
  7. Additionaly: reimplement -AMCEncodeStructWithValue:withName: & -AMCDecodeStructWithValue: withName: to support custom structs (See Custom Struct below for more info).
  8. Additionaly: reimplement -AMCFieldTypeForValueWithKey: for any non-scalar ivars, that you want to use as fields for AMC.

    ATTENTION: It's recommended to avoid using iVars without properties in AMC due to harder memory management, need to write more code, unsupported custom structs & possible future restrictions.

AMCKeysForDictionaryRepresentation

-AMCKeysForDictionaryRepresentation returns NSArray of NSStrings, thar are passed to KVC methods to get & set fields of AMCEnabled objects. Default implementation returns complete set of all object properties (both readonly & readwrite), including properties declared by superclasses (NSObject's properties are not included). Reimplement this method to choose manually, what properties should be encoded/decoded by AMC. See tests in "Tests" folder for more info & usage examples.

Custom Struct Support

To support your own custom structs you must do the following:

  1. Your custom structs should be used ONLY AS PROPERTIES in your classes. iVars custom structs are not supported.
  2. Reimplement -AMCEncodeStructWithValue:withName: & AMCDecodeStructFromString:withName: like this:
- (NSString *) AMCEncodeStructWithValue: (NSValue *) structValue withName: (NSString *) structName
{
    if ([structName isEqualToString: @"CustomStruct" ])
    {
        CustomStruct custom;
        [structValue getValue: &custom]; 

        return NSStringFromCustomStruct(custom);
    }

    return [super AMCEncodeStructWithValue: structValue withName: structName];
}

- (NSValue *) AMCDecodeStructFromString: (NSString *)value withName: (NSString *) structName
{
    if ([structName isEqualToString: @"CustomStruct" ])
    {
        CustomStruct custom = CustomStructFromNSString(value);
        return [NSValue valueWithBytes: &custom objCType:@encode(CustomStruct)];
    }

    return [super AMCDecodeStructFromString: value withName: structName];
}

See FooWithStructs & AMCTestSimple for working example.

Exceptions

All exceptions, bad-data & unwanted behaviour tests are located in AMCExceptions.m.

Here's a list of bad things, that can happen with AMC:

  • Encoding ( calling -dictionaryRepresentation )
    1. Unsupported struct: throws AMCEncodeException (See Custom Struct Support above).
    2. Wrong keys in -AMCKeysForDictionaryRepresentation: Throws NSUnkownKeyException.( Wrong key = no such property, ivar or method - see KVC programming guide for details).
    3. KVC bug/failure, when using -valueForKey: with method/property on struct with size that is not multiple of 4: Throws AMCKeyValueCodingFailureException (Issue #19).
  • Decoding ( calling +objectWithDictionaryRepresentation: & -initWithDictionaryRepresentation: )
    1. Unsupported struct: Throws AMCDecodeException (See Custom Struct Support above).
    2. Mismatch between -AMCKeysForDictionaryRepresentation & Dictionary Representation Keys: No exceptions gets thrown. Only intersect of keys in dictionary representation & -AMCKeysForDictionaryRepresentation are used to set values for decoding object's fields. So always check for neccessery fields in your -initWithDictionaryRepresentation and create them if they are nil.
    3. Object for Scalar key in Dictionary Representation: KVC will throw NSInvalidArgumentException i.e. if you're trying to set Object with it's own dictionary representation as simple int.
    4. Scalar for Object key in Dictionary Representation: No exception gets thrown. Object will not be set - so your property will still handle nil.
    5. Object with different class name for Object Key in Dictionary Representation: No exception gets thrown. I.e. it's possible to set Foo instance for Bar class property with AMC. Their own properties can be set with AMC or remain nil. Do [self.foo isKindOfClass: [Foo class]] checks in -initWithDictinoaryRepresentation: after calling super if it's necessary.

AMC_NO_THROW

You can define AMC_NO_THROW to disable exceptions throw by following methods:

  • +objectWithDictionaryRepresentation:
  • -initWithDictionaryRepresentation:
  • -loadValueForKey:fromDictionaryRepresentation:
  • -dictionaryRepresentation

With AMC_NO_THROW defined they will simply return nil and/or do nothing instead.
-AMCDecodeStructFromString:withName: & -AMCEncodeStructWithValue:withName: can throw exceptions even if AMC_NO_THROW is defined. Don't catch any exceptions in your reimplementations of these methods - you don't need to call them directly, so AMC will catch their exceptions for you.

License

AMC is licensed under terms & conditions of MIT License.
http://www.opensource.org/licenses/mit-license.php

Copyright 2011 Stepan Generalov.

Permission is hereby granted, free of charge, to any person obtaining a copy
of this software and associated documentation files (the "Software"), to deal
in the Software without restriction, including without limitation the rights
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copies of the Software, and to permit persons to whom the Software is
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The above copyright notice and this permission notice shall be included in
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