Monday, March 18, 2013

iOS app development for C/C++/C# Developers : Defining default constructor in Objective-C

In this post I am going to share how we do whats called "constructors" in C++ or C# and for my C-only fellows, object initializers or <insert some term here>.

As I mentioned in my previous blog post that Objective-C has no such thing as constructors. We use the native non-instance method or what we call "static" method to allocate a new instance. That method is called alloc.

 MyClass* myObj = [MyClass alloc]

The above code just creates an object in a fashion similar to having no constructors defined in our C++ or C# class.

But consider the following code in C++.

 class Circle
    private int m_radius;
    public Circle()
       m_radius = 10; // C++ folks can also use the "initializer list" for this assignment

If we want to implement the same logic in Objective-C, we are going to have to define something what most Obj-C developers call "initializers"

Initializers are nothing but methods that may take arguments and meant to be called right after allocation of a new object. So we could do the following in Objective-C. Lets do a "default constructor" in this post. I will make another post for parameter-ized constructor

Circle.h file
 #import <foundation/foundation.h>

@interface Circle : NSObject {
  NSInteger m_radius;

 - (id) init;

Circle.m file
 @implementation Circle
  - (id) init
    self = [super init]; // calling base class's init in this case NSObject's init

    if (self) { // checking to see if an object has been returned by NSObject's init
            self.m_radius = 10; // set the default value to 10
   return self; // In order for it to act like a constructor, it should return the object

And this is how we create an object using the initializer defined above
 Circle* circleObj = [[Circle alloc] init];

By the way, 'super' is a Java term for base class too. Somebody gets a title of 'copy-cat' here.

That's all folks for this post. Please let me know your comments in the comment box below if you have any.