Objective-C ~ C# 3.0

by Jon Davis 26. August 2008 10:50

Just a quickie note, as a side interest (for fun) I'm trying to get back into Cocoa development (still in newbie stage) and I'm watching the iPhone introductory videos. There's a part of one of the videos related to Cocoa Touch that had me reminded of C# 3.0.

  1. Objective-C uses delegates as an alternative to method overrides. I don't recall, outside of callbacks / function pointers, whether C/C++ supported "delegates" in the first place. But the approach taken by Cocoa here really surprised me, how significantly it looked like my Evented Methods pattern [ 1, 2, .. ] I proposed a few days ago, since technically events are just anonymized delegate invocations. Kinda gave me goose bumps, seeing evidence that I was on the right track.
    • On a similar vein, @selector returns a SEL, which is the type name for a selector but the value is just a const char* that is the method name. Selectors are good for invoking methods you don't know the name of until runtime.
  2. Objective-C has something called "categories", which I feel is a terrible name, but given the description given by the presenter in the video it sounds like Objective-C's categories are functionally the same as C# 3.0's extension methods, although not in form. So, Objective-C supports extension methods, they're just called "Categories", which, again, is a really weird name.
  3. It's easy to take C# constructors for granted. In Objective-C, the equivalent functionality is the far less elegant invocation of an "init" method (an initializer).
  4. Properties, as being different from methods, functions, and fields, are assumed in Objective-C, as they are in C#. The C# 3.0 compiler supporting the syntax of myType myProp { get; set; } as an inferred implementation of myType _myProp = default(myType); myType myProp { get { return _myProp; } set { _myProp = value; } } is actually not new to C# 3.0, either. While the form is different, Objective-C has something similar. It has a @synthesize keyword that generates the implementation code for the getter and the setter.
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About the author

Jon Davis (aka "stimpy77") has been a programmer, developer, and consultant for web and Windows software solutions professionally since 1997, with experience ranging from OS and hardware support to DHTML programming to IIS/ASP web apps to Java network programming to Visual Basic applications to C# desktop apps.
Software in all forms is also his sole hobby, whether playing PC games or tinkering with programming them. "I was playing Defender on the Commodore 64," he reminisces, "when I decided at the age of 12 or so that I want to be a computer programmer when I grow up."

Jon was previously employed as a senior .NET developer at a very well-known Internet services company whom you're more likely than not to have directly done business with. However, this blog and all of jondavis.net have no affiliation with, and are not representative of, his former employer in any way.

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