objective-c - practices - swift global constants objective c

Constants in Objective-C (9)

A slight modification of the suggestion of @Krizz, so that it works properly if the constants header file is to be included in the PCH, which is rather normal. Since the original is imported into the PCH, it won't reload it into the .m file and thus you get no symbols and the linker is unhappy.

However, the following modification allows it to work. It's a bit convoluted, but it works.

You'll need 3 files, .h file which has the constant definitions, the .h file and the .m file, I'll use ConstantList.h, Constants.h and Constants.m, respectively. the contents of Constants.h are simply:

// Constants.h
#define STR_CONST(name, value) extern NSString* const name
#include "ConstantList.h"

and the Constants.m file looks like:

// Constants.m
#ifdef STR_CONST
    #undef STR_CONST
#define STR_CONST(name, value) NSString* const name = @ value
#include "ConstantList.h"

Finally, the ConstantList.h file has the actual declarations in it and that is all:

// ConstantList.h
STR_CONST(kMyConstant, "Value");

A couple of things to note:

  1. I had to redefine the macro in the .m file after #undefing it for the macro to be used.

  2. I also had to use #include instead of #import for this to work properly and avoid the compiler seeing the previously precompiled values.

  3. This will require a recompile of your PCH (and probably the entire project) whenever any values are changed, which is not the case if they are separated (and duplicated) as normal.

Hope that is helpful for someone.

I'm developing a Cocoa application, and I'm using constant NSStrings as ways to store key names for my preferences.

I understand this is a good idea, because it allows easy changing of keys if necessary. Plus, it's the whole 'separate your data from your logic' notion.

Anyway, is there a good way to make these constants defined once for the whole application? I'm sure that there's an easy and intelligent way, but right now my classes just redefine the ones they use.

As Abizer said, you could put it into the PCH file. Another way that isn't so dirty is to make a include file for all of your keys and then either include that in the file you're using the keys in, or, include it in the PCH. With them in their own include file, that at least gives you one place to look for and define all of these constants.

I am generally using the way posted by Barry Wark and Rahul Gupta.

Although, I do not like repeating the same words in both .h and .m file. Note, that in the following example the line is almost identical in both files:

// file.h
extern NSString* const MyConst;

NSString* const MyConst = @"Lorem ipsum";

Therefore, what I like to do is to use some C preprocessor machinery. Let me explain through the example.

I have a header file which defines the macro STR_CONST(name, value):

// StringConsts.h
# define STR_CONST(name, value) NSString* const name = @ value
# define STR_CONST(name, value) extern NSString* const name

The in my .h/.m pair where I want to define the constant I do the following:

// myfile.h
#import <StringConsts.h>

STR_CONST(MyConst, "Lorem Ipsum");
STR_CONST(MyOtherConst, "Hello world");

// myfile.m
#import "myfile.h"

et voila, I have all the information about the constants in .h file only.

I myself have a header dedicated to declaring constant NSStrings used for preferences like so:

extern NSString * const PPRememberMusicList;
extern NSString * const PPLoadMusicAtListLoad;
extern NSString * const PPAfterPlayingMusic;
extern NSString * const PPGotoStartupAfterPlaying;

Then declaring them in the accompanying .m file:

NSString * const PPRememberMusicList = @"Remember Music List";
NSString * const PPLoadMusicAtListLoad = @"Load music when loading list";
NSString * const PPAfterPlayingMusic = @"After playing music";
NSString * const PPGotoStartupAfterPlaying = @"Go to startup pos. after playing";

This approach has served me well.

Edit: Note that this works best if the strings are used in multiple files. If only one file uses it, you can just do #define kNSStringConstant @"Constant NSString" in the .m file that uses the string.

If you like namespace constant, you can leverage struct, Friday Q&A 2011-08-19: Namespaced Constants and Functions

// in the header
extern const struct MANotifyingArrayNotificationsStruct
    NSString *didAddObject;
    NSString *didChangeObject;
    NSString *didRemoveObject;
} MANotifyingArrayNotifications;

// in the implementation
const struct MANotifyingArrayNotificationsStruct MANotifyingArrayNotifications = {
    .didAddObject = @"didAddObject",
    .didChangeObject = @"didChangeObject",
    .didRemoveObject = @"didRemoveObject"

If you want something like global constants; a quick an dirty way is to put the constant declarations into the pch file.

There is also one thing to mention. If you need a non global constant, you should use static keyword.


// In your *.m file
static NSString * const kNSStringConst = @"const value";

Because of the static keyword, this const is not visible outside of the file.

Minor correction by @QuinnTaylor: static variables are visible within a compilation unit. Usually, this is a single .m file (as in this example), but it can bite you if you declare it in a header which is included elsewhere, since you'll get linker errors after compilation

Try using a class method:

    return @"Hello World";

I use it sometimes.

// Prefs.h
extern NSString * const RAHUL;

// Prefs.m
NSString * const RAHUL = @"rahul";