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Objective-C++ Tips

C++ Objects as Instance Data

Say you create a custom view with arbitrary many
tracking rectangles (i.e. dynamically added).

Each time you add a rectangle you get back an
identifier for this rectangle which can’t be
stored in an NSArray as-is since it
is of the primitive type NSTrackingRectTag (an integer).

If you use Objective-C++ then you can use a
std::vector<NSTrackingRectTag> to avoid
having to box/unbox your identifiers but
if you have tried to put non-POD in the interface
declaration of your Objective-C class you have probably
seen that gcc does not like that.

Well, starting with 10.4 (so actually, some time ago)
Apple added a switch to gcc which allows
C++ objects as part of the instance data, and it will
call both constructor and destructor for your C++
objects when allocating/deallocating the Objective-C

The flag you need to set is -fobjc-call-cxx-cdtors.

C++ Objects as Method Arguments

Occasionally it is convenient to pass a C++ object
to an Objective-C method. For example I have an NSString
initializer that takes a std::string as argument.

This works as long as you pass the object as a
reference (i.e. pass a pointer), but you can use
the “reference of” operator in the method signature
rather than at the call-site. By using a const
reference it will work for temporary/implicit objects.

So with the following method:

+ (NSString*)stringWithCxxString:(std::string const&)cxxString
   return [[[NSString alloc]
                                  encoding:NSUTF8StringEncoding] autorelease];

We can have code like this:

std::string dir  = get_some_dir();
std::string file = get_some_file();

NSString* str    = [NSString stringWithCxxString:dir + file];

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