I've been reading about KVC and Cocoa Scripting, and how properties can be used for this. I have a model class in mind, but the element/property data has to be obtained from the Internet. But the design of properties and KVC looks like it assumes fast & in-memory retrieval, while network calls can be slow and/or error-prone. How can these be reconciled?
For speed, do we just say "screw it" and post a waiting icon? (Of course, we should keep things multi-threaded so the UI doesn't stop while we wait.)
If your property is supposed to be always available, we could set it to
nil if the resource call gets an error. But we would have no way to get the specifics. Worse would be a property that supports "missing values," then
nil would represent that and we would have no spare state to use for errors.
Although Apple-events support error handling, I couldn't use it because between my potentially error-generating model calls and the Apple event, the KVC layer would drop the error to the floor (of oblivion). The Scripting Bridge API saw this problem, since its designers added a secret protocol to handle errors.
Am I wrong? Is there a way to handle errors with KVC-based designs?
I forgot to mention exceptions. Objective-C now supports them, but the little I read about them implies that they're meant for catastrophic "instead of straight crashing" use, not for regular error handling like in C++. Except for that, they could've been useful here....
Best How To :
I think I understand what you're asking now. I would say using KVC (or property getters) is not a good way to accomplish what you're trying to do. If the code gets called on the main thread, you will then block that thread. which you don't want to do. As you have discovered you'll also have a hard time returning other state information such as errors.
Instead, you should use block syntax to create an asynchronous method that operates on a background queue. Here is a basic template for what this might look like:
// called from main thread
- (void) fetchDataInBackgroundWithCompletionHandler:(void (^)(id responseData, NSError *error))handler
// perform in background
dispatch_async(dispatch_get_global_queue(DISPATCH_QUEUE_PRIORITY_DEFAULT, 0), ^()
// perform your background operation here
// call completion block on main thread
if(// whatever your error case is)
else // success
This also gives you the benefit of being able to pass in as many other parameters are you want as well as return as many values as you want in the completion block.
Some very good examples of this pattern can be seen in
AFNetworking, which is one of the more popular networking libraries written for iOS. All of the calls in the library can be made from the main queue and will return on the main queue asycnhronously while performing all networking in the background.