ios - How do I create delegates in Objective-C?

ID : 2311

viewed : 296

Tags : iosobjective-ccocoacallbackdelegatesios

Top 5 Answer for ios - How do I create delegates in Objective-C?

vote vote


An Objective-C delegate is an object that has been assigned to the delegate property another object. To create one, you define a class that implements the delegate methods you're interested in, and mark that class as implementing the delegate protocol.

For example, suppose you have a UIWebView. If you'd like to implement its delegate's webViewDidStartLoad: method, you could create a class like this:

@interface MyClass<UIWebViewDelegate> // ... @end  @implementation MyClass - (void)webViewDidStartLoad:(UIWebView *)webView {      // ...  } @end 

Then you could create an instance of MyClass and assign it as the web view's delegate:

MyClass *instanceOfMyClass = [[MyClass alloc] init]; myWebView.delegate = instanceOfMyClass; 

On the UIWebView side, it probably has code similar to this to see if the delegate responds to the webViewDidStartLoad: message using respondsToSelector: and send it if appropriate.

if([self.delegate respondsToSelector:@selector(webViewDidStartLoad:)]) {     [self.delegate webViewDidStartLoad:self]; } 

The delegate property itself is typically declared weak (in ARC) or assign (pre-ARC) to avoid retain loops, since the delegate of an object often holds a strong reference to that object. (For example, a view controller is often the delegate of a view it contains.)

Making Delegates for Your Classes

To define your own delegates, you'll have to declare their methods somewhere, as discussed in the Apple Docs on protocols. You usually declare a formal protocol. The declaration, paraphrased from UIWebView.h, would look like this:

@protocol UIWebViewDelegate <NSObject> @optional - (void)webViewDidStartLoad:(UIWebView *)webView; // ... other methods here @end 

This is analogous to an interface or abstract base class, as it creates a special type for your delegate, UIWebViewDelegate in this case. Delegate implementors would have to adopt this protocol:

@interface MyClass <UIWebViewDelegate> // ... @end 

And then implement the methods in the protocol. For methods declared in the protocol as @optional (like most delegate methods), you need to check with -respondsToSelector: before calling a particular method on it.


Delegate methods are typically named starting with the delegating class name, and take the delegating object as the first parameter. They also often use a will-, should-, or did- form. So, webViewDidStartLoad: (first parameter is the web view) rather than loadStarted (taking no parameters) for example.

Speed Optimizations

Instead of checking whether a delegate responds to a selector every time we want to message it, you can cache that information when delegates are set. One very clean way to do this is to use a bitfield, as follows:

@protocol SomethingDelegate <NSObject> @optional - (void)something:(id)something didFinishLoadingItem:(id)item; - (void)something:(id)something didFailWithError:(NSError *)error; @end  @interface Something : NSObject @property (nonatomic, weak) id <SomethingDelegate> delegate; @end  @implementation Something {   struct {     unsigned int didFinishLoadingItem:1;     unsigned int didFailWithError:1;   } delegateRespondsTo; } @synthesize delegate;  - (void)setDelegate:(id <SomethingDelegate>)aDelegate {   if (delegate != aDelegate) {     delegate = aDelegate;      delegateRespondsTo.didFinishLoadingItem = [delegate respondsToSelector:@selector(something:didFinishLoadingItem:)];     delegateRespondsTo.didFailWithError = [delegate respondsToSelector:@selector(something:didFailWithError:)];   } } @end 

Then, in the body, we can check that our delegate handles messages by accessing our delegateRespondsTo struct, rather than by sending -respondsToSelector: over and over again.

Informal Delegates

Before protocols existed, it was common to use a category on NSObject to declare the methods a delegate could implement. For example, CALayer still does this:

@interface NSObject(CALayerDelegate) - (void)displayLayer:(CALayer *)layer; // ... other methods here @end 

This tells the compiler that any object might implement displayLayer:.

You would then use the same -respondsToSelector: approach as described above to call this method. Delegates implement this method and assign the delegate property, and that's it (there's no declaring you conform to a protocol). This method is common in Apple's libraries, but new code should use the more modern protocol approach above, since this approach pollutes NSObject (which makes autocomplete less useful) and makes it hard for the compiler to warn you about typos and similar errors.

vote vote


The approved answer is great, but if you're looking for a 1 minute answer try this:

MyClass.h file should look like this (add delegate lines with comments!)

#import <BlaClass/BlaClass.h>  @class MyClass;             //define class, so protocol can see MyClass @protocol MyClassDelegate <NSObject>   //define delegate protocol     - (void) myClassDelegateMethod: (MyClass *) sender;  //define delegate method to be implemented within another class @end //end protocol  @interface MyClass : NSObject { } @property (nonatomic, weak) id <MyClassDelegate> delegate; //define MyClassDelegate as delegate  @end 

MyClass.m file should look like this

#import "MyClass.h" @implementation MyClass  @synthesize delegate; //synthesise  MyClassDelegate delegate  - (void) myMethodToDoStuff {     [self.delegate myClassDelegateMethod:self]; //this will call the method implemented in your other class     }  @end 

To use your delegate in another class (UIViewController called MyVC in this case) MyVC.h:

#import "MyClass.h" @interface MyVC:UIViewController <MyClassDelegate> { //make it a delegate for MyClassDelegate } 


myClass.delegate = self;          //set its delegate to self somewhere 

Implement delegate method

- (void) myClassDelegateMethod: (MyClass *) sender {     NSLog(@"Delegates are great!"); } 
vote vote


When using the formal protocol method for creating delegate support, I've found that you can ensure proper type checking (albeit, runtime, not compile time) by adding something like:

if (![delegate conformsToProtocol:@protocol(MyDelegate)]) {     [NSException raise:@"MyDelegate Exception"                 format:@"Parameter does not conform to MyDelegate protocol at line %d", (int)__LINE__]; } 

in your delegate accessor (setDelegate) code. This helps minimize mistakes.

vote vote


Maybe this is more along the lines of what you are missing:

If you are coming from a C++ like viewpoint, delegates takes a little getting used to - but basically 'they just work'.

The way it works is that you set some object that you wrote as the delegate to NSWindow, but your object only has implementations (methods) for one or a few of the many possible delegate methods. So something happens, and NSWindow wants to call your object - it just uses Objective-c's respondsToSelector method to determine if your object wants that method called, and then calls it. This is how objective-c works - methods are looked up on demand.

It is totally trivial to do this with your own objects, there is nothing special going on, you could for instance have an NSArray of 27 objects, all different kinds of objects, only 18 some of them having the method -(void)setToBue; The other 9 don't. So to call setToBlue on all of 18 that need it done, something like this:

for (id anObject in myArray) {   if ([anObject respondsToSelector:@selector(@"setToBlue")])      [anObject setToBlue];  } 

The other thing about delegates is that they are not retained, so you always have to set the delegate to nil in your MyClass dealloc method.

vote vote


Please! check below simple step by step tutorial to understand how Delegates works in iOS.

Delegate in iOS

I have created two ViewControllers (for sending data from one to another)

  1. FirstViewController implement delegate (which provides data).
  2. SecondViewController declare the delegate (which will receive data).

Top 3 video Explaining ios - How do I create delegates in Objective-C?