According to Apple's NSInvocation class reference:
NSInvocation is an Objective-C message rendered static, that is, it is an action turned into an object.
And, in a little more detail:
The concept of messages is central to the objective-c philosophy. Any time you call a method, or access a variable of some object, you are sending it a message.
NSInvocation comes in handy when you want to send a message to an object at a different point in time, or send the same message several times.
NSInvocation allows you to describe the message you are going to send, and then invoke it (actually send it to the target object) later on.
For example, let's say you want to add a string to an array. You would normally send the
addObject: message as follows:
Now, let's say you want to use
NSInvocation to send this message at some other point in time:
First, you would prepare an
NSInvocation object for use with
NSMethodSignature * mySignature = [NSMutableArray
NSInvocation * myInvocation = [NSInvocation
Next, you would specify which object to send the message to:
Specify the message you wish to send to that object:
And fill in any arguments for that method:
[myInvocation setArgument:&myString atIndex:2];
Note that object arguments must be passed by pointer. Thank you to Ryan McCuaig for pointing that out, and please see Apple's documentation for more details.
At this point,
myInvocation is a complete object, describing a message that can be sent. To actually send the message, you would call:
This final step will cause the message to be sent, essentially executing
Think of it like sending an email. You open up a new email (
NSInvocation object), fill in the address of the person (object) who you want to send it to, type in a message for the recipient (specify a
selector and arguments), and then click "send" (call
See Using NSInvocation for more information.
See Using NSInvocation if the above is not working.
NSInvocation objects so that it can reverse commands. Essentially, what you are doing is creating an
NSInvocation object to say: "Hey, if you want to undo what I just did, send this message to that object, with these arguments". You give the
NSInvocation object to the
NSUndoManager, and it adds that object to an array of undoable actions. If the user calls "Undo",
NSUndoManager simply looks up the most recent action in the array, and invokes the stored
NSInvocation object to perform the necessary action.
See Registering Undo Operations for more details.
If you see this warning:
warning: receiver 'MyCoolClass' is a forward class and corresponding @interface may not exist
you need to
#import the file, but you can do that in your implementation file (.m), and use the
@class declaration in your header file.
@class does not (usually) remove the need to
#import files, it just moves the requirement down closer to where the information is useful.
If you say
@class MyCoolClass, the compiler knows that it may see something like:
It doesn't have to worry about anything other than
MyCoolClass is a valid class, and it should reserve room for a pointer to it (really, just a pointer). Thus, in your header,
@class suffices 90% of the time.
However, if you ever need to create or access
myObject's members, you'll need to let the compiler know what those methods are. At this point (presumably in your implementation file), you'll need to
#import "MyCoolClass.h", to tell the compiler additional information beyond just "this is a class".
Class methods, just like instance methods, should adhere to the standard Cocoa memory management rules.
Presumably they are returning an autoreleased object, or a reference to a singleton or something like that. Either way, you need not release the object unless it started with "alloc" or "new" or contained "copy". You need not retain it unless you're looking to keep it around past the scope of the current autorelease pool, by storing it in an iVar or something like that.