Memory management in Swift: Strong Reference & Retain Cycle

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Swift uses ARC (Automatic Reference Counting) similar to Objective-C to track and manage application memory. In most cases, we don’t need to bother about memory management by ourselves, the swift compiler will take care of it. But there are some cases where we need to deal with it  by ourselves. I am going to discuss some of the common cases from those.

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Singletons: Pattern or Anti-pattern?

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While talking about design patterns, most developers have fumbled upon this one; especially cocoa developers (both iOS and Mac application developers). Singletons are the most common design pattern you’ll come to see in Cocoa and CocoaTouch frameworks. They are literally everywhere; i.e. UIApplication.shared, UIScreen.main, NotificationCenter.default, UserDefaults.standard, FileManager.default, URLSession.shared, SKPaymentQueue.default() and many more. So, what are Singletons? And why are they so special?

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Strong vs Weak Reference in Cocoa

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In iOS we always end up defining our instance variables as  @property (strong) or @property(weak). But what does strong and weak mean, and when to use which one?

In cocoa, an objects memory is managed via a system called retain count. When an object is initialized, its retain count is increased by 1 from zero. And each time it is strongly referenced by someone, the retain count keeps increasing by 1. In ARC (a compile time feature of Apple’s version of automated memory management, acronym of Automatic Reference Counting), it only frees up memory for objects when there are zero strong references to them, or simply put, the retain count is zero.

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