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So far, we’ve only been working with an in-memory representation of our model layer. As soon as we close the app, any changes to the data are lost forever. Obviously, this is not an ideal situation for most OS X applications. In this chapter, we’ll learn how to save our model layer so that it persists from one application launch to the next.
Cocoa includes three different persistent storage options. They each provide different levels of functionality, but they share the common goal of saving and loading data. From simplest to most complex, they are:
- Preferences — For simple key-value pairs
- Property Lists — For native data structures
- Object Archives — For custom data structures
Each option is designed to store a different type of data. The preferences
system is for recording simple values like whether the user wants a dark
background or a light background in their UI (hence the name,
“preferences”). Property lists are for saving native data types
NSArray to a file. Finally, object archives let you to save
custom objects like
ProductData to disk.
This chapter will also discuss Cocoa’s built-in file system capabilities, including how to manipulate file paths, access the standard OS X directories, and let the user select files with the open and save panels. By the end of this chapter, you should be comfortable saving and loading any kind of data your app needs.
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