One file, plenty of basics for iOS.





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The single header, NimbusKitBasics.h, is designed to be dropped into any source code or library. Within, you'll find plenty of common app-development goodies.

Adding it to your Project

Simply drag NimbusKitBasics.h from the src directory into your project and import it.

#import "NimbusKitBasics.h"

What's Included

Compiler Features

The following compiler features allow you to express more when you're designing Objective-C software.

  • Use NI_DEPRECATED_METHOD(msg) to deprecate individual methods on classes with a message explaning a suggested alternative.
  • Use NI_DESIGNATED_INITIALIZER to enforce correct initializer chaining.
  • Use NS_REQUIRES_SUPER to enforce super calls when sub-classes override important methods.

Example use of compiler features:

@interface SomeClass

- (instancetype)initWithArg:(id)arg NI_DESIGNATED_INITIALIZER;

- (void)someMethod;
- (void)someDeprecatedMethod NI_DEPRECATED_METHOD("use someMethod instead");


@interface SomeClass (Subclassing)

- (void)someMethodToBeOverwritten NS_REQUIRES_SUPER; // Ensures child implementations call super.


Avoid requiring the -all_load and -force_load flags

Category-only compilation units can introduce the need for the -all_load and -force_load linker flags because the application will not load these category-only units without them.

To get around this you can provide an empty class implementation in the .m file. For example:

@interface BogusClass
@implementation BogusClass

@implementation UIViewController (MyCustomCategory)

MyCustomCategory will now be linked as expected thanks to the BogusClass contained within the same compilation unit.

NI_FIX_CATEGORY_BUG(name) is a macro that you include once in your category-only .m file to save you the trouble of having to write a bogus class for every compilation unit. The provided name must be globally unique in order to avoid causing duplicate symbol errors at link time.


@implementation UIViewController (MyCustomCategory)

Debugging Tools

The debugging tools provided here allow for debug-build-only sanity checks and logs. If you require production assertions then you should use the standard NSAssert.

Special consideration:

All of these macros only do something if the DEBUG macro is defined. The recommended way to enable the debug tools is to specify DEBUG in the "Preprocessor Macros" field in your application's Debug target settings. Be careful not to set this for your release or app store builds because this will enable code that may cause your app to be rejected.

Debug Assertions

Debug assertions are a light-weight "sanity check". They won't crash the app, nor will they be included in release builds. They will halt the app's execution when debugging (like a conditional breakpoint) so that you can inspect the values that caused the failure.


If statement is false, the statement will be written to the log and, if a debugger is attached, the app will break on the assertion line.

Debug Logging

 NI_DPRINT(@"formatted log text %d", param1);

Print the given formatted text to the log.


Print the current method name to the log.

 NI_DCONDITIONLOG(statement, @"formatted log text %d", param1);

Print the given formatted text to the log if statement is YES. This is effectively a combination of NI_DASSERT and NI_DPRINT.

Creating Byte- and Hex-based Colors

Nimbus provides the RGBCOLOR and RGBACOLOR macros for easily creating UIColor objects with byte and hex values.


UIColor* color = NI_RGBCOLOR(255, 128, 64); // Fully opaque orange
UIColor* color = NI_HEXCOLOR(0xFF8040);

UIColor* color = NI_RGBACOLOR(255, 128, 64, 0.5); // Orange with 50% transparency
UIColor* color = NI_HEXACOLOR(0xFF8040, 0.5);

Run-Time Checks

  • NIIsPad() returns YES on iPads.
  • NIIsPhone() returns YES on iPhones and iPod touches.
  • NIScreenScale() returns the main screen's scale.
  • NIIsRetina() returns YES if the main screen has a retina display.
  • NITintColorForViewWithFallback(view, fallbackColor) pre-iOS 7-safe mechanism for getting the tint color from a view (uses fallbackColor on older devices).

SDK Availability

NIIOS macros are defined in parallel to their __IPHONE counterparts as a consistently-defined means of checking __IPHONE_OS_VERSION_MAX_ALLOWED.

For example:

  // This code will only compile on versions >= iOS 3.2

32/64 Bit Math

We'd all love to use tgmath.h for its lovely type-generic methods, but due to a bug in the way Xcode's new modules feature works you have to choose one or the other. Relevant open radar.

In the meantime, all of the standard math functions are explicitly mapped to use the tgmath equivalents when you import NimbusKitBasics. Apple may fix the bug with modules/tgmath, at which point you can disable NimbusKit Basics' remapping by defining NI_DISABLE_GENERIC_MATH in your project's preprocessor macros.

Version History

1.2.3 on November 8, 2015

  • Updated iOS SDK defines.
  • Minor cleanup.

1.2.2 on May 23, 2014

NI_INLINE/NI_EXTERN macros and a more robust unit test check for debug assertions.

1.2.1 on Apr 30, 2014

Bug fixes.

  • Add missing UIKit import.
  • Misc documentation updates.

1.2.0 on Apr 30, 2014

32/64 bit math using standard math function names (thanks to steipete for pointing this out!).

Bumping the version because of the API changes, even though this is a fairly minor change.

1.1.0 on Apr 30, 2014

32/64 bit math!

  • NI_DASSERT are now automatically disabled when running unit tests.

1.0.0 on Apr 29, 2014

Initial release. Includes:

  • Compiler features.
  • Debugging tools.
  • Runtime checks.
  • iOS SDK versions.


Basics was boiled down and trimmed from Nimbus 1.2.0 by Jeff Verkoeyen (featherless).


You can be the first! Open a pull request now.


Licensed under the Apache 2.0 license.

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