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iOS Persistence and Core Data    

Year Granted: 2015
Institute: Udacity
Course code ud325

Course Summary

Important: This course is for students enrolled in a Nanodegree. If you are not currently enrolled in a Nanodegree, please access the course content here: iOS Persistence and Core Data.

Persisting data is a core skill for any iOS developer. This course will teach you two techniques for storing data to your device’s hard drive: the NSKeyedArchiver method and the more complex, but robust Core Data.

Why Take This Course?

Just like computers, your iPhone has two types of memory: main memory (RAM) and the hard drive. In all the apps you’ve written, you’ve interacted with RAM, but this memory is limited, and it’s important that the apps you design use it as efficiently as possible. To use the RAM efficiently it is important to be able to store data on the hard drive.

It is also important for your apps to maintain state when they are turned off. The apps you’ve built probably aren’t persistent, meaning that they don’t save their state to the device’s hard drive. As RAM is volatile, data is lost when the app stops running. In this course, you’ll learn how to persist the state of the device using NSKeyedArchiver and Core Data.

Prerequisites and Requirements

This course assumes extensive iOS experience. Specifically, you’ve built several apps, know how to use core iOS libraries, and are familiar with networking and MVC design principles. Introduction to iOS App Development with Swift, UIKit Fundamentals, and iOS Networking with Swift are good courses to take if you need to familiarize yourself with these concepts.

The course also assumes basic familiarity with git. Specifically, you will need to be able to clone git repositories and checkout branches specific to each lesson. How to Use Git & GitHub is a great option if you need to brush up on these skills.

You will need access to a Mac computer running OS X 10.9 or later. However, you do not need an iPad or iPhone to complete the activities. All exercises can be completed using the iOS simulator built into Xcode.

See the Technology Requirements for using Udacity.

What Will I Learn?

Syllabus

Lesson 1: NSUserDefaults

In this lesson, you’ll learn about the memory applications for each state in an app’s life cycle. You’ll also learn to persist an app in the “not running” state using NSUserDefaults and the Documents Directory.

We’ll introduce you to the following iOS classes in this lesson:

  • NSUserDefaults
  • NSFileManager

Lesson 2: NSCoder/NSKeyedArchiver

In this lesson, you’ll learn to persist arrays and dictionaries to the Documents directory, and persist custom structs using a Keyed Archiver.

We’ll introduce you to the following iOS classes in this lesson:

  • NSKeyedArchiver
  • NSKeyedUnarchiver

We’ll also introduce you to the following protocol:

  • NSCoding

Lesson 3: Persistent Objects & Core Data

In this lesson, you’ll be introduced to the Core Data framework, Apple’s favorite framework for the model class. You’ll learn how Core Data manages its stack using a pre-built app, “Favorite Actors.”

We’ll introduce you to the following iOS classes in this lesson:

  • NSManagedObject
  • NSManagedObjectContext
  • NSFetchRequest

Lesson 4: Core Data from Scratch

In this lesson, you’ll learn how to create a Core Data stack from the ground up. You will also learn how to specify relationships between you your Core Data managed objects. By the end, you’ll be proficient enough to describe every element in a Core Data project.

We’ll introduce you to the following iOS classes in this lesson:

  • NSManagedObjectModel
  • NSPersistentStoreCoordinator

Lesson 5: Smart Architecture with Core Data

In this lesson, you’ll learn how Core Data relates to MVC design as Apple envisioned it. You will learn how to architect apps so that controller objects are notified whenever the data stored in Core Data changes, allowing the controllers to keep the views updated in ways that keep your code trim and extensible.

We’ll introduce you to the following iOS classes in this lesson:

  • NSFetchResultsController
  • NSFetchResultsControllerDelegate

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