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To Retain or Not To Retain?


Ran into an interesting thing doing iPhone development yesterday.

I needed to pause an NSTimer object (which, of course, you can’t). So to work around this I was storing the start time of the timer in a class level NSDate object using the following.

In the header file:

NSDate *startTime;


and in the class file:

startTime = [NSDate date];

I did under the assumption that using the [NSDate date] static method would behave similar to the timer method I was using to start the timer. However when I would try to access the startTime object later it was deemed out of scope by the debugger.

I changed my line of code to look like this instead:

startTime = [[NSDate date] retain];

Basically I’m now explicitly retaining the value of startTime (which also means I have to release it later). What I don’t like is the inconsistency with the static method used to create a timer. I don’t need to explicitly retain the NSTimer object so why do I need to explicitly retain the NSDate object?

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About Ruprect
iOS, Android and web developer

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