Bendy Tree iOS Library

1 min read

With a year of iOS development under my belt, I've got a decent code base that I copy from project to project. Extensions on foundation objects, serialization helpers, app-settings services, and more are helpful in most apps.

Thus I've decided to separate these classes into their own git repository called BendyTreeiOsLib which is available on github.


For most people, the most interesting thing in here is the "BTJSON" library which is an extension of the "json-framework" (see

The JSON framework lets you serialize/deserialize NSDictionary to/from JSON and is soooo helpful when dealing with rest apis and even storing data locally.

Unfortunately, the json-framework deals only with NSDictionary so you can't serialize any arbitrary object. Likewise, when you deserialize the resulting object is not a custom type – it is an NSDictionary.

BTJSON.h, which is part of the Bendy Tree Library, extends this framework to serialize & deserialize any arbitrary objects – so long as you follow some standards.

Serialization Example

ProductModel* product = [[[ProductModel alloc] init] autorelease];
product.Id = 346782;
product.Name = @"Night Vision Goggles";
product.CreatedOn = [NSDate date];
product.Categories = [NSArray arrayWithObject:[[CategoryModel new] autorelease]];
NSString* json = [product serialize];
NSLog(@"json = %@", json);
//{Id:346782,Name:"Night Vision  Goggles",CreatedOn:"/Date(1290534982)/",Categories:[{Id:1}]}

Deserialization Example:

ProductModel* product = [json deserialize:[ProductModel class]];


1) Use Properties

Use auto-retaining properties for all your fields. Also, property names are case sensitive.

2) Name Classes "XYZModel" for Deserialization

The deserializer needs to know about what classes to deserialize to. If you name your classes with the suffix "Model" then we'll register them automatically for you. You're welcome.

If you don't like my naming convention, then you can also manually register classes like this:

[[BTSerializer current] registerClasses:[NSArray arrayWithObject:[Product class]]];


To use BTJSON, you'll need to do three things:

1) Add the json-framework to your project.

2) Find "BTJSON.h" and "BTJSON.m" from the Bendy Tree iOS library and add them to your project.

3) Import "BTJSON.h" into any classes that need it.


There are probably tons of things that don't work correctly, so don't use this for something important. It's not intended as a super-robust serialization library. It's my response to my hatred of creating dictionaries & loading from dictionaries for really simple models.

If you know of a library that works better, pleeeease let me know. I have no desire to roll my own, but it seemed to be the only option. If you want to adopt my code, then you can have it. By all means, awesomeize it.

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