While browsing Mugunth Kumar’s new MKNetworkKit network library, I came across this observation that got me thinking:
I purposefully didn’t use GCD because network operations need to be stopped and prioritized at will. GCD, while more efficient than NSOperationQueue cannot do this. I would recommend not to use GCD based queues for your network operations.
Grand Central Dispatch is an amazing piece of open source by Apple. With it you encapsulate “tasks” as simple blocks of code and run them in special queues. These queues can be concurrent or parallel and they can run on any number of threads. You get a lot of sensible defaults out of the box and there’s good customization if you want to queue things up in a custom way. Overall, it’s a very nice simplification of the standard threading model available on Unix.
The problems start when you want to treat these “tasks” as smarter
encapsulations that you can start, stop, restart, or even save and try again
later. That’s where using Apple’s
makes sense. Mugunth’s nifty new networking library offers the option to save a
network operation to disk if it fails. Later, when the app is launched and has
a network connection, it will automatically retry.1
Technically, you could still use GCD and just wrap the control of it in an
NSOperation. And I wouldn’t be surprised if Apple reimplements
NSOperationQueue using GCD. Just remember that you don’t have to reinvent the
wheel if you want to encapsulate your “tasks” as objects.
still just as robust as it ever was.
Updated Dec 6, 2011 1:00pm
As many kindly pointed out to me, Apple has already converted
NSOperationQueues to use GCD under the hood, but only on Mac
Mugunth’s library has a lot of other nify features, too. I’d recommend checking it out. It’s goal is to be slim and simple, like AFNetworking.↩