Vending an Object

To make an object available to other applications, set it up as the root object of an NSConnection object and register the connection by name on the network. This code fragment vends serverObject, which is assumed to have a valid value of an object to be vended:

/* Assume serverObject has a valid value of an object to be vended. */
NSConnection *theConnection;
theConnection = [NSConnection defaultConnection];
[theConnection setRootObject:serverObject];
if ([theConnection registerName:@"server"] == NO) {
    /* Handle error. */

This fragment takes advantage of the fact that every thread has a default NSConnection object, which can be set up as a server. An NSConnection object can vend only one object, so the default NSConnection object might not be available. In this case, you can create additional NSConnection objects to vend objects with the usual alloc and init methods.

To advertise the connection to other threads and tasks, this fragment registers theConnection under the name “server”. This causes the connection’s default receive port to be registered with the system’s default port name server as returned by the NSPortNameServer class method systemDefaultPortNameServer.

An NSConnection object set up this way is called a named connection. A named connection rarely has a channel to any other NSConnection object (in Figure 1 and Figure 2 the named NSConnection objects are the circles labeled s). When a client contacts the server, a new pair of NSConnection objects is created specifically to handle communication between the two.

An NSConnection object adds itself to the current NSRunLoop instance when it is initialized. In the main thread of an application based on the Application Kit, the run loop is already running, so there is nothing more to do to vend an object. In a secondary thread or an application that does not use the NSApplication object, you have to start the run loop explicitly to capture incoming connection requests and messages. This is usually as simple as getting the current thread’s NSRunLoop instance and sending it a run message:

[[NSRunLoop currentRunLoop] run];

See Configuring a Connection for more information on setting NSConnection objects up to handle requests.