NSDistributedNotificationCenter Class Reference

Inherits from
Conforms to
Framework
/System/Library/Frameworks/Foundation.framework
Availability
Available in OS X v10.0 and later.
Companion guide
Declared in
NSDistributedNotificationCenter.h
Related sample code

Class at a Glance

The NSDistributedNotificationCenter class provides a way to send notifications to objects in other tasks. It takes NSNotification objects and broadcasts them to any objects in other tasks that have registered for the notification with their task’s default distributed notification center.

Principal Attributes

Commonly Used Methods

defaultCenter

Accesses the default distributed notification center.

addObserver:selector:name:object:suspensionBehavior:

Registers an object to receive a notification with a specified behavior when notification delivery is suspended.

postNotificationName:object:userInfo:deliverImmediately:

Creates and posts a notification.

removeObserver:name:object:

Specifies that an object no longer wants to receive certain notifications.

Overview

The NSDistributedNotificationCenter class implements a notification center that can distribute notifications asynchronously to tasks other than the one in which the notification was posted. An instance of this class are known as a distributed notification center.

Each task has a default distributed notification center that you access with the defaultCenter class method. There may be different types of distributed notification centers. Currently there is a single type—NSLocalNotificationCenterType. This type of distributed notification center handles notifications that can be sent between tasks on a single computer. For communication between tasks on different computers, use Distributed Objects Programming Topics.

Posting a distributed notification is an expensive operation. The notification gets sent to a system-wide server that distributes it to all the tasks that have objects registered for distributed notifications. The latency between posting the notification and the notification’s arrival in another task is unbounded. In fact, when too many notifications are posted and the server’s queue fills up, notifications may be dropped.

Distributed notifications are delivered via a task’s run loop. A task must be running a run loop in one of the “common” modes, such as NSDefaultRunLoopMode, to receive a distributed notification. For multithreaded applications running in OS X v10.3 and later, distributed notifications are always delivered to the main thread. For multithreaded applications running in OS X v10.2.8 and earlier, notifications are delivered to the thread that first used the distributed notifications API, which in most cases is the main thread.

Tasks

Getting Distributed Notification Centers

Managing Observers

Posting Notifications

Suspending and Resuming Notification Delivery

Class Methods

defaultCenter

Returns the default distributed notification center, representing the local notification center for the computer.

+ (id)defaultCenter
Return Value

Default distributed notification center for the computer.

Discussion

This method calls notificationCenterForType: with an argument of NSLocalNotificationCenterType.

Availability
  • Available in OS X v10.0 and later.
Declared In
NSDistributedNotificationCenter.h

notificationCenterForType:

Returns the distributed notification center for a particular notification center type.

+ (NSDistributedNotificationCenter *)notificationCenterForType:(NSString *)notificationCenterType
Parameters
notificationCenterType

Notification center type being inquired about.

Return Value

Distributed notification center for notificationCenterType.

Discussion

Currently only one type, NSLocalNotificationCenterType, is supported.

Availability
  • Available in OS X v10.0 and later.
Declared In
NSDistributedNotificationCenter.h

Instance Methods

addObserver:selector:name:object:

Adds an entry to the receiver’s dispatch table with an observer, a notification selector and optional criteria: notification name and sender.

- (void)addObserver:(id)notificationObserver selector:(SEL)notificationSelector name:(NSString *)notificationName object:(NSString *)notificationSender
Parameters
notificationObserver

Object registering as an observer. Must not be nil.

notificationSelector

Selector that specifies the message the receiver sends notificationObserver to notify it of the notification posting. Must not be 0.

notificationName

The name of the notification for which to register the observer; that is, only notifications with this name are delivered to the observer. When nil, the notification center doesn’t use a notification’s name to decide whether to deliver it to the observer.

notificationSender

The object whose notifications the observer wants to receive; that is, only notifications sent by this sender are delivered to the observer. When nil, the notification center doesn’t use a notification’s sender to decide whether to deliver it to the observer.

Availability
  • Available in OS X v10.0 and later.
Related Sample Code
Declared In
NSDistributedNotificationCenter.h

addObserver:selector:name:object:suspensionBehavior:

Adds an entry to the receiver’s dispatch table with a specific observer and suspended-notifications behavior, and optional notification name and sender.

- (void)addObserver:(id)notificationObserver selector:(SEL)notificationSelector name:(NSString *)notificationName object:(NSString *)notificationSender suspensionBehavior:(NSNotificationSuspensionBehavior)suspendedDeliveryBehavior
Parameters
notificationObserver

Object registering as an observer. Must not be nil.

notificationSelector

Selector that specifies the message the receiver sends notificationObserver to notify it of the notification posting. Must not be 0.

notificationName

The name of the notification for which to register the observer; that is, only notifications with this name are delivered to the observer. When nil, the notification center doesn’t use a notification’s name to decide whether to deliver it to the observer.

notificationSender

The object whose notifications the observer wants to receive; that is, only notifications sent by this sender are delivered to the observer. When nil, the notification center doesn’t use a notification’s sender to decide whether to deliver it to the observer.

suspendedDeliveryBehavior

Notification posting behavior when notification delivery is suspended.

Discussion

The receiver does not retain notificationObserver. Therefore, you should always send removeObserver: or removeObserver:name:object: to the receiver before releasing notificationObserver.

Availability
  • Available in OS X v10.0 and later.
Declared In
NSDistributedNotificationCenter.h

postNotificationName:object:

Creates a notification, and posts it to the receiver.

- (void)postNotificationName:(NSString *)notificationName object:(NSString *)notificationSender
Parameters
notificationName

Name of the notification to post. Must not be nil.

notificationSender

Sender of the notification. May be nil.

Discussion

This method invokes postNotificationName:object:userInfo:deliverImmediately: with userInfo:nil deliverImmediately:NO.

Availability
  • Available in OS X v10.0 and later.
Declared In
NSDistributedNotificationCenter.h

postNotificationName:object:userInfo:

Creates a notification with information, and posts it to the receiver.

- (void)postNotificationName:(NSString *)notificationName object:(NSString *)notificationSender userInfo:(NSDictionary *)notificationInfo
Parameters
notificationName

Name of the notification to post. Must not be nil.

notificationSender

Sender of the notification. May be nil.

notificationInfo

Dictionary containing additional information. May be nil.

Important: Sandboxed apps can send notifications only if they do not contain a dictionary. If the sending application is in an App Sandbox, notificationInfo must be nil.

Discussion

This method invokes postNotificationName:object:userInfo:deliverImmediately: with deliverImmediately:NO.

Availability
  • Available in OS X v10.0 and later.
Declared In
NSDistributedNotificationCenter.h

postNotificationName:object:userInfo:deliverImmediately:

Creates a notification with information and an immediate-delivery specifier, and posts it to the receiver.

- (void)postNotificationName:(NSString *)notificationName object:(NSString *)notificationSender userInfo:(NSDictionary *)userInfo deliverImmediately:(BOOL)deliverImmediately
Parameters
notificationName

Name of the notification to post. Must not be nil.

notificationSender

Sender of the notification. May be nil.

userInfo

Dictionary containing additional information. May be nil.

Important: Sandboxed apps can send notifications only if they do not contain a dictionary. If the sending application is in an App Sandbox, userInfo must be nil.

deliverImmediately

Specifies when to deliver the notification. When NO, the receiver delivers notifications to their observers according to the suspended-notification behavior specified in the corresponding dispatch table entry. When YES, the receiver delivers the notification immediately to its observers.

Discussion

This is the preferred method for posting notifications.

The notificationInfo dictionary is serialized as a property list, so it can be passed to another task. In the receiving task, it is deserialized back into a dictionary. This serialization imposes some restrictions on the objects that can be placed in the notificationInfo dictionary. See XML Property Lists for details.

Availability
  • Available in OS X v10.0 and later.
Declared In
NSDistributedNotificationCenter.h

postNotificationName:object:userInfo:options:

Creates a notification with information, and posts it to the receiver.

- (void)postNotificationName:(NSString *)notificationName object:(NSString *)notificationSender userInfo:(NSDictionary *)userInfo options:(NSUInteger)notificationOptions
Parameters
notificationName

Name of the notification to post. Must not be nil.

notificationSender

Sender of the notification. May be nil.

userInfo

Dictionary containing additional information. May be nil.

Important: Sandboxed apps can send notifications only if they do not contain a dictionary. If the sending application is in an App Sandbox, userInfo must be nil.

notificationOptions

Specifies how the notification is posted to the task and when to deliver it to its observers. See “Notification Posting Behavior” for details.

Discussion

The userInfo dictionary is serialized as a property list, so it can be passed to another task. In the receiving task, it is deserialized back into a dictionary. This serialization imposes some restrictions on the objects that can be placed in the userInfo dictionary. See XML Property Lists for details.

Availability
  • Available in OS X v10.3 and later.
Declared In
NSDistributedNotificationCenter.h

removeObserver:name:object:

Removes matching entries from the receiver’s dispatch table.

- (void)removeObserver:(id)notificationObserver name:(NSString *)notificationName object:(NSString *)notificationSender
Parameters
notificationObserver

Observer to remove from the dispatch table. Specify an observer to remove only entries for this observer. When nil, the receiver does not use notification observers as criteria for removal.

notificationName

Name of the notification to remove from dispatch table. Specify a notification name to remove only entries that specify this notification name. When nil, the receiver does not use notification names as criteria for removal.

notificationSender

Sender to remove from the dispatch table. Specify a notification sender to remove only entries that specify this sender. When nil, the receiver does not use notification senders as criteria for removal.

Discussion

Be sure to invoke this method with notificationName:nil notificationSender:nil (or removeObserver:) before deallocating the observer object.

Availability
  • Available in OS X v10.0 and later.
Declared In
NSDistributedNotificationCenter.h

setSuspended:

Suspends or resumes notification delivery.

- (void)setSuspended:(BOOL)suspended
Parameters
suspended

YES suspends notification delivery, NO resumes it.

Discussion

See NSNotificationSuspensionBehavior for details on how the receiver delivers notifications to their observers when normal notification delivery is suspended.

The NSApplication class automatically suspends distributed notification delivery when the application is not active. Applications based on the Application Kit framework should let AppKit manage the suspension of notification delivery. Foundation-only programs may have occasional need to use this method.

Availability
  • Available in OS X v10.0 and later.
Declared In
NSDistributedNotificationCenter.h

suspended

Returns a Boolean value that indicates whether notification delivery is suspended.

- (BOOL)suspended
Return Value

YES when notification delivery is suspended, otherwise NO.

Availability
  • Available in OS X v10.0 and later.
Declared In
NSDistributedNotificationCenter.h

Constants

Notification Center Type

This constant specifies the notification center type.

FOUNDATION_EXPORT NSString * const NSLocalNotificationCenterType;
Constants
NSLocalNotificationCenterType

Distributes notifications to all tasks on the sender’s computer.

Available in OS X v10.0 and later.

Declared in NSDistributedNotificationCenter.h.

Declared In
NSDistributedNotificationCenter.h

Notification Posting Behavior

These constants specify the behavior of notifications posted using the postNotificationName:object:userInfo:options: method.

enum {
   NSNotificationDeliverImmediately = (1 << 0),
   NSNotificationPostToAllSessions = (1 << 1)
};
Constants
NSNotificationDeliverImmediately

When set, the notification is delivered immediately to all observers, regardless of their suspension behavior or suspension state. When not set, allows the normal suspension behavior of notification observers to take place.

Available in OS X v10.3 and later.

Declared in NSDistributedNotificationCenter.h.

NSNotificationPostToAllSessions

When set, the notification is posted to all sessions. When not set, the notification is sent only to applications within the same login session as the posting task.

Available in OS X v10.3 and later.

Declared in NSDistributedNotificationCenter.h.

Declared In
NSDistributedNotificationCenter.h

NSNotificationSuspensionBehavior

These constants specify the types of notification delivery suspension behaviors.

typedef enum {
   NSNotificationSuspensionBehaviorDrop = 1,
   NSNotificationSuspensionBehaviorCoalesce = 2,
   NSNotificationSuspensionBehaviorHold = 3,
   NSNotificationSuspensionBehaviorDeliverImmediately = 4
} NSNotificationSuspensionBehavior;
Constants
NSNotificationSuspensionBehaviorDrop

The server does not queue any notifications with this name and object until setSuspended: with an argument of NO is called.

Available in OS X v10.0 and later.

Declared in NSDistributedNotificationCenter.h.

NSNotificationSuspensionBehaviorCoalesce

The server only queues the last notification of the specified name and object; earlier notifications are dropped. In cover methods for which suspension behavior is not an explicit argument, NSNotificationSuspensionBehaviorCoalesce is the default.

Available in OS X v10.0 and later.

Declared in NSDistributedNotificationCenter.h.

NSNotificationSuspensionBehaviorHold

The server holds all matching notifications until the queue has been filled (queue size determined by the server), at which point the server may flush queued notifications.

Available in OS X v10.0 and later.

Declared in NSDistributedNotificationCenter.h.

NSNotificationSuspensionBehaviorDeliverImmediately

The server delivers notifications matching this registration irrespective of whether setSuspended: with an argument of YES has been called. When a notification with this suspension behavior is matched, it has the effect of first flushing any queued notifications. The effect is as if setSuspended: with an argument of NO were first called if the application is suspended, followed by the notification in question being delivered, followed by a transition back to the previous suspended or unsuspended state.

Available in OS X v10.0 and later.

Declared in NSDistributedNotificationCenter.h.

Availability
  • Available in OS X v10.0 and later.
Declared In
NSDistributedNotificationCenter.h