Fetching Managed Objects

This article contains snippets for fetching managed objects.

To fetch managed objects, you minimally need a managed object context against which to execute the fetch, and an entity description to specify the entity you want. You create an instance of NSFetchRequest and specify its entity. You may optionally specify an array of sort orderings and/or a predicate.

How you get the managed object context depends on your application architecture—see “Getting a Managed Object Context.” Once you have the context, though, you can get the entity using NSEntityDescription’s convenience method, entityForName:inManagedObjectContext:.

Basic Fetch

To get all the managed objects of a given entity, create a fetch request and specify just the entity:

NSManagedObjectContext *context = <#Get the context#>;
 
NSFetchRequest *fetchRequest = [[NSFetchRequest alloc] init];
NSEntityDescription *entity = [NSEntityDescription entityForName:@"<#Entity name#>"
    inManagedObjectContext:context];
[fetchRequest setEntity:entity];
 
NSError *error;
NSArray *fetchedObjects = [context executeFetchRequest:fetchRequest error:&error];
if (fetchedObjects == nil) {
    // Handle the error.
}

Fetch with Sorting

To fetch managed objects in a particular order, in addition to the components in the basic fetch (described in “Basic Fetch”) you need to specify an array of sort orderings:

NSManagedObjectContext *context = <#Get the context#>;
 
NSFetchRequest *fetchRequest = [[NSFetchRequest alloc] init];
NSEntityDescription *entity = [NSEntityDescription entityForName:@"<#Entity name#>"
    inManagedObjectContext:context];
[fetchRequest setEntity:entity];
 
NSSortDescriptor *sortDescriptor = [[NSSortDescriptor alloc] initWithKey:@"<#Sort key#>"
    ascending:YES];
NSArray *sortDescriptors = @[sortDescriptor];
[fetchRequest setSortDescriptors:sortDescriptors];
 
NSError *error;
NSArray *fetchedObjects = [context executeFetchRequest:fetchRequest error:&error];
if (fetchedObjects == nil) {
    // Handle the error.
}

Fetch with a Predicate

To fetch managed objects that meet given criteria, in addition to the components in the basic fetch (described in “Basic Fetch”) you need to specify a predicate:

NSManagedObjectContext *context = <#Get the context#>;
 
NSFetchRequest *fetchRequest = [[NSFetchRequest alloc] init];
NSEntityDescription *entity = [NSEntityDescription entityForName:@"<#Entity name#>"
    inManagedObjectContext:context];
[fetchRequest setEntity:entity];
 
NSPredicate *predicate = [NSPredicate predicateWithFormat:@"<#Predicate string#>",
    <#Predicate arguments#>];
[fetchRequest setPredicate:predicate];
 
NSError *error;
NSArray *fetchedObjects = [context executeFetchRequest:fetchRequest error:&error];
if (fetchedObjects == nil) {
    // Handle the error.
}

For more about predicates, see Predicate Programming Guide. For an alternative technique for creating the predicate that may be more efficient, see “Fetch with a Predicate Template.”

Fetch with a Predicate Template

To fetch managed objects that meet given criteria, in addition to the components in the basic fetch (described in “Basic Fetch”) you need to specify a predicate.NSPredicate’s predicateWithFormat: method is typically the easiest way to use a predicate (as shown in “Fetch with a Predicate”), but it’s not the most efficient way to create the predicate itself. The predicate format string has to be parsed, arguments substituted, and so on. For performance-critical code, particularly if a given predicate is used repeatedly, you should consider other ways to create the predicate. For a predicate that you might use frequently, the easiest first step is to create a predicate template. You might create an accessor method that creates the predicate template lazily on demand:

// Assume an instance variable:
// NSPredicate *predicateTemplate;
 
- (NSPredicate *)predicateTemplate {
    if (predicateTemplate == nil) {
        predicateTemplate = [NSPredicate predicateWithFormat:@"<#Key#> <#Operator#> <#$Variable#>"];
    }
    return predicateTemplate;
}

When you need to use the template, you create a dictionary containing the substitution variables and generate the predicate using predicateWithSubstitutionVariables:.

NSManagedObjectContext *context = <#Get the context#>;
 
NSFetchRequest *fetchRequest = [[NSFetchRequest alloc] init];
NSEntityDescription *entity = [NSEntityDescription entityForName:@"<#Entity name#>"
    inManagedObjectContext:context];
[fetchRequest setEntity:entity];
 
NSDictionary *variables = @{ @"<#Variable#>" : <#Value#> };
NSPredicate *predicate = [[self predicateTemplate]
    predicateWithSubstitutionVariables:variables];
[fetchRequest setPredicate:predicate];
 
NSError *error;
NSArray *fetchedObjects = [context executeFetchRequest:fetchRequest error:&error];
if (fetchedObjects == nil) {
    // Handle the error.
}

For more about predicates, see Predicate Programming Guide.

Fetch with Sorting and a Predicate

To fetch managed objects that meet given criteria and in a particular order, in addition to the components in the basic fetch (described in “Basic Fetch”) you need to specify a predicate and an array of sort orderings.

NSManagedObjectContext *context = <#Get the context#>;
 
NSFetchRequest *fetchRequest = [[NSFetchRequest alloc] init];
NSEntityDescription *entity = [NSEntityDescription entityForName:@"<#Entity name#>" inManagedObjectContext:context];
[fetchRequest setEntity:entity];
 
NSSortDescriptor *sortDescriptor = [[NSSortDescriptor alloc] initWithKey:@"<#Sort key#>" ascending:YES];
NSArray *sortDescriptors = @[sortDescriptor];
[fetchRequest setSortDescriptors:sortDescriptors];
 
NSPredicate *predicate = [NSPredicate predicateWithFormat:@"<#Predicate string#>",
    <#Predicate arguments#>];
[fetchRequest setPredicate:predicate];
 
NSError *error;
NSArray *fetchedObjects = [context executeFetchRequest:fetchRequest error:&error];
if (fetchedObjects == nil) {
    // Handle the error.
}

For more about predicates, see Predicate Programming Guide. For an alternative technique for creating the predicate that may be more efficient, see “Fetch with a Predicate Template.”