OS X Frameworks

The OS X frameworks provide the interfaces you need to write software for Mac. Some of these frameworks contain simple sets of interfaces while others contain multiple subframeworks. Where applicable, the tables in this appendix list the key prefixes used by the classes, methods, functions, types, or constants of the framework. You should avoid using any of the specified prefixes in your own symbol names.

System Frameworks

Table A-1 describes the frameworks located in the /System/Library/Frameworks directory and lists the first version of OS X in which each became available.

Table A-1  System frameworks

Name

First available

Prefixes

Description

Accelerate.framework

10.3

cblas, vDSP, vv

Umbrella framework for vector-optimized operations. See Accelerate Framework.

Accounts.framework

10.8

AC

Provides access to user accounts stored in the Accounts database. See Accounts Framework Reference.

AddressBook.framework

10.2

AB, ABV

Provides access to the Address Book, which is a centralized database of user contact information. Apps that target OS X v10.11 or greater should use Contacts.framework.

AGL.framework

10.0

AGL, GL, glm, GLM, glu, GLU

Contains Carbon interfaces for OpenGL. See AGL Reference.

AppKit.framework

10.0

NS

Contains classes and methods for the Cocoa user-interface layer. In general, link to Cocoa.framework instead of this framework. See AppKit Framework Reference.

AppKitScripting.framework

10.0

N/A

Deprecated. Use AppKit.framework instead.

AppleScriptKit.framework

10.0

ASK

Contains interfaces for creating AppleScript plug-ins.

AppleScriptObjC.framework

10.6

NS

Contains Objective-C extensions for creating AppleScript plug-ins.

ApplicationServices.framework

10.0

AE, AX, ATSU, CG, CT, LS, PM, QD, UT

Umbrella framework for several app-level services. See Application Services Framework.

AudioToolbox.framework

10.0

AU, AUMIDI

Contains interfaces for getting audio stream data, routing audio signals through audio units, converting between audio formats, and playing back music. See Audio Toolbox Framework Reference.

AudioUnit.framework

10.0

AU

Contains interfaces for defining Core Audio plug-ins. See Audio Unit Framework Reference.

AudioVideoBridging.framework

10.8

AVB

Supports Audio Video Bridging (AVB) and implements the IEEE P1722.1 draft standard.

Automator.framework

10.4

AM

Umbrella framework for creating Automator plug-ins. See Automator Framework.

AVFoundation.framework

10.7

AV

Provides interfaces for playing, recording, inspecting, and editing audiovisual media. See AVFoundation Audio Functions.

AVKit.framework

10.9

AV

Provides API for media playback including user controls, chapter navigation, subtitles, and closed captioning. See AVKit Framework Reference

CalendarStore.framework

10.5

Cal

Deprecated. Use Event Kit instead. See Event Kit.

Carbon.framework

10.0

HI, HR, ICA, ICD, Ink, Nav, OSA, PM, SFS,SR

Umbrella framework for Carbon-level services. See Carbon Framework.

CFNetwork.framework

10.3

CF

Contains interfaces for network communication using HTTP, sockets, and Bonjour. See CFNetwork Framework Reference.

CloudKit.framework

10.10

CK

Provides a conduit for moving data between your app and iCloud that can be used for all types of data. It also gives you control of when transfers occur. See CloudKit Quick Start or CloudKit Framework Reference.

Cocoa.framework

10.0

NS

Wrapper for including the Cocoa frameworks AppKit.framework, Foundation.framework, and CoreData.framework.

Collaboration.framework

10.5

CB

Contains interfaces for managing identity information. See Collaboration Framework Reference.

Contacts.framework

10.11

CN

Provides access to the Contacts store, which is a centralized database of user contact information. See Contacts Framework Reference.

CoreAudio.framework

10.0

Audio

Contains the hardware abstraction layer interface for manipulating audio. See Core Audio Framework Reference.

CoreBluetooth.framework

10.10

CB

Contains the classes used for communicating with Bluetooth Low Energy devices. See Core Bluetooth Framework Reference

CoreAudioKit.framework

10.4

AU

Contains Objective-C interfaces for audio unit custom views. See CoreAudioKit Framework Reference.

CoreData.framework

10.4

NS

Contains interfaces for managing your app’s data model. See Core Data Framework Reference.

CoreFoundation.framework

10.0

CF

Provides fundamental software services, including abstractions for common data types, string utilities, collection utilities, plug-in support, resource management, preferences, and XML parsing. See Core Foundation Framework Reference.

CoreGraphics.framework

10.0

CG

Contains the Quartz interfaces for creating graphic content and rendering that content to the screen. See Core Graphics Framework Reference.

CoreImage.framework

10.4

CI

An image processing and analysis technology designed to provide near real-time processing for still and video images. See Core Image Programming Guide.

CoreLocation.framework

10.6

CL

Provides interfaces for determining the geographical location of a computer. See Core Location Framework Reference.

CoreMedia.framework

10.7

CM

Contains low-level interfaces for for managing and and playing audio-visual media in an app. See Core Media Framework Reference.

CoreMediaIO.framework

10.7

CMIO

Contains interfaces of the Device Abstraction Layer (DAL) used for creating plug-ins that can access media hardware.

CoreMIDI.framework

10.0

MIDI

Contains utilities for implementing MIDI client programs. See Core MIDI Framework Reference.

CoreMIDIServer.framework

10.0

MIDI

Deprecated in OS X v10.6. Use CoreMIDI.framework instead.

CoreServices.framework

10.0

CF, DCS, MD, SK, WS

Umbrella framework for system-level services. See Core Services Framework.

CoreText.framework

10.5

CT

Contains the interfaces for performing text layout and display. See Core Text Reference Collection.

CoreVideo.framework

10.5

CV

Contains interfaces for managing video-based content. See Core Video Framework Reference.

CoreWLAN.framework

10.6

CW

Contains interfaces for managing wireless networks. See CoreWLAN Framework Reference.

CryptoTokenKit.framework

10.10

TK

Contains interface for using smart cards. See CryptoTokenKit Framework Reference.

DirectoryService.framework

10.0

ds

Deprecated in OS X v10.6. Use OpenDirectory.framework instead.

DiscRecording.framework

10.2

DR

Contains interfaces for burning data to CDs and DVDs. See Disc Recording Framework Reference.

DiscRecordingUI.framework

10.2

DR

Contains the user interface layer for interacting with users during the burning of CDs and DVDs. See Disc Recording UI Framework Reference.

DiskArbitration.framework

10.4

DA

Contains interfaces for getting information related to local and remote volumes. See Disk Arbitration Framework Reference.

DrawSprocket.framework

10.0

DSp

Contains the game sprocket component for drawing content to the screen.

DVComponentGlue.framework

10.0

IDH

Contains interfaces for communicating with digital video devices, such as video cameras.

DVDPlayback.framework

10.3

DVD

Contains interfaces for embedding DVD playback features into your app. See DVD Playback Framework Reference.

EventKit.framework

10.8

EK

Provides an interface for accessing a user’s calendar events and reminder items. See EventKit Framework Reference.

ExceptionHandling.framework

10.0

NS

Contains exception-handling classes for Cocoa apps. See Exception Handling Framework Reference.

FinderSync.framework

10.10

FI

Provides API for enhancing the Finder’s user interface by adding badges, shortcut menu items, and toolbar buttons. See Finder Sync Framework Reference

ForceFeedback.framework

10.2

FF

Contains interfaces for communicating with force feedback–enabled devices. See Force Feedback Framework Reference.

Foundation.framework

10.0

NS

Contains the classes and methods for the Cocoa Foundation layer. If you are creating a Cocoa app, linking to the Cocoa framework is preferable. See Foundation Framework Reference.

FWAUserLib.framework

10.2

FWA

Contains interfaces for communicating with FireWire-based audio devices. See FWAUserLib.h Reference.

GameController.framework

10.9

GC

A collection of classes for discovering and interacting with connected game controllers. See Game Controller Programming Guide

GameKit.framework

10.8

GK

Provides APIs that allow your app to participate in Game Center. See GameKit Framework Reference.

GLKit.framework

10.8

GLK

Provides functions and classes that reduce the effort required to create new shader-based apps or to port existing apps that rely on fixed-function vertex or fragment processing provided by earlier versions of OpenGL ES or OpenGL. See GLKit Framework Reference.

GLUT.framework

10.0

glut, GLUT

Contains interfaces for the OpenGL Utility Toolkit, which provides a platform-independent interface for managing windows.

GSS.framework

10.7

gss

Contains interfaces for Generic Security Services Application Program Interface (GSSAPI).

Hypervisor.framework

10.10

hv

Allows virtualization vendors to build virtualization solutions on top of OS X without needing to deploy third-party kernel extensions (KEXTs). See Hypervisor Framework Reference.

ICADevices.framework

10.3

ICD

Contains low-level interfaces for communicating with digital devices such as scanners and cameras. See Carbon Framework.

ImageCaptureCore.framework

10.6

IC

Contains Objective-C interfaces for communicating with digital devices such as scanners and cameras.

ImageIO.framework

10.4

CGImage

Contains interfaces for importing and exporting image data.

IMServicePlugIn.framework

10.7

IM

Contains interfaces for building third-party plug-ins for Chat services. Umbrella framework for IMServicePlugInSupport.framework.

InputMethodKit.framework

10.5

IMK

Contains interfaces for developing new input methods, which are modules that handle text entry for complex languages. See InputMethodKit Framework Reference.

InstallerPlugins.framework

10.4

IFX

Contains interfaces for creating plug-ins that run during software installation sessions. See Installer JavaScript Reference.

InstantMessage.framework

10.4

FZ, IM

Deprecated in OS X v10.9. Do not use.

IOBluetooth.framework

10.2

IO

Contains interfaces for communicating with Bluetooth devices.

IOBluetoothUI.framework

10.2

IO

Contains the user interface layer for interacting with users manipulating Bluetooth devices.

IOKit.framework

10.0

IO, IOBSD, IOCF

Contains the main interfaces for creating user-space device drivers and for interacting with kernel-resident drivers from user space. See IOKitLib.h Reference.

IOSurface.framework

10.6

IO

Contains low-level interfaces for sharing graphics surfaces between apps. See IOSurface Framework Reference.

JavaFrameEmbedding.framework

10.5

N/A

Contains interfaces for embedding Java frames in Objective-C code.

JavaScriptCore.framework

10.5

JS

Contains the library and resources for executing JavaScript code within an HTML page. (Prior to OS X v10.5, this framework was part of WebKit.framework. See JavaScriptCore Framework Reference.

JavaVM.framework

10.0

JAWT, JDWP, JMM, JNI, JVMDI, JVMPI, JVMTI

Deprecated in OS X v10.7. Use Oracle Java instead.

Kerberos.framework

10.0

GSS, KL, KRB, KRB5

Contains interfaces for using the Kerberos network authentication protocol.

Kernel.framework

10.0

numerous

Contains the interfaces for kernel-extension development, including Mach, BSD, libkern, I/O Kit, and the various families built on top of I/O Kit. See Kernel Framework Reference.

LatentSemanticMapping.framework

10.5

LSM

Contains interfaces for classifying text based on latent semantic information. See Latent Semantic Mapping Reference.

LDAP.framework

10.0

N/A

Do not use.

LocalAuthentication.framework

10.10

LA

Contains API for requesting authentication from users using specified policies. See Local Authentication Framework Reference

MapKit.framework

10.9

MK

Provides classes and protocols for embedding maps into the windows and views of your apps. Includes support for annotations, overlays, and reverse-geocoding lookups. See MapKit Framework Reference

MediaAccessibility.framework

10.9

MA

Provides API to access user preferences for captions that can accompany media, such as closed captioning. See Media Accessibility Framework Reference

MediaLibrary.framework

10.9

ML

Provides a read-only data model representing a user’s collections of images, audio, and video. See Media Library Framework Reference

Message.framework

10.0

AS, MF, PO, POP, RSS, TOC, UR, URL

Contains Cocoa extensions for mail delivery.

Metal.framework

10.11

MTL

Provides GPU-accelerated 3D graphics rendering and data-parallel computation workloads. See Metal Programming Guide and related references.

MetalKit.framework

10.11

MTK

Contains functions and classes that reduce the effort required to create a Metal application. See MetalKit Framework Reference and MetalKit Functions Reference.

ModelIO.framework

10.11

MDL

Provides classes that support import, export, and editing of 3D model assets and related resources. See Model I/O Framework Reference.

MultipeerConnectivity.framework

10.10

MC

Contains API for finding and communicating with services provided by nearby devices using infrastructure Wi-Fi networks, peer-to-peer Wi-Fi, and Bluetooth personal area networks. See Multipeer Connectivity Framework Reference.

NetFS.framework

10.6

NetFS

Contains interfaces for working with network file systems.

NetworkExtension.framework

10.11

NE, NW

Provides support for configuring and controlling Virtual Private Network (VPN) tunnels. See Network Extension Framework Reference.

NotificationCenter.framework

10.10

NC, NS

Contains the interfaces for creating and managing extensions in the Today view of the Notification Center. See Notification Center Framework Reference

OpenAL.framework

10.4

AL

Contains the interfaces for OpenAL, a cross-platform 3D audio delivery library.

OpenCL.framework

10.6

CL, cl

Contains the interfaces for distributing general-purpose computational tasks across the available GPUs and CPUs of a computer. See OpenCL Programming Guide for Mac.

OpenDirectory.framework

10.6

OD

Contains Objective-C interfaces for managing Open Directory information. See Open Directory Programming Guide.

OpenGL.framework

10.0

CGL, GL, glu, GLU

Contains the interfaces for OpenGL, which is a cross-platform 2D and 3D graphics rendering library. See OpenGL Programming Guide for Mac.

OSAKit.framework

10.4

OSA

Contains Objective-C interfaces for managing and executing OSA-compliant scripts from Cocoa apps.

PCSC.framework

10.0

MSC, Scard, SCARD

Contains interfaces for interacting with smart card devices.

PreferencePanes.framework

10.0

NS

Contains interfaces for implementing custom modules for the System Preferences app. See Preference Panes Framework Reference.

PubSub.framework

10.5

PS

Contains interfaces for subscribing to RSS and Atom feeds. See Publication Subscription Framework Reference.

QTKit.framework

10.4

QT

Deprecated in OS X v10.9. Use AVFoundation.framework instead.

Quartz.framework

10.4

GF, PDF, QC, QCP

Umbrella framework for Quartz services. See Quartz Framework.

QuartzCore.framework

10.4

CA,CI, CV

Contains the interfaces for Core Image, Core Animation, and Core Video. See Quartz Core Framework Reference.

QuickLook.framework

10.5

QL

Contains interfaces for generating thumbnail previews of documents. See Quick Look Framework Reference for Mac.

QuickTime.framework

10.0

N/A

Deprecated in OS X v10.9. Use AVFoundation.framework and AVKit.framework instead.

Ruby.framework

10.5

N/A

Contains interfaces for the Ruby scripting language.

SceneKit.framework

10.8

SCN

Provides a high-level, Objective-C API to efficiently load, manipulate, and render 3D scenes in an app. See SceneKit Framework Reference.

ScreenSaver.framework

10.0

N/A

Contains interfaces for writing screen savers. See Screen Saver Framework Reference.

Scripting.framework

10.0

NS

Deprecated. Use Foundation.framework instead.

ScriptingBridge.framework

10.5

SB

Contains interfaces for running scripts from Objective-C code. See Scripting Bridge Framework Reference.

Security.framework

10.0

CSSM, Sec

Contains interfaces for system-level user authentication and authorization. See Security Framework Reference.

SecurityFoundation.framework

10.3

Sec

Contains Cocoa interfaces for authorizing users. See Security Foundation Framework Reference.

SecurityInterface.framework

10.3

PSA, SF

Contains the user interface layer for authorizing users in Cocoa apps. See Security Interface Framework Reference.

ServiceManagement.framework

10.6

SM

Contains interfaces for loading, unloading and managing launchd services. See Service Management Framework Reference.

Social.framework

10.8

SL

Provides an API for sending requests to supported social networking services that can perform operations on behalf of users. See Social Framework Reference.

SpriteKit.framework

10.9

SK

Provides API for animating arbitrary textured images, or sprites. It includes sound playback, a physics engine, and a rendering loop. See SpriteKit Programming Guide

StoreKit.framework

10.7

SK

Supports requesting payment from a user to purchase additional functionality or content from the Mac App Store. See StoreKit Framework Reference.

SyncServices.framework

10.4

ISync

Deprecated in OS X v10.7. Use Contacts.framework or Calendar.framework instead.

System.framework

10.0

N/A

Do not use.

SystemConfiguration.framework

10.0

SC

Contains interfaces for accessing network configuration and reachability information. See System Configuration Framework Reference.

Tcl.framework

10.3

Tcl

Contains interfaces for accessing the system’s Tcl interpreter from an app.

Tk.framework

10.4

Tk

Contains interfaces for accessing the system’s Tk toolbox from an app.

TWAIN.framework

10.2

TW

Contains interfaces for accessing TWAIN-compliant image-scanning hardware.

vecLib.framework

10.0

N/A

Deprecated. Use Accelerate.framework instead. See Accelerate Framework.

VideoDecodeAcceleration.framework

10.7

VDA

Deprecated in OS X v10.11. Use VideoToolbox.framework instead.

VideoToolbox.framework

10.8

VT

Comprises the 64-bit replacement for the QuickTime Image Compression Manager.

WebKit.framework

10.2

DOM, Web

Umbrella framework for rendering HTML content. See WebKit Framework.

XgridFoundation.framework

10.4

XG

Deprecated in OS X v10.8.

Contains interfaces for connecting to and managing computing cluster software.

OS X contains several umbrella frameworks for major areas of functionality. Umbrella frameworks group several related frameworks into a larger framework that can be included in your project. When writing software, link your project against the umbrella framework; do not try to link directly to any of its subframeworks. The following sections describe the contents of the umbrella frameworks in OS X.

Accelerate Framework

Table A-2 lists the subframeworks of the Accelerate framework (Accelerate.framework). If you are developing apps for earlier versions of OS X, vecLib.framework is available as a standalone framework.

Table A-2  Subframeworks of the Accelerate framework

Subframework

Description

vecLib.framework

Contains vector-optimized interfaces for performing math, big-number, and DSP calculations, among others.

vImage.framework

Contains vector-optimized interfaces for manipulating image data.

Application Services Framework

Table A-3 lists the subframeworks of the Application Services framework (ApplicationServices.framework) that are not links to top level frameworks. These frameworks provide C-based interfaces and are intended primarily for Carbon apps, although other programs can use them. The listed frameworks are available in all versions of OS X unless otherwise noted.

Table A-3  Subframeworks of the Application Services framework

Subframework

Description

ATS.framework

Deprecated in OS X v10.8. Use CoreText.framework instead.

ColorSync.framework

Contains interfaces for color matching using ColorSync.

HIServices.framework

Contains interfaces for accessibility, Internet Config, the pasteboard, the Process Manager, and the Translation Manager. Available in OS X v10.2 and later.

LangAnalysis.framework

Contains the Language Analysis Manager interfaces.

PrintCore.framework

Contains the Core Printing Manager interfaces.

QD.framework

Contains the QuickDraw interfaces.

SpeechSynthesis.framework

Contains the Speech Manager interfaces.

Automator Framework

Table A-4 lists the subframeworks of the Automator framework (Automator.framework).

Table A-4  Subframeworks of the Automator framework

Subframework

Description

MediaBrowser.framework

Contains private interfaces for managing Automator plug-ins.

Carbon Framework

Table A-5 lists the subframeworks of the Carbon framework (Carbon.framework). The listed frameworks are available in all versions of OS X unless otherwise noted.

Table A-5  Subframeworks of the Carbon framework

Subframework

Description

CarbonSound.framework

Deprecated in OS X v10.5. Use CoreAudio.framework instead.

CommonPanels.framework

Contains interfaces for displaying the Font window, Color window, and some network-related dialogs.

Help.framework

Contains interfaces for launching and searching Apple Help.

HIToolbox.framework

Deprecated in OS X v10.7. Use Cocoa.framework instead.

HTMLRendering.framework

Contains interfaces for rendering HTML content. The WebKit framework is the preferred framework for HTML rendering. See WebKit Framework.

ImageCapture.framework

Contains interfaces for capturing images from digital cameras. This framework works in conjunction with the Image Capture Devices framework (ICADevices.framework).

Ink.framework

Contains interfaces for managing pen-based input. (Ink events are defined with the Carbon Event Manager.)

NavigationServices.framework

Contains interfaces for displaying file navigation dialogs.

OpenScripting.framework

Contains interfaces for writing scripting components and interacting with those components to manipulate and execute scripts.

Print.framework

Contains the Carbon Printing Manager interfaces for displaying printing dialogs and extensions.

SecurityHI.framework

Deprecated in OS X v10.9. Use Security.framework instead.

SpeechRecognition.framework

Contains the Speech Recognition Manager interfaces.

Core Services Framework

Table A-6 lists the subframeworks of the Core Services framework (CoreServices.framework). These frameworks provide C-based interfaces and are intended primarily for Carbon apps, although other programs can use them. The listed frameworks are available in all versions of OS X unless otherwise noted.

Table A-6  Subframeworks of the Core Services framework

Subframework

Description

AE.framework

Contains interfaces for creating and manipulating Apple events and making apps scriptable.

CarbonCore.framework

Contains interfaces for many legacy Carbon Managers. Most of the APIs in this framework are deprecated in OS X v10.8 (for more information, see Carbon Core Deprecations).

DictionaryServices.framework

Provides dictionary lookup capabilities.

FSEvents.framework

Provides a mechanism to notify clients about directories to re-scan to keep internal data structures up-to-date with the true state of the file system.

LaunchServices.framework

Contains interfaces for launching apps.

Metadata.framework

Contains interfaces for managing Spotlight metadata.

OSServices.framework

Contains interfaces for Open Transport and many hardware-related legacy Carbon managers.

SearchKit.framework

Contains interfaces for the Search Kit.

Quartz Framework

Table A-7 lists the subframeworks of the Quartz framework (Quartz.framework).

Table A-7  Subframeworks of the Quartz framework

Subframework

Description

ImageKit.framework

Contains Objective-C interfaces for finding, browsing, and displaying images.

PDFKit.framework

Contains Objective-C interfaces for displaying and managing PDF content.

QuartzComposer.framework

Contains Objective-C interfaces for playing Quartz Composer compositions in an app.

QuartzFilters.framework

Contains Objective-C interfaces for managing and applying filter effects to a graphics context.

QuickLookUI.framework

Contains Objective-C interfaces for creating and managing a Quick Look preview panel, which is a UI object that displays preview items.

WebKit Framework

Table A-8 lists the subframeworks of the WebKit framework (WebKit.framework).

Table A-8  Subframeworks of the WebKit framework

Subframework

Description

WebCore.framework

Contains the library and resources for rendering HTML content in an HTMLView control.

Xcode Frameworks

Xcode and all of its supporting tools and libraries reside in a portable directory structure. This directory structure makes it possible to have multiple versions of Xcode installed on a single system or to have Xcode installed on a portable hard drive that you plug in to your computer when you need to do development. This portability means that the frameworks required by the developer tools are installed in the <Xcode>/Library/Frameworks directory, where <Xcode> is the path to the Xcode installation directory. Table A-9 lists the frameworks that are located in this directory.

Table A-9  Xcode frameworks

Framework

First available

Prefixes

Description

XCTest.framework

Xcode 5

XC

Interfaces for implementing unit tests in Objective-C.

System Libraries

Some specialty libraries at the BSD level are not packaged as frameworks. Instead, OS X includes many dynamic libraries in the /usr/lib directory and its subdirectories. Dynamic shared libraries are identified by their .dylib extension. Header files for the libraries are located in the /usr/include directory.

OS X uses symbolic links to point to the most current version of most libraries. When linking to a dynamic shared library, use the symbolic link instead of a link to a specific version of the library. Library versions may change in future versions of OS X. If your software is linked to a specific version, that version might not always be available on the user’s system.