iOS for C# Developer – part 2: strings

This post is part of the series: iOS for C# Developer. First part can be found here.

String operations in Objective-C are very verbose in comparison to C#.

Let’s assume the following string definition for all below examples:

NSString *str = @"Some string. Another string.";


I think this is the most common operation. In C# it is very simple:

string result += " Appended string.";

* For concatenation in C#, consider using StringBuilder class (if performance matters).

In Objective-C, NSMutableString type has to be used. Thus, if we have NSString created, we have to do the following:

NSMutableString *temp = [[NSMutableString alloc] initWithString:str];
[temp stringByAppendingString:@" Appended string."];
str = temp;

A bit of work, huh?


To get substring from letter 3 to 7 in C#:

string result = str.Substring(3,5);

In Objective-C:

NSString *result = [str substringWithRange:NSMakeRange(3,5)];

Pretty straightforward.


To split sentences in our sample string in C#, we would do:

string[] result = str.Split(". ");

In Objective-C:

NSArray *result = [str componentsSeparatedByString:@". "];

Also, pretty similar.


This operation is much more verbose than its equivalent in C#. To replace spaces with underscores, in C# we do:

string result = str.Replace(" ", "_");

In Objective-C:

NSString *result = [str stringByReplacingOccurrencesOfString:@" " withString:@"_"];

Looks pretty the same, but long, custom names preceding actual parameters make code unnecessary long (IMO).

Real-world example

Usually we need a few string operations working together. Let’s apply above operations together. For example: we want to get only the second sentence from our string with underscores instead of spaces.

In C#:

string result = str.Split(new [] {". "}, StringSplitOptions.RemoveEmptyEntries)[1].Replace(' ','_');

In Objective-C:

NSString *result = [[str componentsSeparatedByString:@". "][1] stringByReplacingOccurrencesOfString:@" " withString:@"_"];


Some of above operations are easier in Swift (e.g., concatenation looks the same like in C#), but some are still very verbose (e.g., substring, replace). However, the syntax is more similar to C#. The message passing syntax is something you need to get use to in Objective-C, not only in case of string operations.