Peter Steinberger

Retrofitting containsString: On iOS 7

Daniel Eggert asked me on Twitter what’s the best way to retrofit the new containsString: method on NSString for iOS 7. Apple quietly added this method to Foundation in iOS 8 - it’s a small but great addition and reduces common code ala [path rangeOfString:@"User"].location != NSNotFound to the more convenient and readable [path containsString:@"User"].

Of course you could always add that via a category, and in this case everything would probably work as expected, but we really want a minimal invasive solution that only patches the runtime on iOS 7 (or below) and doesn’t do anything on iOS 8 or any future version where this is implemented.

This code is designed in a way where it won’t even be compiled if you raise the minimum deployment target to iOS 8. Using __attribute__((constructor)) is generally considered bad, but here it’s a minimal invasive addition for a legacy OS and we also want this to be called very early, so it’s the right choice.