Friday, July 02, 2010

Using SDK 3.1.3 with iPhone SDK 4

In iPhone SDK 4 Apple has removed all 3.x SDKs. I think that was not a very good idea to say the least. I can understand Apple wants developers to adopt the new features of iOS 4, but breaking zillions of Xcode projects is probably not a good way to win the hearts of those developers. Well, this is probably not Apple's goal anyway.

Sure there is a way to get your projects working again with the iPhone SDK 4, just set the Base SDK of your project to iOS 4:

Base SDK 4

and set the Deployment Target to iOS 3:

Deployment Target 3

This will get your projects compile and run again on both iOS 3 and 4. That's fine. Well, except when you want to make sure your project do not use any new iOS 4 only API.

The problem is, code like this will now compile without any warning or error:

[[NSUserDefaults standardUserDefaults] setURL:defaultURL forKey:@"DefaultURL"];

It's easier than you think to use a shiny new API without even noticing you are using something not available on iOS 3. This setURL:forKey: method is new in iOS 4 so this code will fail with an unrecognized selector exception when run on iOS 3. Unfortunately, the only way to catch this kind of oversight is to run it on an iOS 3 device. Or you can read the documentation of every single method and function you are calling to make sure it was not introduced in iOS 4. But this does not seem very reasonable, does it? The tools should help us detecting these problems at compile time, not runtime!

Here is how to get Xcode 3.2.3 and iPhone SDK 4 working with SDK 3.1.3.

  1. Log in to the iOS Dev Center
  2. Download the iPhone SDK 3.1.3 into ~/Downloads
  3. Run the script
  4. Quit and relaunch Xcode
  5. Duplicate your Debug configuration and rename it to SDK 3.1.3 Check
  6. Set the Base SDK of this new configuration to iPhone Simulator 3.1.3
  7. Add a User-Defined Setting GCC_OBJC_ABI_VERSION and set its value to 1 (one)
  8. Select GCC_OBJC_ABI_VERSION and choose Add Build Setting Condition from the gear pop-up button at the lower left of the window.
  9. Select Any iPhone Simulator and Any Architecture

There you go! By selecting the SDK 3.1.3 Check configuration, you get compile time check for misusing iOS 4 only APIs when targeting iOS 3.

Note that compiling with the iPhone Simulator 3.1.3 SDK and running in Xcode 3.2.3 simulator is not supported. What you get with this hack is just a compile time check of the APIs you are using. So do not expect to run your app on a 3.1.3 simulator.